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Manifesto for Teaching Online

The 2016 manifesto

This page contains the text of the revised (2016) manifesto. To read the 2011 manifesto, visit the 2011 page.


Download the manifesto in PDF format.

The video

(video creator: James Lamb. Read more about his creative process. Direct link to the video.)


The text

Manifesto for teaching online – Digital Education, University of Edinburgh, 2016

Online can be the privileged mode. Distance is a positive principle, not a deficit.

Place is differently, not less, important online.

Text has been troubled: many modes matter in representing academic knowledge.

We should attend to the materialities of digital education. The social isn’t the whole story.

Openness is neither neutral nor natural: it creates and depends on closures.

Can we stop talking about digital natives?

Digital education reshapes its subjects. The possibility of the ‘online version’ is overstated.

There are many ways to get it right online. ‘Best practice’ neglects context.

Distance is temporal, affective, political: not simply spatial.

Aesthetics matter: interface design shapes learning.

Massiveness is more than learning at scale: it also brings complexity and diversity.

Online teaching need not be complicit with the instrumentalisation of education.

A digital assignment can live on. It can be iterative, public, risky, and multi-voiced.

Remixing digital content redefines authorship.

Contact works in multiple ways. Face-time is over-valued.

Online teaching should not be downgraded into ‘facilitation’.

Assessment is an act of interpretation, not just measurement.

Algorithms and analytics re-code education: pay attention!

A routine of plagiarism detection structures-in distrust.

Online courses are prone to cultures of surveillance. Visibility is a pedagogical and ethical issue.

Automation need not impoverish education: we welcome our new robot colleagues.

Don’t succumb to campus envy: we are the campus.

Creative Commons License
manifesto for teaching online by digital education, University of Edinburgh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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    1. Jen Ross

      thanks, Sasha! Not necessarily an infographic, but we will have digital & paper postcards available soon. We encourage and welcome remixes, so if you have infographic skills we’d *love* to see that!!

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