#msloc430 class bloggers: Exploring networks, communities and knowledge

Coffee pie HiveThis is Blog Post Zero of what I hope will become at least a 6-month, interconnected digital conversation. You can help by contributing to exploration of the questions at the end of this post.

#msloc430 Class and Community

Between January and June of each year I teach MSLOC 430 – Creating and Sharing Knowledge, a course in which we explore technology and people and knowledge. The course is actually taught twice during that time period – we are on 10-week quarters – but every year I attempt to find ways in which the two class sessions can learn from each other, and from a growing network of alumni and practitioners who know us and this course.

This year I redesigned a blogging assignment. Students work with each other and with me to define a question (or two) on a topic of professional or academic interest. Something that taps into the reason they came to get their master’s degree in learning and organizational change in the first place. The fine-tuning of the questions is to ensure that the topics can draw, in part, from content or concepts we cover in MSLOC 430.

Two class bloggers who are using public blogs for this assignment are Stanley Fong and Andee Weinfurter. Stanley has professional background in not-for-profits and NGOs and is using his blog to translate selected course topics for readers who work in that space. Andee used her questions to start an exploration on understanding the deeper, human-side of collaboration, trust and connections in online environments. Update Jan. 27: Diane Knoepke has joined Stanley and Andee, with her first post exploring the problems new group members, and the incumbent members of the groups they join, face because of the newb’s lack of access to the collective tacit knowledge produced before they joined the group.

Others may join the public space soon. Most of the 13 students in this quarter’s class have opted to use their personal blogs within our program’s (private) online learning community. We use a cloud version of Jive Software as the platform for all of our courses and graduate community collaboration. The setup allows students (and faculty) to blog “openly” to the entire community – that is, outside of a restricted class space. So while these blogs are not visible to the web world, there is still opportunity for commenting and feedback from a community outside of our class.

We will also be using the #msloc430 hashtag on Twitter to open up our exploration of student questions.

Questions we’re asking

Here is a sampling of the topics class bloggers are exploring. Join us by using #msloc430 on Twitter, commenting on student blogs (I’ll post more links here, as comments). We also sponsor an open Google Plus community – Learning and Change – where you can find me and many other members of the MSLOC extended community.

  • What is the tipping point that drives not just participation but also ongoing collaboration?
  • Does an individual’s perception or desire for legacy influence their willingness to share knowledge?
  • How does organizational culture impact knowledge sharing and conversely, how does knowledge sharing impact organizational culture?  Particularly interested in the roles that politics and trust play in this.
  • Is there something fundamental about an organization’s culture or their level of employee engagement that contributes positively to knowledge sharing/collaboration?
  • How can new team members (whether new to a team and/or to an organization) better access the collective tacit knowledge created by the team before the new member got there? Related: How can we use technology to capture knowledge of the type that isn’t typically or easily captured? Complex, idiosyncratic, emotional knowledge that forms the basis for so many decisions teams make? How can we create digital artifacts where there would otherwise be none?
  • Is there a relationship between employee engagement and knowledge sharing?

[Photo by me. At Hoosier Mama Pie Co. & Dollop Coffee in Evanston. Fuel for blogging.]

6 thoughts on “#msloc430 class bloggers: Exploring networks, communities and knowledge

  1. Kristen Corpolongo (@KristenCorpo) says:

    Hoosier Mama Pie Co.! Well done, Jeff. Something I have been exploring as of late is re-imagining the enterprise and her engagement with people and technology as a human experience instead of a user experience. How can we apply design thinking to organizations and cultures in our quest for collaborative, transparent, and engaged communities?

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    1. Jeff Merrell says:

      Awesome. Want to join in the blogging/sharing fun? I love the idea of resetting “user experience” as “human experience.” And you know that we are all about design thinking here…

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  2. tanyalau says:

    Wow. SUCH interesting questions!! I’ve been particularly interested in the first two since being involved in xplrpln and other open online experiences (e.g. tweet chats), as well as through my review of networked learning and PLN research as part of my Masters.
    Will be following the #msloc430 hashtag and posts in Learning & change (and jumping in when I can….). Thanks for sharing Jeff!

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    1. Jeff Merrell says:

      Thanks Tanya. FWIW, there seems to be a lot of synergy between the work you are doing in your Masters program and what we are doing here. Consider yourself an official member of the MSLOC community – I am sure you will discover more connections with our program’s students and faculty.

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