I happened across a Tweet the other day from someone who's not in the technology or elearning fields himself, but is interested in community engagement and knowledge sharing. He'd heard about P2PU and was flagging it as an interesting idea. I followed the link, and came to the same conclusion.
The Peer 2 Peer University describes itself as "a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. P2PU creates a model for lifelong learning alongside traditional formal higher education. Leveraging the internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU enables high-quality low-cost education opportunities. P2PU - learning for everyone, by everyone about almost anything."
That sounded interesting. Worthy aims which I happily buy into. But what interested me more was what I found when I dug a little deeper. Courses, free to register and participate, in interesting fields encompassing webcraft, social innovation, mathematical future and education; attractive of course. But as it happens, despite an awareness of MOOCs, I've not had the opportunity to participate before, and that in itself is a further exciting personal and professional elearning experiment for me. So, now is the time!
I've signed up to A Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour. It's a four week course exploring virtual worlds, games and emerging technology for use in education. It includes tours on topics covered at VWBPE 2012 or the Virtual Worlds Unsymposium which I really wish I'd been involved in, field trips to educational sims in Second Life, an introduction to Machinima, an adventure in the MMORPG World of Warcraft with an educators' guild and finally some tours on the Bleeding Edge with emerging technology and education that includes virtual, blended and augmented realities. The virtual world field trips are scheduled for evenings in Pacific Standard Time, which puts them in the middle of my night, but some might be manageable - and the helpful organisers have left introduction cards in world to allow you to explore yourself. I'm really looking forward to sharing this with other participants through the P2PU facilities and the portal put together by the course facilitators. I'll be tagging any blog posts related to the course with the vwmooc label.