OK, I’m on board. Alan Levine, Jim Groom, and Howard Rheingold have organized a seven-session (run over four months), distributed course to serve up a curriculum on how to create an open, online, connected courses. It’s called ConnectedCourses. A learn by doing experience, go-at-your-own pace, facilitated by some of the best thinkers and doers in higher ed tech, for free. Sounds pretty sweet…so why did I hesitate? First off, I am wary of the time commitment. While these courses are open, free (incredibly generous of them to give so freely of their time), and not asking for a particular commitment, we all know that you will only get in proportion to the investment you’re able to make. I’ve now taken enough open, online courses to know that it works best if I can do the time – participate in the live sessions, read the participants’ blogs, ruminate and blog about it. Could I carve out the time? And was a deep dive into the architecture of an open, networked course something that I needed? That was my main hesitation, but there’s something else. I have to admit, I do get a little tired of the boys’ club feeling to these kind of events. There is a male-ness to the thought leadership and culture in this community that tires me out.
I went to the ConnectedCourses site to find out more and listened to the pre-course warm-up video – a capture of a September 2 Hangout, orchestrated by the three course leaders (Alan, Jim, and Howard) who are referring to themselves as Click, Link and Embed, in honor of that other infamous boys club – the Car Guys.
But through the mists, I could hear some really good stuff coming through. The course is for faculty, each week will feature an idea key to the success of open, online learning, facilitated by some excellent folks. In addition to our three fearless leaders, we’ll hear from Michael Wesch, Cathy Davidson, Mimi Ito, Gardner Campbell, Helen Keegan, Randy Bass… well, ok then! The line up sounds terrific.
In addition to that, Howard Rheingold’s words resonated with me (as they always do) – the language of the web is the lingua franca of the way we interact and communicate from now on. We have a responsibility to understand how this works in education (and in life!). We have a responsibility to learn it and pass it on. It’s the right time to take control of these tools, where you content goes, who owns it, and how it works.
Howard also talked about the importance of tinkering…that there are no solid answers out there, new services are cropping up all the time, figuring out as we go is the way this works. It reminds me of that wonderful John Seely Brown video (from 2008!!!), Tinkering as Mode of Knowledge Production:
So, I’m on board. I’ve made my first blog post for the course and I’m grateful for the help/support/guidance that this community will provide as I grapple with this body of knowledge. I’m looking forward to the conversations in the community, making sense of this topic together. Let the tinkering begin!