Canterbury Bound: If They Build It, They Will Come


#MOOCHostel, #MOOC_hostel, #mooc_hostel, #MOOC_oasis, #mooc_oasis, et al

I made hashtag soup this morning. It’s nothing like the hashag soup that Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake concocted

yet it had its own charms. It really helped me see how adhoc and intentional might dovetail in my MOOC halfway house idea.


I did some thinking out louds as my tweetpeeps (@MiaZamoraPhD @Bali_Maha @sensor63 @cogdog @hrheingold @laura_ritchie) played in the sandbox awhile thinking out louds, too.


That graph above really clarified the idea of intentional and adhoc for me: both are spaces like I envision for the MOOC oasis in mind. What was most interesting was that I realized again that the adhoc spaces that are very minimally defined and with permeable boundaries are what I have been doing both in and out of MOOCs these past years. I want those spaces, but I realize that they cannot be constrained or managed. So I am like the zen story of the missing ox, I can point to a way to find it,  but it cannot be the way.


Or perhaps you prefer an American master of zen, Nancy Drew:


Ms Drew points to the truth that the map is not the territory, the digital space is not the space. Wax on wax off.

I still want to make this space for pilgrims to gather. And like the Canterbury Tales I hope it is a storytelling space about MOOCs that has a reflective koi pond for gathering about to share and celebrate our learning’s past and our emergent futures. I wonder who will be the Nun and who the Priest and who the Wife of Bath and who the Pardoner. I hope everyone gets to tell more than one story coming and going.

Whoever stops by I think it needs to be an open space with adjacent rooms for gathering and lots of nooks and crannies for just sitting by oneself. I see the whole edifice as permeable, a sieve not a silo. We can leak out and leak in all we want. We can add annexes both inside and outside. We can mount insurrections and then lick our wounds. But there will be a space. Maybe several loosely joined. Maybe some private rooms, definitely some mead halls (yes, there will be drinking) and some cafes. Sufficiently vague and metaphoric? Exactement. Kept as simple as it can be kept, we will make this house by living in it.

I suspect that we will discover structure that works and chaos that doesn’t. Opsickle as well. I will keep posting progress/regress reports here, but your job is to keep casting about for that sweet spot in the Venn diagram above where adhoc and intentional cross. Report back. I suspect we have a moving target here and we will have to move from “ready–>aim–>fire” mode toward “ready–>fire–>aim”.


5 thoughts on “Canterbury Bound: If They Build It, They Will Come

  1. Best thing about playing in the sandbox is that quicker than we think it stops being in the sandbox and is everywhere. Having several places and different rooms sounds great – and please can we have a space to let things soak in, or to rest and just enjoy being part of it? It sounds like the design and organic are mingling nicely. So pleased you are such an elegant architect, and am very pleased to be in the virtual sandbox. One day when we all meet, there will be some excellent fort-building.

  2. #fortheloveofeverythingholy #prettypleasewithacherryontop no “moocs” in the tag!

    An ironic challenge is everyone has a different shaped venn diagram, and overlap regions. So what does one to to try and resolve that into a building plan?


    To me, it matters less if it is adhoc or intentional, a website or a hashtag — is what are the things we do? what are new? Hanging on to great experiences can end up like friends who mainly stay in nostalgia for (cue Springsteen) glory days.

    Given the people, who have coalesced around this (cough like you), I have little worry about it happening. I’m willing to see how it rolls down the hill.

    1. What I am mostly doing here is thinking out loud, Alan, and to share it if anyone is interested. I want it to be ad hoc and intentional. The conjunction in the Venn? That is not only what I want. I want folks to share their personal knowledge experiences among which will be MOOCs of different stripes. Part of that is past glory days, part of it is glory days to come, part of it is a celebration of shit that didn’t go so well. I really don’t know what it is since I am not the only one defining it. I want you to be as surprised as I am.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *