In March 2017, Professor Mark Brown gave a brief keynote presentation at the OLC Innovate conference in New Orleans. This is one of the largest conferences of its type in the United States organised by the Online Learning Consortium.
His presentation explored the 7 deadly sins of online learning and was metaphorically anchored in the storyline and lessons from the 1927 film Metropolis. This is a silent German epic directed by Fritz Lang, which is a pioneering work of the Science-fiction genre influencing generations of filmmakers through iconic images of oppression and liberation.
After describing each sin, Mark argues that when it comes to structural innovation we need to break free from the institutional shackles that limit our imagination.
The key point is that online learning should be in the service of big ideas, not as a big idea in itself. He told conference delegates that in many respects we are all sinners as new models of online and blended learning have yet to significantly contribute to the big idea of a safer, more equitable and socially just future for all.
A feature article building on the keynote presentation later appeared in EdSurge with Mark talking about how we can repent from the 7 deadly sins.