This past fall, I taught at class at the Harvard Graduate School of Education called T509- Massive: The Future of Learning at Scale. One of the signature components of the course is that we developed a learning environment that allowed students to contribute to an online community from accounts and sites that they controlled. Rather than forcing everyone into a Learning Management System, we invited everyone to learn together on the open Web. I have an article up in KQED’s MindShift blog this week that describes key parts of the effort. From the article:
In my mind, this is exactly what the future of lifelong learning looks like. We will be learning constantly throughout our careers as workers and citizens, and once young people graduate from formal institutions, much of that learning will be self-directed and unstructured. What I hope that students could take away from my Connected Course were the skill sets to participate in that kind of learning out on the open Web, and the belief that lifelong learning can be most powerful when we intentionally build networks of people to learn with us.
On the first day of my course, I tell students that they have three responsibilities: to advance their own learning, to advance the learning of their classmates and to advance the learning of their wider communities. If they are successful as students, they’ll benefit not only themselves, but their classmates and colleagues beyond.
Nearly everything that I did in my course builds on ideas and work from others, some of whom are mentioned in the article. I’m particularly indebted to Alan Levine, who designed the architecture that we used for our T509massive.org website. Alan generously describes the technological underpinnings of these kinds of sites here. For those interested in these kinds of learning environments, the Connected Courses community is one place to find like minded folks.