Friday, August 15, 2014

Connected Courses

Here's what they say about themselves:

Connected Courses is a collaborative network of faculty in higher education developing online, open courses that embody the principles of connected learning and the values of the open web.

Our goal is to build an inclusive and expansive network of teachers, students, and educational offerings that makes high quality, meaningful, and socially connected learning available to everyone.

Our Course on Connected Courses

For Fall 2014, our major focus is on running a course for developing and teaching connected courses. The course is designed and taught by faculty from diverse institutions, some of whom are the folks behind successful connected courses such as FemTechNet, ds106, phonar, and the National Writing Project CLMOOC. You can find the syllabus here, and the people involved here.


In 2013, the DML Hub, as part of the MacArthur Foundation supported Digital Media and Learning Initiative, launched Reclaim Open Learning, an effort to explore the intersections between higher education, open learning, and the connected learning model in the midst of MOOC mania. The effort focused on returning to core pedagogical and learning principles, the ethos of the open web, and end-to-end faculty and student innovation when attention was shifting to large institutionalized initiatives and old-school top-down pedagogical and learning models. Activities included a hackathon at the MIT Media Lab, a faculty innovation competition, and event at UC Irvine.

One of the outcomes of this effort was a set of innovation prize winners -phonar, ds106, and FemTechNet- that exemplified core principles and approaches that shared a family resemblance both philosophically and in their implementation. These courses were anchored in a university course that stressed critical thinking in the context of creative production, and which had created infrastructures and modes of participation that lived on the open web. Over time, these projects have built a strong online community and brand that has a life outside of the university course. Together, they provide a set of models and learning that we felt could inform the development of more open courses that are highly participatory and aligned with the principles of connected learning.

In July 2014, we convened a summer camp for these innovators and other leaders from the connected learning community. A plan was hatched to spread these innovations through a connected course itself, owing to the many years of teaching connected courses our faculty have completed. We are an emerging community of practice tied to an open network, and our shared project is our connected course on connected courses. We invite everyone to connect and innovate with us.

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