My dream of an open course – Bob Dylan MOOC

As people have become fond of mentioning, i have alot going on right now… and don’t have the time to take on another project. But I have a project in my head that i’d really, really like to try. I want to do a bob dylan open course.

My feelings about how knowledge gets created are strewn all around this blog, so i wont torture you with it. Suffice it to say that i think curriculum can come from membership in a network.

What i’d like to do is have an open course that ran for a period of time (in order to get people places, i think ‘eventedness’ is an important part of learning) lets say 12 weeks. Each week would have a theme, maybe we would wander through the different incarnations of dylan following along with the I’m not there film. Maybe through different concepts that keep recurring.

But imagine what this means about learning. It means that people with common interests come together to ‘learn’ stuff, consciously. You’d have some people who were new to dylan, looking for a way into understanding what all the fuss is about. Other folks who maybe have heard the canon and think maybe they’d like a little more. And then some other folks who might be a bit more engaged with the lyrics, the style… whatever.

A learning ‘community’ (i use this word lightly in this instance) with no other purpose but to come together and learn about something. No financial attachment, no credit, no asessment.


Yes… so. The so is about scale. Think about this as 2000 people who came together to learn about dylan. Think about how these things get routed, how subsets get formed, how people splinter, other communities form that then go on existing passed the actual event.

I think the idea is really exciting… and I want to try it sometime. Just as a landscape to discuss how learning can happen if nothing else… not to mention all the great tunes.

Author: dave

I run this site... among other things.

9 thoughts on “My dream of an open course – Bob Dylan MOOC”

  1. So leaving aside the tension between informal, network learning and “curriculum,” “courses” or “eventedness” for a second, what is the problem with simply joining an existing “community” like and starting to ask questions and read up on whatever topics around “Bob Dylan” you are interested in? I am not sure I understand the need for this to be a “course” or to create another “community” around this. I’m being a bit dense on purpose here, as is my wont, but help me understand. This seems as guilty in making the category error that learning only occurs when it’s *explicitly* the aim as does the mistake of referring to people as ‘resources.’

  2. And, further, you seem to be equating ‘community’ with ‘website’. If 25 of my peeps (or 1000) get together to wander around the interwebs learning about dylan, swapping topics to pursue, debating obscurata I would expect it to be decentralized.

    the eventedness stuff is here but i seem to remember having sent that to you before.

    There is a great deal of tension in the language, playing in the tension is part of the fun. Exploring those at the same time as the ‘content’. I learned a great deal from my involvement in CCK08 last year and would like to try something more disconnected.

  3. I’m not equating “community” with website; I’m equating “community” with a “group of people sharing common interests and bonds doing something together,” and pointed to that one simply to make the point that there are already existing groups learning about Dylan, and learning how to join existing communities is a key skill for network learners, IMO. Further, many of these pre-existing communities (whether they be in music, gaming, software development) do a wonderful job of welcoming in newcomers and pointing them towards some well worn paths (cf beginner question forums, FAQs, sticky posts, on and on) without having to dopt some cohort-based approach.

    By all means, don’t let me stop you. It just struck me as quite an odd proposal given the nature and need of what you were learning, to start adopting rather ‘formal’ structures. But fill yer boots.

  4. There are many pre-existing communities and I have no real desire of being outside of them nor of creating a guild style community outside of what is out there.

    I get asked, fairly frequently, where to ‘start’ with dylan and ‘what all the fuss is about’. I love that discussion.

    The ‘cohort based approach’ can be really helpful to people, like Alan maybe, who’ve always kinda wanted to learn a little more, but have not had the energy to devote to ‘this particular thing’.

    You want to have an inverted comma fight? I’m ur man!

  5. You might be interested to know that I just posted two blogs on Bob Dylan at Best of all in your endeavors. And, I commend you on being ranked #2 on Twitter-grader’s list under the topic Shar-pei. My Shar-pei/black lab mix, Masu, is a wonderful, loving creature.

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