Creating Learning Structure: open or closed?

Course Structure
Originally uploaded by Alex Halavais

How do you create a structure to engage people in their learning process? Any institution that deals with learning should consider this.

Free the process from the jail we know as Course Management Systems. Not.the.Solution. CMSs are closed private schools where we wonder collectively if anything interesting is going on inside. Where’s the real learning take place? Interaction. On content creation. Through conversation and comments. Creatively posting parts of your assignments to flickr. That rocks.

Imagine if you made your CMS open. What a marketing piece! Would the caliber of fascinating work that students put out, in say the library field, increase? It may. When you know your peers are watching, you may perform better. You may work a bit harder.

Another reason: show students that what they produce is a part of the real world. Interact with them where they are, on the web. Conne.ct t.he d.ots. Help your students/users/patrons make connections. Use new technological tools to engage in different conversations. Design things to either remove the seams or make the seams, reasonable hurdles. Sure, you need to know how to type and mouse. You don’t necessarily need to know how to program at the machine level. I’d rather students spend time interacting than navigating a closed system. Going to school in a CMS: it’s like taking my Mazda3, 2.3 litre engine apart to change the oil. I don’t do that. I take my car to the mechanic these days. Because I want to drive fast on my way to very interesting places.

The days of locking my productive, creative work behind closed systems, it’s over. What I produce, I want to share. I want to take it with me. To other places on the web. Even if it’s not good and full of typos. And I’m doing it before someone says I can’t. I stamp all my work with a cc license. (And it’s doubtful I have anything to worry about there. In terms of someone stealing my work. I mean, it’s ok stuff but I’m not cracking the cosmo open in any of my papers.)

One reason why I read so many blogs and work to forge connections with people who leave comments. It’s like I get the best of both worlds. I get my masters while at the same time DIY-ing my education.

I save every paper I write. Every article I read -saved. Every message board post and bulky old school online chat -saved. Links -all go into delicious/iblee. Why? Because I revisit those ideas, change my mind on what I did, further develop them, or just laugh at how ridiculous my position was.

I’m learning all the old school, deep-critical thinking. I want to be building new school skills too and share and join and connect with other passionate learners. I’m not the only student who geeks out over talking about what they’re learning. Maybe. But I doubt it.

Watch the rise of edupunk/libpunk/studentpunk and watch it all get mashed up. and re-mixed.

Contributor: Lee

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