Open By Design

My involvement with the small open online course (SOOC) Observing and Analysing Performance in Sport has encouraged me to think a great deal about facilitating open access and supporting disparate learning expectations.
I saw the SOOC as a modest approach to the educational issues raised by cMOOCs.
There is a growing (daily) discussion of the structure of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Yesterday I linked to posts by Alan Levine and Ryan Stacey. Today I was interested to read Dave Cormier’s post Why I think open courses should be about content creation.
In the post Dave observes:

There are many good reasons for creating content when we are learning. It provides an excellent method of personal curation of ideas, of being able to keep track of your work. It allows for others (beyond an educator) to be able to see and respond to your work. For some it provides encouragement to work a little harder, to polish a little more. It could also provide an excellent opportunity to explore other skills around publishing in numerous formats. These are all quite nice… but not what I’m on about at all.
When all participants create content, you have the potential for multiplicity. You can have a discussion from multiple viewpoints, from different contexts, from different life experiences. When different contextual beliefs are combined with difference in ability, race, gender, culture, race etc… a myriad of possibilities and viewpoints can come to the fore. When the course is opened up to the world, your chance for this increases manyfold.

I think there are language issues in there too.
An alert to Inge Druckrey’s Teaching to See film encouraged me to think about the aesthetic and design possibilities for Dave’s multiplicity (note Dave’s comment on this post about Deleuze and Guattari’s work). I was delighted to learn that Edward Tufte was the Executive Producer of the film.
Once again a combination of disparate elements freely available has taken me off to think about re-presentation. Dave’s conclusion helped me to do this:

We have the capacity to connect with each other, to share experience and perspectives and to learn both from and in spite of each other. I’m certainly not suggesting that we should live in some fantastical utopia where everyone’s opinions should be shared and equally valued. Quite the contrary. One of the most difficult thing about learning with shared content is the vast amount of crap you need to sift through. Just like life.

Photo Credit
Frame grab from Teaching to See (3 minutes 20 seconds)


  1. Multiplicity is a key concept in the work of Deleuze and Guattari (which i should have referenced in that blog post) which underlies the rhizomatic stuff I’m always on about. When i think of networks, for instance, i think less of neat lines all connected to dots, but more of a pile of peas and straws thrown suspended in the air. The tidiness is necessary so we can talk… but I often don’t see it as reflecting my experience of the things we are trying to talk about.

    • Hello, Dave.
      I think of messiness in learning rather like your straws. What I so enjoy about your work is that you share your thinking in such a transparent way. I really enjoyed your post. I hope you liked being linked to Inge.
      I will make a note about multiplicity in my post.
      Best wishes


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