Tuesday, May 19, 2015

So now I'm really starting to put this connected learning course together and...

I'm Starting Today!

I am calling today the official "start day" for stitching together the open course that Stacy Zemke and I are co-facilitating this summer. Of course, Stacy is a pro and I'm just a guy with all these abstract ideas that we're not sure how to work into meaningful activities. She gets things done and I keep thinking up new ideas to go on top of the other things I haven't done yet.

But today is the day I get serious about this.

I mean it.

Look here, I even have a course overview (yes, it is extremely abstract and could turn out to be anything but I think I should get some points for at least getting this far). In all honesty, Stacy helped with this too, although she should receive no blame for any inadequacies it reflects.

The Power of Connections


The Power of Connections is an, open, online course focused on the theme of learner engagement and collaboration. The course is created within a Connected Learning framework. As such, it prioritizes the following core philosophies and pedagogical commitments:
  • The learner is the center of her/his personal learning network. The course provides an opportunity for the learner to extend or strengthen that network.

  •  The learner’s network grows through connections (interaction) with people and information (nodes in the network). As such, community – structured and unstructured is a key component of the course.

  • The greater a learner’s engagement with his/her network, the greater the potential for learning. Consequently, as its primary pedagogical focus, the course will focus on modeling and facilitating the learner engagement.

  • Effective learning experiences allow and promote “centrifugal” expansion, an outward focus that encourages learners to make new, natural connections.  This focus necessitates the prioritization of openness – open pedagogy, open communities, and open content. Through course design, support for open forms of content, and use of multiple networks and communities, the course will embrace open and centrifugal learning.

  • Network feedback loops help learners understand the potential of their learning networks and facilitate their expansion. The course will provide multiple form of feedback to individual learners, as well as the learning community, to facilitate network expansion and acceleration.


The course is divided into 4 modules, each covering approximately 1 week in time. The four modules and their themes are:
  • The Power of Connections – Connected Learning, networked learning, collaboration, and learning engagement

  • The Power of Openness – Open pedagogy, centrifugal learning design, connected communities, open content

  • The Power of Creation – Learner agency, knowledge construction, network analytics and feedback loops

  • The Power of Imagination – Education redesign, assessing engagement, program design and certification, lifelong learning

Okay, So What Are You Really Doing?

Wordy and really abstract, right? Okay, so here's the real plan. Stacy and I want to offer up a series of collaborations (structured and unstructured), that are designed to help us deliver a connected-learning and/or connectivist learning experience. We want to leverage our personal networks, as well as others in our community, to crowdsource solutions and examples for engagement in online and hybrid learning environments.

What kind of solutions? Good question. That's still a bit of a work in progress, but our idea is to move through each module using a series of improvisations, dialogues, and artifact activities that, essentially, get su to collectively construct a catalog of great engagement solutions, activities, and examples.

What's Next?

You mean there's more to creating an online course than just coming up with a description? Really? Stacy never said anything about that, daggone it!

I suppose the next step, if there must be one, is to begin designing/sharing/throwing out there some ideas for our improvisations.

That will have to start tomorrow. I'm already worn out today.

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