Author Archives: Gardner Campbell

Rounding the turn: a video report with Tom Sanchez

A few days ago I sat down with Tom to ask how things were going for him at midterm. We often give students a midterm report or ask them for a midterm evaluation. Given the distributed and potentially de-centered experience of a MOOC, it seems only fair to ask one of the teachers to give his own midterm evaluation–not only of the students’ performance, but of what he has learned so far.

Throughout the Technicity story, I’ve tried to get at this elusive but vital factor in education: what the teacher learns. We focus a great deal on student learning, as well we should. Our students are the ones paying the tuition and supporting our scaled-up institutions. They’re the ones who most obviously hold the future in their hands. But they’re also the ones who see the future and its possibilities through the eyes we help to focus and attend on what we believe to be important, salient, essential. Here’s the strange loop, the level-crossing loop. Any good teacher must also be a learner. And in addition to one’s own life-long learning within, around, or through a field of study, we who teach must also, and always, be prepared to learn from our students. They too will help us see. And when they see that we learn from them, and that we are bold enough to jump into new learning experiences using our wits and our expertise to push ourselves far beyond our comfort zones, we model in our own lives what we seek to encourage in theirs.

With those thoughts, then, here’s Tom Sanchez and Technicity at midterm. The interview was recorded on an iPhone, so the image is shaky and the audio levels are uneven. I hope the message comes through loud and clear, in any event. My thanks to Tom for sitting down with me once again to talk about his experience. The interview was recorded on Friday, May 17, so “starting the third week tomorrow” means “starting the third week on Saturday, May 18.” 🙂


Velocity, Scholarship, and Learning

Pundits, journalists, and critics are mapping the myriad factors influencing the rise of MOOCs. No matter where one comes down on the motives behind the current crop, it’s undeniable that frustration with the slow (some would say geologic) pace of change within higher education has fueled much of their development. In this segment of our conversation with Tom Sanchez, Tom reflects on the speed with which the “Technicity” MOOC went from conception to reality, and how that speed both affirms core scholarly values and creates new opportunities for deep learning in a digital age.

The Technicity Story, Part 2

In Part 2 of “The Technicity Story,” Dr. Tom Sanchez speaks with Dr. Gardner Campbell, director of Virginia Tech’s Center for Innovation in Learning, about how he became involved with “Technicity,” the Coursera MOOC he co-teaches with Dr. Jennifer Evans-Cowley of the Ohio State University.

As of this writing, nearly 16,000 students have enrolled in this course. Tom’s estimate in January (when this interview was conducted) was just a little too modest.

The Technicity Story, Part 1

In this video, Dr. Sanchez reflects on the basic philosophy of MOOCs (“Massive Open Online Courses”) and his ambitions for the Coursera course he’ll team-teach this May with Dr. Jennifer Evans-Cowley of the Ohio State University. The seminar Dr. Sanchez refers to is the New Media Faculty-Staff Development Seminar led by Dr. Gardner Campbell, Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech and Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Innovation in Learning. You can read Dr. Sanchez’s blog from that seminar, “Invisibilis Scientia,” at

The interviewer for this series is Dr. Gardner Campbell.