Open, Vertical, Dynamic Course Design for Instructors and Students Alike

un phare en coquille / Lighthouse like a shell
un phare en coquille / Lighthouse like a shell (Photo credit: TisseurDeToile -[*])

I’ve recently been engaged with faculty in a discussion about “open” in their courses. Interest and experience vary widely and for many, the concept is foreign and frightening. “Designing” for such a course might seem an oxymoron. However designing simply means considering the overall course goals & what you want students to be able to achieve, as well as making learning relevant, so students can incorporate their knowledge into real world experiences. Designing for such a course must also consider the available resources (there are many things available via the net) and the needs for communication, interaction, building community, showcasing student work and assessing understanding. How can we make this learning experience unique, distinct, dynamic and create a course that learners want to take?

What if a course were truly dynamic? What if you the instructor and your students experience content that was dynamically updated every time you access your site? What if the instructor provided a framework and selected data feeds that could provide dynamic information related to course specific topics? It seems that this could provide faculty and students with opportunities to engage in relevant discussion and create new works to both explore and demonstrate learning? Such a learning environment might also allow faculty to demonstrate their processes of thinking, research, collaboration, communication, and personal learning.

In the digital age, information is constantly and things such as breaking news, research, interesting questions, social media, all drive our quest for understanding. Recently on NPR I heard the term Verticals: data driven ventures. As I understand it (and I certainly need to learn more), news, marketing and other digital publications are increasingly using data driven verticals: data driven ventures information. Wouldn’t it be interesting for faculty design a course with both fixed content and selective feeds of dynamically driven information to engage in open learning ask interesting questions around and help explain information?

I know this work is already underway in some respects, but I'd like to see experiments with a whole new level of "verical design". I welcome examples and/or ideas for various disciplines.
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