Topics and Schedule

The inaugural open section of MSLOC 430 will run Jan. 12, 2015 through March 8, 2015. A second iteration of the open course will run during several weeks in April and May.

Overview of topics

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?

We wrestle with questions like these in MSLOC 430.

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.


Jan 12 – 24: Community gathering and orientation weeks

  • Join the MSLOC 430 Google Community: MSLOC430 Enterprise Social Networking
  • Use Twitter hashtag #msloc430
  • Introduce yourself and let us know: Where do we want to innovate? A open discussion in the about the specific organizational challenges we would like to work on during this open segment of the course.

Jan 25 – Feb 7 (Weeks 1-2): Technology, communities and networks in the service of learning

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

Feb 8 – Feb 22 (Weeks 3-4): Technology, communities and networks in the service of work and work-related innovation

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Open design (i.e. Open IDEO)
  • Idea management
  • Virtual communities of practice
  • Working out loud / narrating your work

Feb 22 – Mar 8 (Weeks 5-6): Innovations Topic: Innovating new approaches to organizational work and learning

During the final two weeks we’ll step back from defining different models — what is it? what does it do? are there any variations? what are the key design elements? — and begin to look at ways in which we can address organizational work and learning opportunities in innovative ways.