Creaking Open the Course

open courseblur course
It has been a while since I gave this presentation — which was creatively named “Overview of Innovations in Online Courses”* — at the Stanford Digital Learning Forum.  In it I put forward some thoughts (not terribly eloquently) about blurring the boundaries we traditionally draw around a “course.” These are certainly not original thoughts (cf. the great cloud of witnesses such as Relcaim Open and associated hackathons 2013/2014, Domain of One’s Ownds106, Thought Vectors, etc), but I am proud that, day by day, my colleagues and I are facilitating activities that operationalize these concepts at our institution.

Someone recently asked me if I was as optimistic and idealistic as when I first started this job almost one year ago. Yes, I think I am.

One key innovation is openness. Opening of the course both literally and figuratively. Opening and broadening our ideas about what a course can be and do. Opening the content and opening the interactions. Opening of what a course means in a learner’s life. Opening what this can mean in a faculty’s career development. Opening what is possible in our research communities.

Our broad innovations around openness in online course are making courses and learning experiences more vibrant, authentic, and useful for one’s career and life. It’s doing things that we couldn’t possibly do before by enhancing and augmenting the interactions we already know are key to learning. It’s extending learning beyond the four walls of the classroom and sometimes beyond the software walls of our online platforms and learning management systems.

*Apologies for the use of “innovation” and to those who have been doing amazing things in online learning for a couple decades.

 


 

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