Monday, March 11, 2013

It's Open Education Week! Who Knew? (#h817open)

I certainly didn't. Coincidentally, however, I had already signed up for a MOOC (massive open online course) about open education (you can find the course description HERE). Discovering this course through benefit of my personal learning network (PLN) on Google+ was really great (thanks +Deborah L Gabriel, PhD, MD ), because I had just completed another MOOC on E-Learning and Digital Cultures, and like many participants in that one was experiencing a sense of emptiness and letdown. This new one was billed informally as a MOOC about MOOCs - just the thing to lift one's spirits in the gray days before Spring arrives.

This blog post, by the way, is the first formal activity I've been asked to complete in the new MOOC, which goes by the hashtag of #h817open.

My name is Dave Barr and I am a museum consultant with wide experience in the Canadian cultural sector and a special interest in new technologies for engaging museum audiences. I have worked with museums, both large and small, in organizational and process analyses, strategic and business planning, policy development, gallery development, project management, and online education. I've written numerous publications, including online learning courses in strategic planning, business planning and project management for

I'm an avid user of smartphone apps.

Interestingly enough, museums have been pioneers in delivering open education, also called free or informal education. During the 20th century museums increasingly adopted informal education as one of their core missions. As I try to list my learning objectives for the course, below, you'll see that I am grappling with the ways and means that museums can continue to play a leadership role, now that open education has become a popular preoccupation.

My learning objectives for H817Open include:
  • understanding better all that MOOCs can be
  • understanding a lot more about world-wide activity in open education
  • becoming better acquainted with some of the resources and channels for open education
  • understanding better some online education techniques like gamification
  • understanding what role museums can play in today's approaches to open education
A final objective, under the heading of 'other,' is continuing to expand my personal learning network.
Oh, yes. And Mar. 11-16 really is Open Education Week, organized by the Open Courseware Consortium. From the OpenEd website: "The purpose of Open Education Week is to raise awareness of the open education movement and opportunities it creates in teaching and learning worldwide. Participation in all events and use of all resources are free and open to everyone."  Lots to do and see - check it out at  (Thanks, +Sara Roegiers )

Not only that, but have you ever heard of P2PU? From their website: "Peer 2 Peer University (we mostly just say P2PU) is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. P2PU creates a model for lifelong learning alongside traditional formal higher education. Leveraging the internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU enables high-quality low-cost education opportunities." Get the whole scoop at  (Thanks, +Sara Roegiers )

As for museums, my thoughts are still at a very formative stage. But my firm suspicion is that if we want to remain leaders in open education, we'd better get going with the online versions, ASAP. The rest of the world is starting to leave us behind.

[The illustration is a mash-up of the logos for Open Education Week and Peer 2 Peer University, from their respective websites, which I just know are made available under a Creative Commons license :)]