I love open online communities. I mean, I really love them. More and more, I find value in the conversations and sharing in these communities, much more so than in other content resources. This is the way learning should be.
Mostly, these communities for me exist in places like Twitter and G+.
In spaces where there isn’t strong community or that the community is only episodic (for example, with P2PU courses or some MOOCs), I really miss it.
So when I started thinking about some new plans to increase awareness of OER and open learning, starting an online community of practice was a natural. There are a lot of reasons this makes good sense. It’s a deeper means of engagement than conference presentations or other tradition awareness building activities. It is more authentic and has an opportunity to address some real challenges educators face. It has the possibility to be self-sustaining.
But then I thought “Does the world need one more online community?”
Yes and no, I think. Yes, because there is no better way to learn and grow than through community, and many folks aren’t on Twitter and G+. In fact, one of my concerns about these spaces is that many conversations are dominated by “the choir.” If you want to reach new, mainstream, and especially not as connected audiences, this is a tough way to do it.
No, because, well, there are a lot of community spaces already out there, all fighting for attention.