I have just posted my introduction to the Moodle Connectivism and Connective Knowledge Course which is about to start. The course, which has already been nicknamed MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) because of the number of participants – about 1600), will be co-facilitated by Georges Siemens and Stephen Downes
Although open courses of this kind are not new and nor are the tools used (message boards, Moodle, blog, wiki , microblogging, syndication, social networking platforms, Second Life), the innovation comes from the sheer number of participants involved from different parts of the world.
What is fascinating, as Clay Shirky mentions in the book I have taken the title of this post from, is how the different people are meeting, moving and gathering online to make things happen, taking them from the global context to discuss them in their own communities. Although the course is in English, translations to Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Italian have been taken up by volunteers and are linked from the course wiki. Special interest groups are being created in different languages, physical and online locations.
As Shirky mentions, the tools for sharing and co-operating on a global scale have been placed in the hands of individual citizens and in the same way the printing press has amplified the individual mind and the telephone amplified two-way communication, all these tools amplify group communication.
The big challenge, in the next 12 weeks, will be to both read, reflect and post, converge and diverge, breathe in and breathe out, listen to the global and think local. An ambitious experiment in intercultural perspectives, scalability and how to evaluate the outcomes of such project. Looking forward to learning a lot from it.