The idea of designing an open section of #msloc430 began with a blog post a few months ago during working-out-loud week.
The official launch of activities began on Sunday, Jan. 25 with the Week 1: Exploring technology, networks and community in the service of learning blog post at the site that serves as the organizing center for the course.
I’ll use this space to share design thinking and reflect on whatever surprises arise as we walk through six weeks of exploring innovations in networked learning and work.
Let me start with the course design.
When I began this idea, my intention was to take “open” as literally as possible. Open means open. Including being open about the course design.
But an open course that runs parallel to, and is integrated with, a “traditional” on-site course creates constraints in design. And I am just beginning to appreciate the nuance of trying to navigate through those constraints.
You can see the design document for the open section – a work that is still in progress. Any participant can see it (which is the point). And I have been fortunate to have a few really smart folks volunteering to lend their design thinking and resources to planning how the six weeks might progress (Maureen Crawford, Ess Garland, Bruno Winck, Helen Blunden and more).
What I am struggling with is: Did I create too much structure, too many constraints in the original design document to make it truly participatory?
In part I can blame this on time. I started this venture too late to really engage collaborators in thinking through some key design choices (for example – which topics might we attempt to cover? what period of time? do we pose a “problem” to be solved?).
I had a class-start deadline to meet so had to get into some detail on how I saw the “open” section working in parallel to my traditional class.
But it is one of the tensions that I find interesting: How do you, as an open course designer, share enough of a structure to invite thoughtful collaboration while at the same time meeting the constraints of whatever institutional role you must play?
I cut a path by defining topics; setting course pacing (“we’ll cover topics in two-week segments”); articulating the big questions (how do we innovate by first understanding models of networked work and learning?); and establishing key points of convergence (a shared Google document template into which learners co-create content that defines key lessons learned). This allowed me to match the pacing and topics of the open section to the pacing and topics of my on-site course.
I think it is a good structure. A design that incorporates a good bit of white space to allow the community to find its own pace and direction.
But I think there could be improvements in how the architecture of the design is first defined. A more participatory process. Much like a charrette in architecture. Or an open design process such as Open IDEO.