The Art & Inquiry MOOC I was taking through Coursera from MoMA wrapped up this week. I’ll receive my grade next week, and wanted to share some of my learning with you here. In addition to the slides included in this post (that will take you through an inquiry lesson plan that uses artwork as a focus for recognizing shapes in a preschool environment), I have these two additional take-aways to share with you:
1. Resist the temptation to skip ahead. I observed the importance of “resisting the temptation to skip ahead” not only in the Art & Inquiry MOOC, but in conversations about a MOOC a few of my classmates participated in as facilitators two semesters ago. I think adult learners who are familiar with a topic have a tendency to want to skip the beginning steps of a lesson or unit plan and get straight to the “good stuff.” When we do that, though, we short circuit our own inquiry process and miss out on the experience of looking at a topic with a fresh perspective. Have faith that your instructors have planned a course that develops ideas and learning as you go. And, seriously–do not attempt to turn in your final project the first week of a course. If you can turn in an awesome project before engaging with 90% of the course material, you should probably find another course to take.
2. Take advantage of the “extras.” There is always material that doesn’t make the cut into a unit of study, whether due to time, work load, or other restrictions. If you are in a MOOC or a traditional course, read (or at least bookmark) those “recommended reading/viewing” links your instructors post. In this course especially, the videos from MoMA Learning really brought the material alive.