A Course, A Community?

Shortly after the #ucsaffire Festival earlier this week, I wrote a post about small open online communities.
In the post, I noted:

I had a brief conversation with Danny Munnerley about the capital C in SOOC. Danny made the excellent point that C stands for Community rather than Course. I am going to act on this excellent suggestion and think about longer-term aspects of open online opportunities.

Stephen Downes picked up on the post and observed in OLDaily:

courses have start and end dates, and communities don’t. So if your thing has a start and end date, it’s a course. It may foster and support community, but it’s something different. (Stephen’s emphasis)

I agree entirely and do need to make a clarification.
The cSOOCs with which I have been involved are available after the chronological end date of the course. In sport coaching we discuss concentration and dispersal. I am thinking this is what happens in cSOOCs too. We come together for focussed discussions and then go off about our daily business.
Danny’s proposal resonated with me in so far as the resources created for the cSOOCs are available to foster and support community development.
I have been thinking about edgeless learning and lifelong learning that may or may not involve credentialism. In my earlier post, I mentioned Susan Blum‘s Huffington Post article in which she argued:

If our ultimate goal is to educate human beings, then we must focus not only on knowledge and information, discipline and surveillance as measured by tests, but also on non-academic pleasures, motivations, skills, and the full array of human engagement that sustains attention and meaning.

Thanks to Stephen’s clarification, I do think this blending of courses and communities is part of the transformation Terry Heick discussed recently and is part of the reflection Debbie Morrison discussed in regard to MOOCs.
My realisation … when I discuss cSOOCs, I should specify that these are available after the ‘end’ of moments of concentration of collaborative or cooperative activity. They remain as resources in the dispersed communities they were designed to foster and support.
I am thinking that is the potency of the lower case c in cSOOC.

Photo Credit

Rainbow Over Innovation Park, Yorkali Walters CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


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