A detour to consider pacing: Opening up my course #MSLOC430 #WOLweek

Update on day 2 of #WOLweek.

My plans today were to make some headway in identifying new readings for my course, and I had a wee bit of success. More organizing and reacquainting myself with a few of articles that I had saved as potential readings. See my updates to the Google doc syllabus that captures my work-in-progress.

My day included finishing up a proposal to present at a conference next April; working on an evaluation framework for upcoming student proposals for a project-based course; re-connecting with someone who is a candidate for our adjunct faculty team; and reviewing plans to complete a research project that will be the basis of another conference presentation.

But I did have some thinking time to noodle one of the two questions I am working on as I retool my syllabus:

  • What is a good design for the “open” part of my course (in which the goal is to integrate other enterprise social networking enthusiasts with students enrolled in my face-to-face class)?

Paul Signorelli hit on it in his comment on an earlier post – there is something critical about pacing when you design an open course. So while on the one hand finding open content is an important exercise that should require, well, less exercise – pacing sets the stage for engagement.

Paul notes that Connect Courses is working on a pace of one topic every two weeks, and it seems to be working well. We ran Exploring Personal Learning Networks on a pace of one topic every week, and part of what we experienced was learner lag. Many learners were engaged but the pace of activities led them to lagging behind at times.

So a key decision for me is to declare a pace for the open segment of my course: One topic per week, or every two weeks? I am leaning toward one topic every two weeks, with structured activities (e.g., Tweet chats, Google Community, possibly webcasts). Which means I have time to do two or possible three topics within the context of my 10-week course if I work off of a model where the open segment occurs in the latter half of the course.

Interested in drafting a structure based on that model. Let’s say it’s three topics: So – what are those topics, and the questions that make them come alive?