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.
Bates, A. W. (2019). Chapter 4.6. Communities of practice. Teaching in a Digital World. 2nd ed. BC Campus. Retrieved from https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/teachinginadigitalagev2/
Meister, J. (2015, June 10). MOOCs emerge as disrupters to corporate learning. [Blog post]. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2015/06/10/moocs-emerge-as-disruptors-to-corporate-learning/#1b81d9a8744a
Reid, S. (2019, November 17). When are open educational resources and open educational practices too open? [Blog post] Retrieved from https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0129/when-are-open-educational-resources-and-open-educational-practices-too-open/