Is the world closed? Or is this just a whole new brand of OPEN?

My teammates Earl, Jeff, Leigh, Marta and I have decided to explore the world of massive open online course(s) (MOOCs). In our case, specifically we are looking at a course that focuses on helping people stay mentally healthy during the quarantine. Given our current global circumstances this is, of course, a very interesting and timely topic. As our team blog will speak in more detail about the course, I will not go into it here, in depth.

From my personal experience, as I do not have first hand knowledge of MOOC courses I was eager to find out more. Already I have learned that there are courses offered for free, while others are available for at various costs. I have also learned that there is the possibility of downloading content and storing it on secure servers, which is an intriguing possibility that may alleviate the privacy concerns inherent in my organization due to the significant amount of personal information we obtain from our members.

As I wrote in my blog post this past November, “… as we move increasingly towards a mobile workforce” (Reid, S. 2019), the trend only four months ago was clear. However, no one could have predicted that that my organization would officially announce the decision to mandate working remotely for over 60 per cent of staff on March 19, 2020. Very quickly, it became apparent that the need for online learning resources had increased exponentially. However, the risks of cyber security were still pertinent, perhaps now more than ever. And so, once again, I faced the dilemma of availability of open learning versus security, but now, with an added sense of urgency which, may in fact, fuel and add traction to gain quicker acceptance of open learning at my organization. As Meister (2015) notes with regard to the findings from Leveraging MOOCs and Open Learning Assets In The Workplace survey, which “…found that 44% of our sample were interested in both creating their own Corporate MOOCs as well as planning a strategy for curation of open learning assets.” Therefore, it would appear the appetite was there and has likely increased due to the challenges that face educators as a result of the coronavirus quarantine.

In light of that, and my conversation with our course professor, I am keenly interested in researching the possibility of utilizing MOOCs to create a community of practice at my organization as a foundational piece to meet the emergent, and future learning needs of staff. This possibility is supported as Bates quotes Smith (2003) “…communities of practice affect performance..[This] is important in part  because of their potential to overcome the inherent problems of a slow-moving traditional hierarchy in a fast-moving virtual economy” (2019, p. 188). As this is an excellent synopsis of the tension I am experiencing, I look forward to what will develop through my continued exploration of this topic in LRNT 526.

To that end, I invite your input, and ideas as they relate to your various experiences. And if there are any articles that you have come across in your research that are salient to this area, please do feel free to share them.


Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Bates, A. W. (2019). Chapter 4.6. Communities of practice. Teaching in a Digital World. 2nd ed. BC Campus. Retrieved from

Meister, J. (2015, June 10). MOOCs emerge as disrupters to corporate learning. [Blog post].

Reid, S. (2019, November 17). When are open educational resources and open educational practices too open? [Blog post] Retrieved from

4 Replies to “Is the world closed? Or is this just a whole new brand of OPEN?”

  1. Sue it will be very interesting to see how your study develops, particularly in relation to the challenges you describe of open courses and privacy, and how MOOCs may fit into the corporate hierarchy and culture. You also may end up with a unique and important curation of relevant literature in your study.

  2. Hi Irwin,
    Thanks for providing your commentary to my blog and my teammates in our cohort. Your insight is very much appreciated.
    I think there’s a lot of opportunity for exploration of MOOCs and their potential value to my organization. As well as the possibility of creating a more expansive and adventurous dynamic in our learning culture. As you note, I’m hopeful too, that I’ll find literature in my research to support those endeavours.

  3. Hi Sue,

    What a great way for you to be able to tie in your current experience to the course.

    I came across Communities of Practice and thought it might be of help for you. “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger, 2015).

    Good luck with the topic Sue, I look forward to reading more!




    Wenger-Trayner. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice. Retrieved from

    1. Thanks for the comment Leigha! It’s been a bit of a challenge to connect my professional environment directly to the material in some of the courses, so I’m pleased too.
      And thanks too for the resource! I really appreciate you sharing it and will check it out now.

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