Week 2: Exploring technology, networks and communities in the service of learning

In the video

Time: 6:30 mins.
A few thoughts as we head into week 2 of the 6-week open section of #msloc430 (video recorded Feb. 1, 2015).

  • Where we are on the #msloc430 roadmap
  • A suggestion: Continue exploring – but let’s add a wee-bit of convergence.
  • An example: What are the unique features of Community of Inquiry? What makes it distinct from a cMOOC?
  • How we might approach building out the shared Google document for weeks 1 – 2.

(And for those of you not familiar with Chicago winter weather – yes, that was a joke about today’s blizzard being a “surprise.”)

Twitter Chat Feb. 5

A reminder that we’ll have our first Twitter chat (hashtag #msloc430) from 8:00 PM Central Time U.S. until 9:00 PM Central Time.

Graduate students in the Master’s Program in Learning & Organizational Change class (MSLOC 430) will join in and help facilitate the discussion. New to Twitter chats? So are many of us. You’ll be in good company. An expert? Join in and help everyone find a little gem of an idea or new resource.

Highlights from Week 1

We introduced ourselves. (Who wouldn’t want to hang out with this community? Really.)

We have a Tagboard as well as a Storify that captures much of the discussion of week 1 (thanks to my colleague and constant source of inspiration, Keeley Sorokti).

Nona Gormley created a shared Google document table to help define distinctions among concepts we’re covering. Maureen Crawford dissected the term “MOOC;” Mitra Emad debunked the MOOC monster under the bed; Sahana Chattopadhyay made an argument for “cognitive diversity” in our personal learning networks; and Jennifer Rainey contributed to the diverse-voices theme by sharing Ethan Zuckerman’s Ted Talk “Listening to Global Voices.”

And criss-crossing all this were many threads and bread crumbs (as Tanya Lau might say) laid down across blogs and discussion threads. You all know who you are. Thank you for providing the sparks that light the community.

Week 2: One path to follow

A suggestion on how we might move toward a wee bit of convergence as we close out our 2-week exploration of technology, networks and communities in the service of learning:

Perhaps 2 or 3 or 4 of you might want to co-write one small section of the shared Google document that is designed to capture definitions of the concepts we’re exploring as well as additional resources and readings. We’ll set up a discussion thread in MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking so you can find out who might be interested in collaborating on particular topics.

Let’s say we’d like to get a first version of the document completed by sometime on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The document can serve as a footprint in the sand (or snow, if you live in Chicago). It’ll show where we’ve been, at least up to this point.

Week 2: Lurking and following your own path

It’s still ok to just lurk. And explore. And don’t feel bad if you feel “behind.” There is no “behind.” There are just footprints and paths.


Week 1: Exploring technology, networks and communities in the service of learning

Time to start. This is the opening post for the full open section of #msloc430 as well as for the two-week exploration of networked learning innovations. Let’s cover a few things:

  • How we’ll organize throughout the six weeks
  • Some tips for success
  • An introduction to Weeks 1-2
  • Readings and resources for Weeks 1-2

These same items (except readings and resources) are addressed in the video in a bit more detail.

How we’ll organize during #msloc430

How to Participate and Topics and Schedule offer an overview. But keep in mind that we are generally organizing around a few tools and spaces – both for course updates and to help guide our learning.

Updates and general organizing

We’ll use this blog, the MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking Google+ Community and Twitter for course logistics, updates, suggesting recommended readings and topics for discussion.

On Monday (U.S.) at the start of each week we’ll post an update on this blog with guidance, suggested activities, updated schedules and references. The blog post will be cross-posted to MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking and shared on Twitter using the #msloc40 hashtag.

During the week we’ll use both Twitter and MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking to share resources and discussions.

The basic tools for participating

We’re starting out by focusing on four tools: Your own blog, MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking, a shared, open Google document and Twitter.

Use your own blog (assuming you have one) to explore the topics of #msloc430. We’ll post questions at the start of each week to help prompt some writing ideas.

Please also share your blog posts in MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking (simply sharing a link to your post is fine) and/or by sharing a link on Twitter (use #msloc430 hashtag).

If you do not have a blog you may wish to contribute to discussions via MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking.

We’re also asking participants to collaborate to create two shared Google documents – one summarizing what we’ll learn after weeks 1-2 and one summarizing weeks 2-4. Anyone may contribute to the document.

Twitter will be used throughout the week for on-going conversation and sharing. We currently have two planned Twitter chats. The first is on Thursday, Feb. 5. (8-9 pm Central Time). More chat dates and times may be added.

Tips for success

These tips apply for the entire six weeks.

Find your own path through the six weeks. And be comfortable with it. It’s ok to jump in and jump out. Or lurk for awhile. Come to the whole event with a key question or two in mind and let those questions guide you to a path.

Make one commitment: Comment on someone’s blog or discussion post. And make that someone a someone you do not currently know. This is one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned in doing events like this. It all starts by igniting new conversations and relationships.

Try something new. Even a small something.

Introduction to Weeks 1-2

In the first two weeks, we’ll explore different models of learning in networked environments. By “models” we mean something that has a clear enough definition to provide us with an example that we might replicate or follow.

Our starting point is by no means comprehensive. We’ve chosen a few models that will help us compare and contrast defining features and thereby understand each model more clearly. The models include:

  • Networked learning
  • Personal learning networks
  • MOOCs
  • Communities of inquiry

By the end of this two-week segment – Feb. 7 – our goal is to have created our first collaborative Google document. The document will include a brief description of each model and its key defining features as well as a list of references and resources to help all of us dive deeper into each model.

Where to begin

Begin by scanning the topics and our starter kit of readings and resources (listed below) to see what might be new territory for you and what might be more familiar territory. Note: You do not need to read all of the recommendations. None are compulsory. These are recommendations to help you get started along one of two options for blogging and discussion.

Option 1: Explore a model that is new to you. Write a post or start a discussion about what you see as the defining features of that model. For example: What makes a MOOC a MOOC? A personal learning network a personal learning network?

Option 2: This is for participants who have experience with one or more of these models. Based on your experience, what are the subtleties that novices overlook or under appreciate about any one (or more) of these models? For example: What is the magic behind a great cMOOC? Or – where are there blindspots in cMOOCs? The subtleties might deal with either positive or negative aspects of the model.

Post your thoughts on either option during the next 7-10 days on your blog and/or MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking and/or via Twitter.

Contribute to the shared Google Document

You may contribute to creating the shared document at any time. Starting Feb. 5, we’ll start to put more energy into completing a good first version by Feb. 10.

Join the Twitter chat

Thursday, 8-9 pm Central Time (U.S.) at hashtag #msloc430

Schedule Summary

For weeks 1-2:

  • Jan. 25 – Feb. 5 – Blogging and discussion to explore models of learning in networked environments. What are the defining features of each? What subtleties might novices miss?
  • Feb. 2 – Next weekly update (via this blog)
  • Feb 5 – Twitter chat 8-9 pm Central Time (U.S.) Hashtag #msloc430
  • Feb. 5 – Feb. 10 – Final effort to complete the shared document.

References and resources

The references and resources listed here are not compulsory readings. They are a starter kit. Browse through and find something that helps you get started on your own preferred path. Let it lead you someplace.

You may know of other great references or resources. Add them to the shared document covering the topics for weeks 1-2. We sincerely hope to build out an open list of resources that have helped all of us wrap our minds around these topics.

(Many thanks to Ess Garland and Maureen Crawford for their significant contributions to this list)

Networked learning

Downes, S. (2014, Sept 5. The Challenges and Future of Networked Learning (Slideshare). Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/Downes/2014-09-05-the-challenges-and-future-of-networked
Synopsis: Useful overview of meaning and how Networked Learning works with further references (a few don’t link) as well as challenges ahead and useful questions for reflection at the end.

Gorbis, M. (2013, March). The future of education eliminates the classroom, because the world is your class.

Connected learning: Reimagining the experience of education in the information age. http://connectedlearning.tv/connected-learning-principles

International Conference on Networked Learning – Conference Proceedings 2014 http://www.networkedlearningconference.org.uk/info/confpapers.htm
Synopsis: The International Conference on Networked Learning is a gathering of academic researchers that began in 1998. The link is to the latest conference proceedings. The site also includes past proceedings. This is shared more as a general resource than as a specific “reading” for #msloc430.

Personal learning networks

Howard Rheingold interview with Shelly Terrell re: PLNs: http://dmlcentral.net/blog/howard-rheingold/shelly-terrell-global-netweaver-curator-pln-builder
LaLonde, C. (2009, October).
Synopsis: Both of these articles provide history of usage of the term, basic definitions, and examples.

Couros, A. (2010). Developing personal learning networks for open and social learning. Emerging Technologies in Distance Education. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120177/ebook/06_Veletsianos_2010-Emerging_Technologies_in_Distance_Education.pdf
Synopsis: Illustration from the author’s experience of a PLN in a learning environment, definitions and history of PLN’s from a theoretical perspective and practical pointers to establishing your own.

Rajagopal, K., Brinke, D. J., Bruggen, J. V., & Sloep, P. B. (2011). Understanding personal learning networks: Their structure, content and the networking skills needed to optimally use them. First Monday, 17(1). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3559/3131
Synopsis: Provides an overview of research into PLNs and proposes a model to define personal learning networks.

Seaman, A. (2013). Knowledge sharing as a democracy. Hybrid Pedagogy. (Blog). Retrieved from http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/journal/personal-learning-networks-knowledge-sharing-democracy/
Synopsis: Makes a case for PLN’s, defines them with a brief history and describes them ending with a useful way to start to build one.


Bates, T. (2014, October 12). What is a MOOC? http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/10/12/what-is-a-mooc/
Bates, T. (2014, October 12). Comparing xMOOCs and cMOOCs: Philosophy and Practice. http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/10/13/comparing-xmoocs-and-cmoocs-philosophy-and-practice/
Bates, T. (2014, November 21). A ‘starter’ bibliography on MOOC’s. Retrieved from http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/11/21/a-starter-bibliography-on-moocs/
Synopsis: Each of these blog posts is a chapter-in-progress for Bates’ open book “Teaching in a Digital Age” http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Cormier (2010) Success in a MOOC video. http://youtu.be/r8avYQ5ZqM0
Synopsis: Short video outlining how to participate in a MOOC by one of the originators of the model.

Jacoby, J. (2014). The disruptive potential of Massive Open Online Courses: A literature review. Retrieved from http://journals.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/index.php/JOFDL/article/viewFile/214/168
Synopsis: Interesting from a higher education perspective. Particularly helpful from “Key Issues” in identifying further emergent classifications of MOOCs and history.

Seimens, G. (2012, June 3). What is the theory that underpins our MOOCs. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2012/06/03/what-is-the-theory-that-underpins-our-moocs/
Synopsis: Developer of first MOOCs discusses differences between Connectivist MOOCs and MOOC’s promoted by learning platforms such as Coursera. Outlines theory underpinning Connectivist MOOC’s,.

Vetting Wolf, T. (2014, April). The growing potential of MOOCs. http://traceevettingwolf.weebly.com/blog/the-growing-potential-of-moocs
Synopsis: Some thoughts on the design of a cMOOC.

Community of Inquiry

Anderson, A. , Butler, R., Kyle, N., & Wess, Y. (2014). Community of Inquiry (Video file). Retreived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7MHPxIU27E
Synopsis: Simple presentation based upon referenced research outlines Community of Inquiry model and how it works in a learning environment. (Cartoon in the middle was bit jumpy for me?)

Community of Inquiry: https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/
Synopsis: Website providing a reference point for description and research on the model.

Swan, K., Garrison, D & Richardson J. (2009). A constructivist approach to online learning: The community of inquiry framework. In Payne, C. (Ed.) Information Technology and Constructivism in Higher Education: Progressive Learning Frameworks. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/398997/A_Constructivist_Approach_to_Online_Learning_The_Community_of_Inquiry_Framework
Synopsis: Downloadable chapter presents the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework of online learning as the interaction between and amongst three presences: social, cognitive and teaching.

The community is gathering. We start exploring innovations in networked work and learning Jan. 25

Exploring Innovations in Networked Work and Learning is an open learning event designed to bridge two communities of practitioners: People in the learning professions and people who are enterprise social network champions.


When we look for new ideas that leverage enterprise social networking technology to truly transform the way we work and learn we see two separate streams of thinking:

  • 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  as one. To explore the potential innovation that comes from criss-crossing domain boundaries.

So join us to fill what gaps you may have in understanding innovations emerging from the learning professions or from champions of enterprise social networking.

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.

The community is already gathering.

We’re a few days away from the office start of activities and some 50 participants have joined the Google+ Community – a place for participants to introduce themselves, share interests and goals.

Helen Blunden and Maureen Crawford also kicked kicked things off by writing blog posts reflecting on their experiences in Exploring Personal Learning Networks – on open learning event we facilitated in 2013 – and their thoughts on where we may be going in the next few weeks. “More mental taffy pulling,” as Maureen calls it. Indeed.

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.

Coming in January 2015: The Open Section of #msloc430

Yes, we’re back.

We’ve been re-arranging this site a bit to get ready for a new open, online learning venture. See some of our work-in-progress thinking. More updates to come, here, in the next couple of weeks.

The new activities will begin with informal gathering and orientation starting Jan. 12. We’ll start diving into content on Jan. 29 and go for six weeks (March 8). We’ll not be officially “registering” anyone for this venture. You can join us simply by joining a Google+ Community (we’ll set that up in the near future), following this blog, or following the course hashtag of #msloc430.

Note that all the content from Exploring Personal Learning Networks (our previous venture) has been moved under the Archives menu.