CPsquare

From its website

CPsquare is like a town square, a place where people gather to connect and learn together. We are from corporate, private, non-profit, and academic organizations; we hail from many nations across the globe; we are involved in consulting, research, and direct support of communities of practice; and we join together to create our own community of practice. We are a non-profit organization, registered as a 501(c)(6) organization in the US.

Our purpose:

  • Finding the social in learning: We learn in ever more diverse ways as we connect for diverse purposes, across social divides, through technology, and in new circumstances. CPsquare experiments with and seeks to understand traditional as well as emerging social formations where people learn: whether labeled communities of practice or not.
  • Helping CoP practitioners: We help each other become better in all the practices involved in supporting communities of practice. We cultivate a range of competencies which help communities of practice thrive in diverse settings. We serve both newcomers and leaders in the field.
  • Helping CoP researchers: We support the scholarly activities of members by providing a forum where research on the subject of communities of practice can be shared, supporting their access to the growing body of research on communities of practice.
  • Bridging the scholar-practitioner divide: We engage in and monitor both research and practice in and about communities, so that scholarly work can inform practice and practice can inform scholarship. We believe these collaborations can enable continuous learning and improvement over time.
  • Making a difference in the world: By serving the needs of members, CPsquare is a vehicle making a difference in the world. We believe that the formation and support of communities of practice will help give energy to a broader social movement for positive world change.

Summary

CPsquare (aka CP2) has been around since 2002 and incorporated for the last 6 years.  Two of the three founders of the Women’s Learning Studio started with the CP2’s Foundations workshop and have been CP2 members ever since.  Participating in CP2 activities has given us a wealth of learning connections (aka curious friends), ideas, and new knowledge and skills.  In 2012 and 2013, we convened  international discussions in CP2 on the changing roles of online learning facilitators and online learners. A group of us synthesized the first discussion (second is in progress) and published it on the CPsquare blog site here. CPsquare maintains a password protected conversations space for its discussions and extensive archives on social learning.  The annual fee to belong is $150.

Skillshare

From its website

Skillshare is a global learning community where you can learn real-world skills from real people … Learn real-world skills from anyone, anywhere. We power thousands of creative, collaborative classes on everything from programming to design to crafts.

Have knowledge to share?

Summary

Skillshare’s manifesto video titled “The Future Belongs to the Curious,” is a premise for living well that we subscribe to at the WLStudio, too.

Skillshare’s weekly email updates its current offerings in a wide range of interests: art, branding, crafts, culinary, design, DIY, entrepreneurship, extracurricular, fashion and style, film and video, music, performance, photography, social good, technology, and writing.

The teachers charge fees for classes. For instance, a one week online class by Jennifer Barbour in March 2013 on How to Write Blog Posts that Build a Community cost $10. Another one week online class by Pei Ketron on Make Your Photos Pop:  Intro to Photo Editing through Adobe Lightroom is $20.  A highly endorsed two week class by Dan Kozikowski on Pull Your Own Data:  An Introduction to SQL is $20.  Yet another interesting option in April 2013 was a class on drinking wine–Get Wine-Smart:  Stop Thinking & Start Drinking by John Boyer, a geography professor at Virginia Tech.  He charged $15 for the two weeks.  By the end you would have presumably consumed a lot of wine and written a blog series about it.  Here is his wine-in-mouth justification for taking the course:

Why would we take this class? Will it help us advance in our career? Will it provide us with all of the foundational knowledge we need, and more?

Ummm…yes, yes, and yes. In today’s world, drinking wine is not just part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, but it is a life skill, a business skill, and a language in and of itself that by being fluent in it, affords you access to the ‘cultured club’: the cosmopolitan, educated, successful, cultured, and classy peeps…and isn’t that we all aspire to become?

 

MIT OpenCourseware Initiative

From its website

OCW is a revolutionary approach to sharing educational resources. The site presents the core academic content–including lecture notes, syllabi, assignments and exams–from substantially all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate curriculum freely and openly to support formal and informal learning around the world. Many of the site’s more than 1,900 courses also include rich media resources such as video lectures, simulations, and animations. OCW has inspired a worldwide movement that now includes hundreds of universities sharing materials from more than ten thousand courses.

Through OCW, educators improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective; students find additional resources to help them succeed; and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges, including sustainable development, climate change, and cancer eradication.

 

 

 

 

Open Culture

From its website

Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, free ebooks and other enriching content — it’s all here. Open Culture was founded in 2006.

Dan Colman, the lead editor, is the Director & Associate Dean of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. He previously served as the Managing Director of AllLearn, an e-learning consortium owned by Stanford, Oxford and Yale.

Summary

This site offers entree to over 650 FREE courses online from major universities such as Stanford, Penn State, University of Michigan, UC Berkley, Harvard, and Oxford.  Many of these are “evergreen” courses, meaning that one can start them at any time.  The site also lists 200 FREE online courses (Massive Open Online Courses-MOOCs) that start throughout the year.  Most MOOCs offer “certificates” or “statements of completion,” though typically not university credit.  If you wish to take these as credit classes, you would need to check with your partnering institution.

Open Culture does not build or create the courses.  Instead, “the site highlights MOOCs and online courses created by other educational ventures.” The website also identifies free language lessons, K-12 teaching resources, free online movies, Harvard classics, and life changing books that one can obtain online.  It even lists a philosophy course delivered via Twitter!  Class categories are from A (Archaeology, Architecture, Art and Art History) to P (Psychology and Public Health) to T (Theater and Twitter) to Uncategorized (a grab bag of learning options).