Gather your friends. Time to plan the festivities #msloc430 open

We’ve opened a new Google Community – MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking – to start gathering together as we approach the official start on Jan. 25 of our six-week open section of #msloc430. We’ll also be using the #msloc430 hashtag on Twitter.

So join the community or give us a shout out on Twitter. Introduce yourself and tell us what draws you to the topics we’re covering. If you’re interested in helping to plan or run some activities, check out our planning discussion and document in the Google Community.

What’s ahead

The open section is inspired by a few questions we consider as part of a 10-week graduate course in the Master’s Program in Learning and Organizational Change at Northwestern University.

  • How might innovations coming out of open, networked courses – including MOOCs – change the way we think about leadership development in organizations?
  • How might crowdsourcing be used as part of an open course? Or open design processes (think Open IDEO)? Or working-out-loud?
  • What might virtual communities-of-inquiry teach us about approaches to project team collaboration and continuous learning?

When we look for new ideas that leverage enterprise social networking technology to truly transform the way we work and learn, we see two things:

  • Innovations addressing how we work or solve work-related problems coming from business and management practitioners – like working out loud, idea jams, crowdsourcing, and open design.
  • Innovations addressing how we learn coming from education or organizational learning practitioners – like MOOCs, connected courses, virtual communities of practice and communities of inquiry.

Our goal is to think about these two streams of innovations as one. To explore the potential innovation that comes from criss-crossing domain boundaries.

The open section of MSLOC 430 will be used to work toward that goal. During a six-week period we will explore how both work and learning might be changed by understanding innovations in both. Four weeks will be devoted to understanding different innovations. Two weeks will be devoted to exploring how we might combine these different innovations in new ways to address our organizational challenges.

We are most interested in understanding elements of these models that help us as designers of an activity or environment. If we were to use these models to help us do something, what would we need to know? Think about how you might go about learning how to design a bicycle if “bicycle” were a new concept for you. What would you need to know about bicycles to help you get started (besides, of course, the most important thing: Actually riding a bicycle)? What makes a bicycle a bicycle?

  • What is it? A personal mode of transportation, powered by you.
  • What does it do? It gets you from one place to another. But it also provides health benefits and reduces carbon emissions.
  • What variations are there (if any)? Road bike. Mountain bike. Bicycle built for two. Tricycle.
  • What are the 3-5 key design features that make it what it is – and distinctive from similar models? Two same-sized wheels (in most cases). Light frame to connect front and rear wheels and provide seating. Steering by handlebar that moves the front wheel. Pedal and gear mechanism that turns leg motion into rear-wheel drive. No engine.

In our case, this definition process will help us focus first on understanding the basics – what makes a MOOC a MOOC – before we start thinking about combining concepts, applying them to new problems, or borrowing pieces to embed into other concepts.

We will later evaluate where and how these models might be fit for our purposes – what we want to do. Or whether the model raises philosophical or ethical issues that make it unfit for our purposes (i.e., does crowdsourcing move us toward unfair labor/intellectual property practices?). But for this part of our exploration, let’s focus on attributes that make these models work as instruments to get something accomplished.

How might you participate?

You have several ways in which to participate. You might be with us during all six weeks. Or four. Or two. The design goal is to provide an outcome during each segment no matter what sequence or configuration you participate in.

Full six weeks – Solve a problem.

You can choose to track along a path similar to the enrolled students in my MSLOC 430 course.

First, share an organizational work or learning challenge for which you would like to develop an innovative solution, based on leveraging enterprise social networking technology. Explore different models of innovative solutions in work and learning during the first four weeks. Then work with us in weeks 5 and 6 to find new combinations of ideas that might address your challenge.

Two week sampler – Explore a new domain.

Weeks 1-2 will be devoted to innovations in education and learning. Weeks 3-4 will focus on innovations in how we work or solve work-related problems. If you know a lot about one but not the other, explore the domain with which you are least familiar.

Peer review, share-your-expertise sampler.

Know something about any or all of the topics we will cover? Drop in and share your expertise at any point. But be sure to check out the final two weeks when we begin to think about combining ideas in new ways. Expert peer review will help all of us think critically about our ideas – and the discussion may point you to new ideas that you have never before considered.

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9 thoughts on “Gather your friends. Time to plan the festivities #msloc430 open”

  1. Really excited about this Jeff (even though I don’t really have that much time…). Definitely looks like this is worth making time for (or possibly deferring my MA research AGAIN for…!) I have a feeling I will gain insights and learn a lot here that will help me with it. Look forward to another massive learning adventure!

    1. Great questions, Jeff. I just read Tanya’s comments and thought the same thing about finding the time to participate this year. I was not sure if I should join because I may only be able to commit to lurker status, but that is what I thought last time (#xplrpln), and then I created a course artifact that I have used, improved, and then referred to several times in my work this year. I’m really interested to hear what others think about the questions you posted. I’m also interested to hear what I have to think of them when put to the test, so thanks again for inviting us in to explore more on learning and working in networks.

      1. We love lurkers. 🙂 Seriously, I’ve tried to build the structure of this event to be jump-in anytime. The students who are enrolled in my on-site course will be adding to this as well. So somewhere along the way, we’ll all benefit.

  2. Jeff, Other activities are going to prevent me from being an active participant for the entire session, but I hope to jump in when I have the opportunity. Good luck!

    1. Hey no worries! The good news: We’re going to build some things that should be useful even if you cannot participate now. And we’ll run SOMETHING again in the April-May timeframe.

  3. I am really interested in exploring the links and crossover between the business strengths and the focus from the education sector. My choice of term is “sampling” rather than “lurking”. I think it is a really important component part of these types of endeavours. I am looking forward to being involved.
    Tanya, thanks for letting me know about it!

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