Category Archives: MOOCs

The year’s top posts on Working Smarter

2013 is over for everything but the holidays so I’m posting this list of the top 50 blog posts on Working Smarter this year. Here’s how they were selected.
Working smarter draws upon ideas from design thinking, network optimization, brain science, user experience design, learning theory, organizational development, social business, technology, collaboration, web 2.0 patterns, social psychology, value network analysis, anthropology, complexity theory, and more.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2013

Here it is: The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013

‘The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013 list was compiled from the votes of over 500 learning professionals from 48 countries. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s list. For a fuller analyis, visit Analysis 2013 Twitter retains its no 1 position for [.].

MARCH 10, 2013

Group work advice for MOOC providers

The most valuable aspect of MOOCs is that the large number of learners enables the formation of sub-networks based on interested, geography, language, or some other attribute that draws individuals together. With 20 students in a class, limited options exist for forming sub-networks. When you have 5,000 students, new configurations are possible.

APRIL 11, 2013

Exploratorium: Mapping the Experience of Experiments

‘We’re huge fans of our soon to be San Francisco waterfront neighbors, the Exploratorium. They don’t have docents, they have Explainers.

JANUARY 27, 2013

PKM in 2013

“The basic unit of social business technology is personal knowledge management, not collaborative workspaces.” ” Knowledge.
744 Tweets 191 Tweets 103 Tweets 114 Tweets

Me and the Complexity MOOC



It’s 11:10 pm in Berkeley and I am in the bowels of the Internet Time Lab listening to Melanie Mitchell tell me what’s up with fractals, dynamics, entropy, Shannon, genetic algorithms, and cellular automata. I find the STEM aspect of these topics boring, so I’m barreling through this MOOC’s recorded videos at a high rate of speed. Melanie is my tour guide and muse.

This is a quality MOOC. Melanie is diligent, Santa Fe Institute is sponsor, and it’s a fine presentation-MOOC. I’m milking the content for my own purposes, hopping around and following an inconsistent schedule.

The recordings have “first timer” written all over them. This communicates just how daring a step this is. It has the flavor of live television in the 1950s when everyone was waiting for the bloopers. No retakes. High-wire act. The material comes across as more honest that way. Maybe James Burke could read the lines next time.


Melanie’s trying so hard I feel obligated to keep plugging away. My relationship with Melanie is similar to my relationship with Angelina Jolie: non-existent, but I haven’t been over to check out the class forum. Maybe there’s some social action going on over there.

Melanie turns us on to how to open and mess with NetLogo, a nifty open source what-if system modeling tool. But then we descend into the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Entropy. Got it. The connection is murky. I’m about half way through, with good intentions but ducking homework assignments.

Two people asked me yesterday what MOOCs are like. I told that them there’s still time to join this MOOC. Don’t be like the parents who want their teen to have sex education but not sex training. You want to understand what’s right and what’s wrong about the variety of activities people are calling MOOCs, just take some. JFDI. (You’re not committing a lot of time; most people bail out early on.)

A Solution to the College Crisis


Corporate colleges


Higher education in the United States is broken. Costs are ouf of control. Students are dissatisfied. Graduates can’t get jobs. Says MIT’s Andy McAfee, “What’s going on is halfway between a bubble and a scandal.”

I propose we put higher ed back on track by founding Corporate Colleges.

Corporate colleges break higher ed into its constitutent parts and reassemble them with checks and balances more fitting for a pragmatic 21st century education. These Continue reading A Solution to the College Crisis

Business+MOOCs: Tweetstream

Tweetstream for #QMOOC during February 27 Hangout on Business+MOOCs

JeffMerrell thanks all! great session #qmooc -10:36 AM Feb 27th, 2013

loistweet Thanks to the rockstars of MOOCdom #QMOOC -10:35 AM Feb 27th, 2013

easnipes_sci Science via MOOC? #qMOOC -10:35 AM Feb 27th, 2013

ViplavBaxi #qmooc – thanks Jay! -10:35 AM Feb 27th, 2013

kwheeler Would love to hear more on types of MOOCs, e.g. Stephen’s last remarks posed more questions that need answers.#QMOOC -10:34 AM Continue reading Business+MOOCs: Tweetstream

Free-form responses on MOOCs+Business

Free-form responses. n=20, Business+MOOCS Survey 2/25-26/2103


What is positive about MOOCs?

Remote access to material/course heretofore unavailable

2/26/2013 3:48 PMView Responses

I had access to professionally presented information that I otherwise would not.

2/26/2013 3:16 PMView Responses

Available anytime and free. Ability to move at own pace.

2/26/2013 7:36 AM

Access to content, arranged logically

2/26/2013 5:22 AMView Responses

Modularity, BMWs, & MOOCs

Recognize this? It cost me $1,000.

bmwWhen my car was detailed, this part of the steering column was damaged. It doesn’t come any smaller. You can’t buy these individually.

bmw1 bmw4bmw3



BMW has decreed that you have to buy all these parts, even when some of them are perfectly okay. (My car’s issue was with the collar thing-a-ma-bob in the center.)

Dumb design, eh? It’s just like college. There are separable pieces:

  1. initial assessment, interview, and admissions
  2. lectures, Continue reading Modularity, BMWs, & MOOCs

MOOCs = Skinner’s Box 2.0?

blackBoxA radical high school teacher came up with the title.

Last year his class ran under his experimental class operating system in stealth mode. Howard Rheingold, Jerry Michalski, and others, myself included, have dropped by. The teacher will uncloak soon to reveal an interdisciplinary approach where students select what to learn from Open Education resources. Learning is experiential and self-directed.

We had scant time to talk because I’m under the gun completing a project but I immediately Continue reading MOOCs = Skinner’s Box 2.0?