OpenLearning17–an end and a beginning

We are in the last week of OpenLearning17. It’s been a marathon of learning and connecting, and the experience has reminded that I’m not built for marathons. The only sport I was ever remotely skilled in was fencing–short bouts where it’s not about endurance, but rather strategy, sizing up your opponent quickly and leveraging your individual strengths (being left-handed is nearly always an asset). I have made it to the final week. It’s been sporadic bouts for me, but I’m still in the game. I’m still learning and connecting and I want it to continue.

How will we sustain the learning and connecting after the course? Certainly many of us have new connections on Twitter and through our blogs, but how can we use the to continue the conversation? What it will look like after the cMOOC is finished? Where will the conversations go? What needs will emerge that the hub could support?

I think we’ve only scratched the surface of possibilities. The participants in the cMOOC have been so thoughtful and insightful. It’s been wonderful to see the sparks of individual epiphanies and the connections between and among participants. We have built a community of learners here and I am eager to see where we take it.

It seems to me that much of what we have discussed involves experimentation with learning environments, whether they are online or face to face. How could the hub support that experimentation in a sustainable way? I want to continue to hear more about what others are doing as they try new things with open learning. If I get brave enough to experiment, I want a place to share that experience and get feedback.

I would also like for us to explore how we could incorporate student experiences into the hub, not just second hand reports from instructors, but actual student voices. We’ve had some links to student blogs, but that’s linking out to students, not bringing them in, right? We’ve included students in panel discussions, but that brings them in for just a moment in time. Are there ways we could incorporate the open learning experiences of students in an ongoing way? Is the life of a student too transient to make this possible? If open learning is student-driven, how can we bring students into our discussions about open learning? What are the risks?

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