December 1, 2014

24 | 0

Just the Beginning


Thanksgiving is my favorite US holiday - food, friends, family and appreciation. This year, I happily added Connected Courses community to my roster of what I am profoundly grateful for.

Connected Courses was launched with the energy and goodwill of a handful of facilitators who shared the values of connected learning, equity, and the open web. I could never have imagined how connections and networks could have blossomed and fanned out from these beginnings. Reviewing the analytics from Jamieson of @dmlhub, I see a picture of conversations and connections bubbling merrily across the open web, through twitter, G+, Facebook, Diigo, disqus forum, and hundreds of blogs. What is a nightmare from a data analytics point of view is an ideal outcome for those of us seeking to build open networked learning communities. It’s about seeding the beginnings of relationships, ideas, projects, and courses that will take root and blossom in a widely distributed set of contexts, communities, and institutions. The official course site and offerings are clearly just some among many passage points in growing and nurturing this process.

And this is just the beginning. I’m in it for the long haul, and have been heartened to hear that others are as well. I hear @cogdog is keeping the blogtalk garage open, @dogtrax is spinning daily connects back up, @laura_ritchie reminds us that things are just beginning, and @googleguacamole is just starting to dig into her research with other ccourse colleagues.

I am working with my team at the DML Hub to kick off a connected course in the spring, that will center on topics in digital media and learning for graduate students, postdocs, and emerging scholars in the field. I’m supporting Kylie Peppler and our network of DML scholars to get this off the ground. Our plan is to start with topics around professional pathways for interdisciplinary work and moving next to a focus on approaches in design research. We will definitely be visiting the blogtalk garage for tips and support.

What would you want to see in the continuing community space?
What connected courses are you planning?
How will you be continuing with connected courses beyond this week?

Please comment here, on the forum, twitter #ccourses #notover, or on G+. An email from DML Hub will be going out shortly too!

Image credit: Dandelion Rain by ®DS

Posted by Mizuko Ito at December 1, 2014 2:40 PM


hi Mimi.

I'd like to try to get a connected task-force together to connect up courses in formal institutions for all ages. An ongoing multi-cultural trouble-shooting, research and development flashmobbing educational team.

I'd like to be able to have off-the peg wordpress or other templates which can be plugged in and to work together on make banks.

I'd like to start with looking at CLAVIER development :-)

I LOVE this idea of a connected task force Simon

3- Howard Rheingold

I'm in, Simon and Mimi. The connected task-force! Also, the off-the-peg wordpress templates are an admirable idea. Lower and remove barriers on the technical and support levels and go directly to pedagogy.

for sure

As someone who builds wordpress sites, I might need some more concrete details of what an "off-the-peg" template means or looks like.

There are plenty of plugins you can use to build out a wordpress site as a shell, and make a clonable copy; I am about to use this one for within multisites

Here's my worry. I wish people could develop a better conceptual understanding of the way Wordpress manages information- e.g. difference between tags and categories, between posts and pages, how to organize hierarchies, not to mention different content types.

It's the old thing of feeding them fish nuggets vs showing them how to fish.

6- Howard Rheingold

OK, in keeping with my practice of not hiding my ignorance from my students, I will admit that I am still very fuzzy about the difference between tags and categories. I know about posts and pages and arranging menu hierarchies and adding media. But tags and categories -- I could use some more learning.

I am by no means an adept. I'm probably a lot geekier than the average indicator. I like that it's easy to click around in WordPress and figure things out. But it's complex! I don't see that the open, connected pedagogy is going to make serious inroads with many educators until the process of setting up a hub is easier.

This is the first course I've ever had in which I felt a burst of enthusiasm at the "end," for all the learning that's yet to come. We're already a community on Twitter and across blogs. Mia Zamora's recent post on co-learning is inspiring. Keep showing and telling. The establishment won't have to understand it or agree with it. It'll be overwhelmed by students and teachers doing it without asking anyone's permission.

A big THANK YOU to all the facilitators and participants.

Connected Courses Task force sounds in need of a Superhero comic of some sort ...

Simon, the connected task force sounds fantastic. Above all, I don't want to lose connection with the wonderful people I've met in Connected Courses, and I also don't want to lose a common platform to meet, discuss and do. I'm digging my way very slowly into secondary curriculum one teacher at a time to shift the learning to open and connected, and I learn so much from everyone in #ccourses. Most valuable professional development I've done ever. Thanks everyone.Keep being awesome.

I'll be without a computer for a couple days, until the 14th ... the last day ... yikes

So I won't have time to be able to drive my Hub into Alan's garage before the end of the course ** ... but wonder what will be archived ( to review, or fill-in what I'd missed during long flu & a family disaster )_ ... webinars for example ? ...
i've bookmarked dozens of blogs from the ccourses hub to revisit but will the webinars remain archived? ( -- archive-it could if no one else has server space )

I cannot separate all that i've learned ( from mostly just auditing ) from all the people i've met, with whom I hope to keep in touch.

p s
Alan's manual probably spells out tags vs. categories, posts vs. pages, and organizing hierarchies ... unless those might make for fodder in any next iteration ... i'm grateful for it & his interaction ... being petrified when i try to read a computer publisher's book on wordpress ...

so one of the faculty where i'll be teaching has just returned today from visiting family in europe and will show me ... canvas! this week, which apparently i also need to learn for teaching online with the university ... i got geek coming outta my ears ... but a candle fondly flames unwavering in my heart for what i'm learning here ... and will continue to put into practice ... Thank You

ccourses reloaded - powered by the connected task force. This definitely requires a comic.

The archive will definitely remain! And I hear the blog brothers will keep the garage open too, better than ever for sure.

Here's your learning Howard. I guess you use tags in twitter, delicious, diigo, etc to organize content? Same thing. Categories? Those are like folders you organize your files with. Well not exactly.

Technically, and how Wordpress stores them, tags and categories are the same, they are a taxonomy used to describe posts. The major difference is tags are all equivalent in a hierarchy, they are flat. Categories can have an outline structure (categories and sub categories and ...). You can use either to organize your blog content and achieve the same result. You can organize your blog by set of categories or tags. Or both.

I generally use categories for high level organizing. Since I check them off in the editor, they are ones that I use consistently. Since tags are free form entered, I tend to use them more as descriptors, like folksonomic tagging.

Yes the syndication hub setup is a notch up in complexity. But I would rather aim to help people ratchet up their understanding. It looks like the known platform may make such connections easier than the approach we used (dealing with RSS). But at some point, if it becomes too simple, will people understand conceptually what is going on?

It's an ongoing question for me.

And so it shall be done ..


I fell off a little in the last few modules as real life got in the way of real learning.

My interest lie in most of the flurry of stuff Alan Levine and the blog talk garage has been posting.

Its sounds not as interesting but I wouldn't mind a shorter nuts and bolts course on building the system. Now we understand how the pedagogy works we might need to do the how-to.

Open is a continuum and we all strive to be a little more open. My class this semester used blogger, webmaker tools, and Google+. Next time I teach (on a research sabbatical next semester) I want to try and be a little more open. I want to try and take it one step further and go with a domain of your own.

I think another interesting design is having a connectedcourse at a global level nut have local nodes. In other words have a course built and have a global communication channels but have local mentors and facilitators. Allow the class to be forked a little bit.

I've been working on getting my colleagues here to publish blogs/pages using WordPress at my campus. After jumping through an amazing number of hoops I finally got authorization to setup an installation. The trick was getting the university system president to say "Hey Ken, great idea. Go make it happen". For some reason the support staff started listening to me after that.

But getting faculty to use this has been way harder than I thought. Along comes Known ( and I am convinced that after getting an installation setup locally I will have a simpler time getting my colleagues to use this. Stay tuned for an update in early 2015 on that.

I just found #CCourses this week and am sorry I didn't find this earlier to participate.

My thoughts on a "reboot" is being able to offer it again with the same structure/content/assignments but obviously the recorded sessions/guests/facilitators could change. Is the material available under a Creative Commons license? The only mention I see of ownership is at the bottom of the page: "© Copyright 2014 - DML Research Hub "

Obviously offering this course was a huge effort and the organizers perhaps want to move forward. I would venture that there is an audience for another offering of it.

Thanks for the amazing work and sharing with the education community.

17- Howard Rheingold

I would very much like to see the license change to a CC license.

What about a "nuts and bolts" course about how to set up and run a connected course with Wordpress, using the existing webinars as pedagogical scaffolding? Recruiting and organizing webinar sessions is a lot of work. I'm all for doing another version of #ccourses -- ideally with sessions designed by the participants of the first #ccourses -- but I think there's room for something simpler that has a live community element but recycles the webinars.

18- Maha Bali

Thanks Mimi for this post and to everyone for making #ccourses awesome!

I love Simon's taskforce idea :) I am in :) and have a task for the taskforce, actually! Will blog!

Alan, I followed your steps for creating a blog hub and it works beautifully. Too many details to tock off but still quite straightforward... About an hours' worth of work?

Thanks for the answer Howard.

Yes, recycling the already existing webinars actually sounds fine. I've watched a couple already and they are very useful.

A nuts and bolts on setting up my own connected course would be the bees knees.

My plan is to get my students publishing their assignments on their own blogs and I'm probably going to push Known for them as well. I'm sure I can hack together submissions through a Google Form and pulling using RSS to a central WordPress blog but reinventing that wheel if others have already gone down that path might not be a good use of time.

Is that setup documented or archived and available for us to base from?

Hi Mimi

well it seems the daft idea about the task force has traction.

I am wondering how people see that idea.

The first thing for me is the idea of community/party/rabble who drop through spaces to pick up revellers and connect them up.

Maybe traveling magicians with fun games and tricks to amuse kids and to get them doing magic.

Then I am thinking research connections.

I don't have time to do the research I would like to do but it would be great to connect up researchers/learners with learner/researchers.

I am thinking with people involved in telecollaboration in languages from my perspective.

Then I am thinking tech garage - but one in which you can hangout with others doing the same stuff.

Above all I am thinking about enabling kids to meet up with others who share their passions and get that embedded in formal learning.

Finally I am thinking fair/souk/festival which mixes online/offline/learning/singing/thinking/building/meeting/ stuff sort of like a Connected Learning days/week/jamboree.

Ah yes I have a research paper sitting on my computer doing nothing. Would u or others have time to take a look at it? Nothing ventured..and all.



Tsk force tsk force.daft idea...

PS This blog post is sort of connected with this blog post.

Sorry I am so late to this party. I just want to say YES! to the "ongoing multi-cultural trouble-shooting, research and development flashmobbing educational task force". Sounds fun, I'm in.
Can the task force (or it's network affiliates) make a visit to my grad/undergrad "Writing Race & Ethnicity" course next semester? I want to build cross community in that class conversation but I need to identify the potential communities to connect with.

22- Howard Rheingold

How do we proceed with the task force? How about starting with a mailing list? I always offer to use the Discourse forum for ongoing discussions, but it doesn't seem to appeal to a lot of participants.

I'm late to the party, but just wanted to say that I've LOVED #ccourses. On my campus, we watched first few streamed discussions in a discussion group, and it jump-started a new pedagogy working group.

I'd love to contribute to a connected courses ongoing project. We are especially interested in projects that support our mission as a Hispanic serving liberal arts institution.

So--sign me up! I'm looking forward to the next incarnation!

So much generosity and great ideas percolating in these comments.... task force, sharing research, nuts-and-bolts, matchmaking teachers/teachers, matchmaking learners/teachers,makerspace, ccourses remixed, oh and creative commons of course! I'm looking forward to seeing what folks take and run with. The DML Hub team will continue to listen and do our best to support - hope the ideas keep coming.

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