Roz Hussin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Stefan Schmid, Akademie Bayern, Augsburg, Germany
Mira Gillet, USA
Alison Burek, USA
Talal Hassan, Pakistan
Ellen Dong, China
I C d WorLE DO U? Investigating Connectivist Discourse in the Working+Learning Environment – A proposal for a Democratized Open University
Open Learning is widely accepted, but Open Research and Open Teaching are still alien. Academic R&D and the profession of teaching are traditionally secular and highly regulated. This proposal addresses Cognitive Refugees, people with high intellect and valuable potential, but who do not fit into the traditional academic template. The objective is to Mobilize Open Ongoing Connectivist Communities Online (MOOC 2.O) to empower Cognitive Refugees, enabling them to Investigate Connectivist Discourse in the Working + Learning Environment (I C d WorLE). This grassroots action-research movement would form an online resource of people, learning content, and learner data in a Democratic Open University, where any person can receive OR share instruction in any study.
In the past 7 months, I have embarked in a series of ongoing action-research projects, together with my MOOC classmates from last year, all who are enthusiastic about academic R&D, but who have no proper access to research resources or academic guidance. The core group (6-7 people) work on the projects daily, while the extended group (40+ people) have contributed in part. The range of projects include designing MOOCs, academic publications, conference presentations, teacher training programs, and inquiry-based inventor’s workshops. Our collaboration has been almost entirely online as we are geographically located across three continents. We coach each other in our varying capacities, and also proactively solicit guidance from established academics and other professionals as needed.
Despite positive outcomes, we hope to propose a sustainable systemic model where other Cognitive Refugees can find support, resources and opportunities to pursue academic action-research of their choice. While we currently endeavor to publish and present in traditional academic circles, to break ground and build credibility, we envision in the near future, a New Learning Environment, where there would be equal opportunity, equal access, and equal acknowledgement for our non-traditional work.
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