A flash of inspiration….


The more I contemplate it, I think that the suggestion to turn our current course into our own homegrown mini-MOOC (…thanks Andre) is a stroke of genius.

If you are wondering what a MOOC is, the acronym stands for “Massive Open Online Course”.  It is a course that is free, offered online, and it is open to the public.  Although there might be a start and an end date, participants can come and go, taking in what they please.  (i.e.  -low commitment barriers, but great potential to grow your professional learning network).  A MOOC is an event that invites people to connect and learn together.  Here is a short video that explains what is a MOOC is:

In short, a MOOC is a free open online invitation to join a community for a networked learning experience.  In a way, we have already laid the groundwork for this context by opening up our class website to a network by going “public” on twitter with our course hashtag #WritingRace.   But we have yet to actively invite others to join in on our ongoing conversation.

Here is an idea:

What if we conceived of your “presentations” as “units” in a mini-course offering that we made available to anyone who might be interested in joining us in a conversation about why race matters.  Earlier in the semester, we all imagined that you would proceed through these presentations in class and then you would drop that content down into a final “digital omnibus” – a kind of repository for your completed group work.  The problem with that concept is that it has less potential for impact and interactivity.  Although the content would be meaningful, it would be dead in the water.  This is why I have been prompting you all to think about how we might make our work matter more in the world beyond our classroom.   So…..

What if we flipped that paradigm?  What if we dropped the presentation content down into a special “course website” first?  The digital site would then be designed for the purpose of our own mini-MOOC offering on “Why Race Matters” (or whatever title you guys want).  Then your presentations would roll out in class, and we would use this material as an anchor for further explorations together.  All of you would serve as the facilitators of this open mini course.  We could advertise the course on twitter and send invitations to key folks (i.e. that class in VT that was mentioned, any other classes or groups we might want to connect with, Kean University colleagues, colleagues in the broader field that we admire, professional contacts, friends, etc.).  Anyone would be welcome to share in our content (your presentations) that make up our discussion, and we could include a few “live” events so people could connect with us  (i.e. -twitter chats, -google hangouts, etc.).

I know this might seem daunting, but if we front load the digital website first (as a mini-course) and then we rolled out the presentations in class a few weeks afterward, we could really engender more connected conversation I think.  I have some notion of how we could achieve this, and perhaps I will start by sharing some of that in more detail with you when we meet for class next Tuesday.  Here is a link to a MOOC I facilitated in the Fall.  Admittedly, this course was indeed a massive and global enterprise with some high profile people involved.  But it can serve as a design reference for our own project.  In a way, the task we identified has not changed (i.e. your group work).  The only difference would be the delivery of that work and a slight tweak to our proposed course schedule.

Blog #5:  Please ruminate on this proposal, and by all means respond with ideas/concerns/questions via your blog post for the week if you feel the calling.  Otherwise, blog an update on the details of your individual contribution to your group project.

I look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday evening,

Dr. Zamora




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