(1 Feb 14 news; updated 5 & 28 Feb; 27 Mar; 3 May) Course discussion, tag #sicw14 has begun on the public google+ community, but is mostly taking place through the Collaborative Explorations (CEs). Room is still available in the May CE, which will have a weekly hangout at 4.30pm Thursdays US EST, May 8, 15, 22, 29. (Register here )

A course based on real-world scenarios or cases that invite participants to shape their own directions of inquiry about scientific and political change and develop their skills as investigators and teachers (in the broadest sense of the word). People from all fields and levels of preparation are encouraged to join in one or more cases. Re-engage with yourself as an avid learner and inquirer while drawing on the diverse experiences of the other participants.

How to participate:

  • Participate for a single case=one month, or for as many as you choose (February-May 2014).
  • Share independent work or participate in month-long, small-group "collaborative explorations" (CEs) around the cases, http://sicw.wikispaces.com/CE

The CEs involve 60-minute google+ hangouts each week for 4 weeks at a time determined to suit the schedules of those who register and interact in a private google+ community. (February: Two subgroups--9am & 4pm Mondays US EST). Course participants are strongly encouraged to join at least one CE to experience how much can be learned with a small commitment of time using the CE structure to motivate and connect participants. The "moderate-scale open online collaborative learning" of CEs addresses the needs of online learners who want to:

  • dig deeper, make “thicker” connections with other learners
  • connect topics with their own interests
  • participate for shorter periods than a semester-long MOOC

As one first-time participant stated at the end of a CE: "I've changed. I've changed on all levels. On a political level. Work level. Personal level. Professional level. And it has been a positive change... I have an infrastructure in my brain, so I know what I am doing now when I am with people, when I work in groups."

Technical matters:

  1. Join http://plus.google.com, then http://bit.ly/SICWgplus -- that is where general course discussion will happen (with hashtag #sicw14). (Optional, but not expected: double post on the P2PU discussion board for the course .)
  2. If you want to participate in a CE for one of the cases, register at least one week before the start of the month via http://bit.ly/CEApply to indicate times that work for you. Then accept the invite that will come to the private google+ community for the CE. Finally, install audio & video plugins for the weekly google+ hangouts.
  3. (Optional, but recommended) Use your own blog or google drive to post extended thoughts and work-in-progress presentations. Link to these posts in the google+ communities.
  4. (Optional, but not expected) Twitter using hashtag #sicw14
  5. (Optional) Apply for a badge after completing the tangible goal stated in at least three of the cases and posting them to the public google+ community.

Course organizer: Peter Taylor.

Sources for my approach to involvement in open, online learning that draws on Project-Based Learning. Also, since 2009 I have been running interdisciplinary graduate courses that revolve entirely around 3-4 week cases, designed so that students can explore their own interests and learn from each other. Glimpses into the process: http://wp.me/p1gwfa-xp and student comments at http://grst.wikispaces.umb.edu/Evaluations and bottom of the page http://ppol749.wikispaces.umb.edu.