Open Education – How to Think About Your Online Community’s Purpose

Useful metaphors for creating a vision of your online education portal:

1. An InstructorNet Mall of available resources for instructors to meet their needs.

2. A Google “Knowledge Map” of available content that’s searchable, zoomable, and subscribeable through RSS so the network alerts you for items meeting your interests instead of waiting for you to craft a search every time you feel a conscious need.

3. The Amazon/eBay “smart network” that automates the search and recommend function based on stated interests AND by remembering searches and paths

4. Customer Service center for instructors seeking help

5. Tour guides/Marketing Aide to demonstrate “How to use these resources”

6. Magazine model of info mgt/distribution: a targeted demographic, whose readers shape the course of the magazine/tools (Dear Readers! We listened to you!) Lean 6 Sigma (LSS) techniques have a way of accomplishing this, and a partnership with an LSS project seems like a natural one

Other work to be done:

1. Considering how we encourage/reward professional writing like lesson notes, course content, blog/wiki work that contributes to the practice of knowledge, in the same way we have tied promotion and retention to academic writing.

2. A faculty Development Program that incorporates more ideas related to “Master Classes in graduate teaching” on a regular basis. Some ideas include: a. Group learning vs Team-Based learning. b. RSS in the classroom (and blogs and wikis and podcasts…oh my) c. Live dialogue mapping skills to frame group discussions better (Google “Compendium” for demonstrations) d. How about giving Voice to faculty to let them nominate classes they want to receive, or challenges they face, and target the top vote getters?

3. An instructorNet Mall should have a “store” that has searchable index of available, recorded Faculty Development Programs with quick summaries of what’s available for the individual instructor looking to sharpen his practice.

I hope these ideas generate some quality ideas in your situation.