Okay Connected Course students, assessment time.

True or False?

It's over
It's Not over

It’s actually some sort of inside out zen riddle. Pretty much the concept of a course as most all of us know through decades of conditioning is that classes/courses are clearly bounded in time. The school sets the schedule, the teacher gives out the final grade. All rather clear signals of a learning experience reaching its terminus.

And largely (I am counting on you Sandy to find me exceptions, I know they exist), most xMOOCs are bounded to. The web shutters go up at Coursera, FutureLearn, et al.

There’s no value judgment there, just observation.

It was the very first cMOOC and ones after, and ones like Connected Courses that are not really calendar bounded, that this idea of a course not being over raises an interesting notion, and muddies the waters where a course ends and maybe a community extends. People in and around rally under the gusto of “4life”. Long after rhizo14 ended people are doing research and writing papers. The same goes for many more. Those hashtags become kind of a call sign.

To me it was made abundantly clear the powerfulness of it in the Connected Courses Co-Learning unit when Alec Corous hosted a hangout with participants of ETMOOC, which was almost 2 years ago.

The question lingers, for whom is it over? The course planners rightfully take a step back. If you have not run a connected course, let me clue you in– it’s all consuming. For many participants, their “over” state occurs anywhere form week 1 to any time beyond. And for others… well they keep the light on fueled by their own interests.

I lay claim to tossing out the #ccourses #notover tag combo (srcoll all the way back, for what it’s not worth)

Again, this is my observation- noting that the language fellow planners were using had signals in it – “last unit”, “after the course”, “last hangout”. As a course leader, when you use that language, it pretty much cues participants into that meaning. And maybe that’s wanted.

So no one (as in no one person) really knows or can say Connected Courses over. Simon Ensor playfully suggested an informal “Task Force” which has some traction. Howard Rheingold has offered suggestions for participants to plan a future unit, prodding some co-learning, or inviting people to remix the content created. I’ve offered to try and help with people who pull into the Blog Talk garage

Others are asking “where will we gather”? Is it in a blog post comment thread? in a Google+ community? in a discussion forum? Some want more structure. Some less.

My own thoughts it will be interesting, and likely useful to keep connected the people who are putting the concepts into play maybe next semester or later. There has to be a benefit in having peers to bounce ideas off of, to do some sanity checks. And likely the hash tag alone will be a solid meeting spot.

But… if you are looking to the folks who designed Connected Courses to give a bulleted action plan, well… rules of beach front Arizona property apply. It’s not because of lack of interest, and there are things in motion for 2015 (I am going to part of some next project).

Yet this “over” does not rely on any lady’s singing to be the signal, it’s up to y’all. It will crest, ebb, plateau, flourish, wither, flower in the ways complex living systems do.

“Overness” is not definable broadly.

If you want definitive, ask Yogi.


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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. Dinner at my house comes with question, “Do you want white wine or red wine.” The correct answer is, “Bofadem!”

    As a Tired Teacher who just filed grades on 84 advanced composition students, I am thrilled to ring down the curtain on the term and get three paid weeks off. I shudder to think of never getting them off the tit; HOWSUMEVER! in reality, I know that the best way for them to actually progress deeply in their writing would be for them to stay in mentorship relationship with me for the entire two year sequence.

    There are some unexamined warrants in:
    1. Assuming open ended is better–criteria, please?
    2. Assuming that completion (of a MOOC) is a sign of anything significant–sez who?

    My observation is that lynda.com type classes and MOOCs are often taken for lifelong learning, in which case, wandering in, wandering out, following the twinkling light of a personal thread of interest defines a lot of people who are just so over completion, which imho, is as it should be.
    Or maybe this blog post was about something else altogether? Peter busted out the Aquavit…

    1. There’s spaces and times for both Sandy. A question is then do we allow for those choices? Would you mind if your english students formed a coffee group to revisit and cherish their essay skills? I’ve not made any claims for open ended being better (whatever that means) just that in these cMOOCs people join and stay active for more than content or credit. It’s never a model for all education. Why do you keep doing Daily Creates? And.. I’ll have whatever Peter is pouring!

  2. I was about to post a comment saying that what happens next depends on what each individual in #ccourses valued about it – and the more a group of them rally around a particular way of going forward (e.g. continuing to use the hashtag or deciding to blog a diff topic each week, or take a MOOC together ) will make it feel #notover.
    But then Sandy’s comment made me think. Why do we talk about #notover being a good thing? For me it is because the most important factor in a cMOOC is building relationships and those, if good, u expect to continue beyond the course. The other is yeah, lifelong learning, so… Lifelong. A good course (cognitively speaking) should help you continue to learn in the future (without the teacher/facilitator but possibly continuing a mentoring relationship as Sandy said for her f2f/paid teaching).
    But i mean, really, u do a MOOC on connection that ends with disconnecting? That would be a bad sign of some sort

  3. Alan,
    If it’s “never a model for all education,” is your MOOC and LMS bashing just your playful hijinks nature at play in the field of the education multiverse?

    I do Daily Creates becuz DS 106 is 4 Life!

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