Knowledge and Freedom: Massive Open Online Courses as Anywhere and Anytime Community of Practice Efforts

By Caroline M. Crawford.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) reframe the current understanding of knowledge and freedom within the "anytime" and "anywhere" understanding of learning. Specifically within the efforts associated with communities of practice (Wenger, 2006) wherein the learning and discussion are framed within “real world” efforts and experiences such as what may be described as a mentoring or an apprenticeship effort. Framing an understanding as regards to knowledge and freedom within a community of practice realm is intriguing; yet, with the growth in MOOCs the ability to reframe one's understanding of a global learning effort is indeed timely. Therefore, the intriguing question framed through the significant interest and growth in MOOCs is the global effort towards ensuring the open sharing of knowledge and learning at the global level, which is not only suggesting the ubiquitous learning efforts are inherent and underlying the Digital Age efforts, but that the perceived experts in their respective fields have fled from the traditional online course model wherein their instructional design efforts so as to frame their lifetime of knowledge within a higher education institution’s closed online course efforts may indeed find that the copyright for their course product is held by the institution and wrested away from the knowledge expert; instead, the experts have delved into the belief that their lifelong endeavors should be freely available to share with the global community. The reasoning behind this MOOC effort may indeed be the belief that knowledge is, and should be, free to anyone. A model towards higher education degree MOOC efforts is offered for consideration.

Keywords: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Communities of Practice, Knowledge, Freedom

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.29-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 304.989KB).

Dr. Caroline M. Crawford

Associate Professor, Instructional Technology, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, USA

Caroline M. Crawford, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake in Houston, Texas, United States of America. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Houston in Houston, Texas, United States of America, in 1998, with specialization areas in Instructional Technology and Curriculum Theory, and began her tenure at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) the same year. At this point in Dr. Crawford's professional career, her main areas of interest focus upon communities of learning and the appropriate and successful integration of technologies into the learning environment; the learning environment may be envisioned as face-to-face, hybrid and online (virtual or text-driven) environments. Dr. Crawford may be contacted through her e-mail address,