dave cormier – community

dave cormier b w

He spoke/wrote many moons ago, we listened/experimented/prototyped over the years. We’re grateful – to infinity – he’s had such great mentors, ie: Oscar,  Bon, Posey, et al.

Dave Cormier discusses community as curriculum:

community is the curric

The following are snippets taken straight from the link above..

This idea of learning as something that can be bought, acquired, and then completed is deeply ingrained in popular culture.

In addition, most importantly, once the knowledge is acquired, the learning is finished.

This process, though, is usually bounded by the learning objectives laid out at the beginning of the course of study by the designer/instructor.

The problem, then, only comes into play when we are not sure what “people should be learning.” What is the curriculum for innovation? How do we impart creativity? Where do students turn to be guaranteed that they are learning what is new and current? These are the questions that face us on a more or less regular basis now. As knowledge becomes a moving target and the canon starts becoming less reliable, we need a new—or in fact an old—model of education drawn out on a new canvas: community.

We need a move toward a more practical, sustainable learning model that is less based on market-driven accreditation and more on the inevitable give and take that happens among people who engage in similar activities and share similar forms of literacy and worldviews.

If we are to move beyond how we rate/grade/accredit things… we have to move toward things that matter and things that are awesome. But both those beg the question – according to who. Which is exactly how validation should happen. Authentic validation depends on it’s context and intent. And especially (I think) in ed, we need to work really hard at not doing ourselves in.

Who becomes a personal issue to whatever community or tribe you are a part of. Credit/validation/grading is determined by the wealth (not the money kind) of that community – and quite possibly beyond – because of who you all become and what you do because of it.


more from Dave on Rhizomatic Education

rhizome keri

rhizomatic learning:

how does it scale?
stop measuring…
not possible to measure learning…


community as curriculum..

community as measure – how are the people around you doing.. no?


perhaps like  Bunker Roy’s..

the barefoot movement..?

Dave started EdTechTalk many moons ago – with Jeff Lebow.
And he’s many places.. you could poke around here:
dave;s blog
dave cormier meme
Bonnie Stewart (@bonstewart)
aww. my world, now a meme. RT @NealGillis
Shout out to @PEIGuardian for the opportunity to Quickmeme @davecormierquickmeme.com/Dave-Cormier-S…
embracing uncertainty dave
visual notes of Dave’s talk on embracing uncertainty – by Giulia Forsythe
2013 keynot a upc – (uni of s pacific):
dave cormier keynote 2013
mooc – open syllabus – the people who come in become the curriculum..
32 min.. hmm.. facebook map as means to help people reconnect..? want to know more about that thinking.. should we focus on that? or is the map more a means to let them follow whimsy/gut.. find another connection…?
rhizo14 d
dave’s campfire analogy et al
Dave speaking at mit mar 2014:

Why teach MOOCs – MOOCs as a selfish enterprise

Published on Mar 17, 2014

A short history of MOOCs from my perspective, some cMOOC pedagogy and a description of two very different uses for MOOCs, one cMOOC and one xMOOC. With input from the crowd from EdX, MIT, the media lab, Harvardx and Harvard Ed School.

Dave’s initial nudge – how do you get community life effects – on purpose
2007 – George Siemens runs conference – future on ed – ran 3 week pre and 3 week post – what we really enjoyed were those 6 weeks, more than the conference.. so got together with Stephen Downes – ran course next summer – on connectivism.. 2400 join for free..
8 min – nobody measured this at the time – because nobody knew this was going to happen (would it have happened if you measured it?)
Thrun – all of a sudden the idea of mooc is interesting – because the scale is there.. he was trying to teach people what he knew – we were trying to bring people in to test what we knew
12 min – difference between doing it for credit and doing it because you love it
past the newness – now – why are we doing this
1. orient 2. declare (people have to have own voice) 3. network 4. cluster 5. focus
we don’t have outcomes.. we don’t tell them what success looks like
15 min – i don’t know who you are – how am i supposed to know what’s good for you – you’re the only one that knows that
it’s very much about people who are already very much engaged in what you are talking about.. ie: haven’t seen 17 yr old wanting to do a mooc
interesting – no? it makes me think of charity to places like africa.. we think we need to help them.. when actually they have plenty of experience/expertise.. we’re just not listening.. outside of our older/experienced boxes/constructs..
and then there’s the ongoing quest for the hub everyone will come to.. one conversation (in another web session) shared that without a hub/structure that’s why people in cmoocs get lost…. and right after that someone saying.. we’re not saying here’s the course.. we’re saying.. here’s the topic.. how can we make it interesting to you. well – that’s great. that’s better.. (and that might get 17 yr olds better at intro physics courses) but that’s not what we really want in terms of life-long insatiated hunger for more. true.. tech can help differentiate courses for people. and can supposedly keep people from getting lost. but the web is allowing us to facilitate people’s daily whimsy.. letting them get/seem/feel lost enough to find the thing they can’t not do. networked individualism – each person’s head/brain/heart is the main hub. the rest are nodes.
what is learning – no answer – cmooc works better on complex issues
cmooc is part course, part conference, part community, and all complexity
from q&a –
why not teenagers in moocs? teenagers not enough life experience for moocs – via Dave.. so trying to match them with parents.. to help develop some of those skills..
distinguish cmooc and community of practice? cmooc is a generator of a community – but not a community in and of itself..
so if already a community of practice.. should you create a cmooc ie: bob dylan mooc.. ? some communities come as a whole. communities can be positive but also can be disruptive.. would love to take an organization and try it..
23 min – selfish reason #1 – do my research for me (rhizo14)
i don’t have anyone in my hometown that i can go have coffee with and talk about rhizomes.. which is something i’m passionate about
from q&a
27 min – the more you spread idea, the more you make it easy to start a cmooc – more you lose filtering – how to keep from losing filtering effect.. how easy to make it so that people know there are people here working to keep filtering? question becomes – how do you ever let new people in – once new language forms.. do you continue this or let others in.. convo won’t be as good.. tools will probably blow up.. scale is really challenging.. this model would break at scale 2
huge – the idea of letting people in.. letting them come and go at any point. i think we’re not used to the intensity a person puts in when it’s the thing they can’t not do. (because most people don’t have that luxury). ie: art ist vs bot ist – they should be able to – catch up – if a mechanism is in place for them to (which relies heavily on a mindset toward spaces of permission, and/or permission to move about).. without disrupting the flow. and perhaps … adding life to the flow. no?
outcome – research
outcome – community
38 min – selfish reason #2 – do my job for me (physics mooc)
this won’t work with physics – and with 17 year old –
it’s not about the topic – it’s about the per choice.. no? physics as a freshman course isn’t really a choice.. spinach or rock won’t get to the grit you need .. more at bottom of this page: rhizo14
basically creating a networked textbook –
so using community of cmooc to create crib for xmooc… no?
oct 2014 via Dave on fb:
So I’m working on some rhizome stuff and i’d love a little sanity check. Cross two tension pairs, open to fixed curriculum and one to many people responsible for the curriculum. 
i apologize in advance – and ongoingly – for being a jerk. working toward shalom ness.
[i emphasized responsible for – and that got me thinking of papert’s quote – finding the curriculum w/in each person. which got me thinking on the power/sustainability of whimsy. which got me wondering how rhizomatic anything felt about being contained in a quadrant. ie: how i feel about being contained in a quadrant. which got me thinking about graphs. and taleb. and .. so i started wondering why the rhizome wasn’t part of both the 2nd and 3rd quadrants. (like the one end, is the curriculum w/in each person, networked individualism ness. where you’re both individual and community all at once.) then i wondered why it wasn’t the canvas itself.
(authentic) learning – whether it’s encapsulated in some fixed structure, ie: book, lecture, graph, word, … per choice, or some ungraphical/unmappable trek, ..per choice… is rhizomatic. all of it. nonlinear, non-predictable. (the parts that seem mapable/definable are just within the non-linearty. when you zoom out.. you see less clearly. so more clearly. ) so then i started imagining a grid where the backdrop/canvas is learning – modeled by the characteristics of a rhizome, and the 1st and 4th quadrants are just shrunk down quite a bit.. ie: not each taking up 1/4 the space. then i started seeing the inability to capture the size of the quadrant. unless it’s dead. ie: no longer alive/moving. so back to – why graph it.
and this. this is (one reason) why i don’t comment. words are so confining. as are graphs. esp because i think perhaps, we have this bent, obsession even, of using these more finite means to prove things. so – then we have to ask who/what are we trying to convince. and why. and has it helped in the past.
more here: with nothing to prove and evidence.
i guess – after adding those two previous pages.. my struggle is with the times we are in. it’s like good people.. good neighbors.. having a dinner/gathering/bonfire together. discussing/debating/conversing.. sharing ideas.. figuring things out. when one of their kids runs in and says – molly is drowning in the river. and we don’t hear it.. at least not that way.. or else .. of course we’d take action. and so.. to me.. right now.. it’s like there are too many friends.. telling us that molly is drowning. and we need to listen to that. first. ]
so here’s the graph:

rhizo 15


dec 2014:

something wrong in education..


Our education system is always a victim of the need for bureaucratization. It’s terrible… but it’s a necessary evil. Getting everyone on board, getting something funded, getting training rolled out and getting a program started inevitably falls pray to ‘standardization’.

? – on board of ..?  training..program..? necessary?

We totally want to be in the business of helping people do what they want to do. Try it. No really. Just try it. Sit down with a child and help them do what they want to do. And i don’t mean “hey this child has shown up with a random project they are totally passionate about and are asking me a question”

why not that?.. that’s spot on.. usefully preoccupied.. at their beckon call for just in time learning..

I mean “stop them at a random time, say 8:25am, and just start helping them.” You will get blank stares. You’ll get resistance. You’ll get students who will say anything you want if it means you will go away/give them a grade. You will not enjoy this process. They will also not enjoy it.

helping them..? how do you do that when it’s not asked for..? sounds like what i’ve been reading in regard to sleep interruptions (bad for you) vs segments of sleep (good for you).. all depends on letting go.. and listening.

The vast majority of students coming to most universities are not prepared to be engaged in learning. It’s that simple. It crosses socio-economic barriers. It crosses cultural differences. We are not bringing up a generation of children who are ENGAGED in learning by default. That engagement is an exception. I must admit… i don’t think we ever have… but then, i don’t think we’ve ever tried.

engaged in learning? – or engaged in learning we have decided needed to be learned..? they are most definitely engaged in learning. their engagement (after hours) blows us out of the water. really.

You’ll note the lack of a line in there that speaks to ‘student engagement’ in anything. Measurement of the type the inspector wants, where someone can show up on a specific day and judge someone, cannot be used to measure engagement.

perhaps eerily similar to … “stop them at a random time, say 8:25am, and just start helping them.”

I’m suggesting that we need to replace that awful STANDARD IV, quite consciously, with a first principal that asks ‘will this help people care or keep them caring’.

help people care.. ? yes.. we could do better to create a more humane education system… by helping people care about stuff. but.. perhaps the care/engagement that we’re looking for (ie: self-perpetuating forever energy) comes from us letting go. 100%.

perhaps we can help people listen to their heart/whimsy – but only because we’ve covered that natural ability up. we’ve taught them/ourselves to quiet our wandering minds. the care/curiosity/energy is within each one of us. many might night help with that uncovering.

People are going to need to care about learning if any of the cool stuff is going to happen.

imagine the cool stuff/life if we truly meant that. – care about learning. period. not learning some basics. just learning. free people can’t not learn. [even oppressed people can’t not learn. they’re just most often not learning what they are memorizing for us first.]

we need to help ourselves disengage from thinking learning has to be a certain way. and model engaged learning. aka: live alive.

i’m thinking.. that’s the difference about tech today. it can facilitate whimsy/curiosity. and it can do that right now. for 7 billion people. the catch is.. we have to trust people. all people. to find their art(s).


dave’s comment – dec 2015 – ttt on bob sprankle:

on connections/community ie: bob – more of a belonging than an entity… you can’t even trace it..


jan 2016 – Interview at ICERI2015 Conference

on rhizomatic learning – always in the middle.. never a start.. never a finish.. changes what success looks like

overcoming uncertainty.. to get to decide.. that’s critical

web as content management system

21 min – on living inside this community ie: edtechtalk 500 shows… you could learn this way


The rhizomatic lense – ICERI2015 Keynote Speech

dave snowden uncertainty

simple… complicated… complex

how did knowing become content…

content.. from process of interaction to dead people…

socrates – hated idea of writing things down.. because meant argument was dead…and somehow listener is less..

content is textbooks –

2012 – content is moocs

16 min – success designed around finishing.. ie: 1876 – standard 4 – then go to mills to work..

learning is not something that gets done… so why are we teaching…

it’s about citizenship.. citizens that can look for answers… in complex situations…

imagine.. 1\difficult to contain 2\follows own path.. inside classrooms..

rhizome.. navigating complexity

20 min – where learning is measurable.. where standardized tests are useful


open assessment/curriculum for complex situations… ie: create own models in which they can assess themselves..

bounded by analytics..

scale the community/people – process by which we learn is engagement in community.. goal for which we learn is becoming part of community of knowing

curriculum is other people


content is  a print concept – june 2016


The desire to repeat things exactly and the desire to control what people learned met their perfect weapon in the printing press.

perhaps more printing press than content..


he talks about his crazy solution. Imagine, he says, if we took all the things that people needed to know and broke them into small pieces. Pieces so simply defined that ANYONE, whether they understood what they were doing or not, could teach someone else how to do something. Lets just go ahead and call it a ‘textbook’.

We’ve gone from
‘oh my god they better just memorize it so no one goes to hell’


‘lets make sure we figure out what they’re teaching so people don’t get funny ideas’


‘lets dumb this down to the point that anyone can understand it’


Tasks that could only be defined in this way because they could be written down.


So… here’s the think piece.

Content is a print concept. It requires replication in the form of the printing press. It requires authority/power in the form of a government/agency/publisher deciding what is ‘required’ to learn. It is a standardization engine for learning, both to allow for spreading of authorized messaging and to allow for ‘uninstructed teachers to teach almost as well as an experienced one.’

I can certainly see where it’s useful. Particularly when you are only invested in surface level understanding of something. I’m starting to believe, more and more, that given THE INTERNETS, content should be something that gets created BY a course not BEFORE it. Our current connectivity allows us to actually engage in discussions at scale… can that replace content?

so i’m wondering .. why have a course.. what is a course.. what’s the purpose of a course..


Unless you see content as the marker of authoritarianism

might one see – course – as a marker of authoritarianism as well..?



Ok twitter. Little help. I’m looking for Goals established by communities/cities/states that drive how we design education.

I’m thinking more like ‘we want a friendlier society – How do we change our education system to make that happen.’


short (problem deep enough – a&a; mechanism simple enough – appchip; system open enough – city/community)

short bp

ie: a nother way..

via bending ear ness

thinking/web\ing (more here on people):

pascal– 1 – be you closet (for detox) – missing piece/desire #1

family/tribe – 7 – be you house room – missing piece/desire #2

freeman – 15ish – be you house (web in house)

dunbar – 150 – roosevelt

city/globe/ni – 1000 plus – prospect

rewire: ni

like original bp.. 7 mill (people), 8 mill (resources),  5 mill (tech) .. ibp.. ness

so for roosevelt..

work: would pay all rent (about 2 mill?) and talk to all employers..? to get a sabbatical ok’d.. so job guaranteed at end of year if doesn’t work
school: unschooled .. zac and doug and will and …? working with district to do.. convince them of the need to not record.. match to credentials.. but to just allow anyone to leave a trail… trust the app/chip output.. ie: jerry’s, maria’s, mine… to be enough… xiu’s input on this.. ie: trying to get little brother paid for so he could be freed up to join xiu.. craziness..



Dangerous edu-stuff from @davecormier yet again. Buzzword-free, too, as is his wont. #LearningContract vs #Syllabus. So, @Jessifer, comment?


You know what you need… You need a learning contract by @davecormier medium.com/@jbhogan/you-k…

outside of an assembly line, you want people working to their strengths.


A big chunk of the reason we are tied to this empty content is the need for formalized summative assessment. At its best, summative assessment represents desire to be fair to the students, to deal with them all equally, to make the system measurable. At its worst, it’s a cowardly system of control and coercion that stands instead of experience and a willingness to engage.


In order to be able to *fairly assess between two people, you would need to measure them on the same rubric. The more the content is similar, the more equitable the measurement, and the less representative of the learner.

*fair to neither..

how much are we measuring the students willingness to comply with our demands and how much are we contributing to learning?

voluntary compliance ness

We talked about how some *hard working students were always confused by the lack of clear objectives… they felt the course was ‘disorganized’.

*hard working.. on compliance..? no..? otherwise.. wouldn’t want someone else’s org

The most interesting part of open learning, for me, is the *need for the establishment of a new social contract.

*need..? are we sure..?



What does community mean to you? – “Valuable loss of control” #antigonish2 #4wordstory

why we haven’t yet ness


rhizomatic learning – added page w his post dec 2018 on rhizomatic learning


Well. Tonight I start my job search. My time at the Medical School ends in early June. Anyone have any fun ideas about what I should do next? Any thoughts about how to get my internet profile pulled together to attract someone interesting? #DavesNewJob

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davecormier/status/1091144547873234944

city as school.. everyone everyday ish.. (monbiot wrote about it)

we could pilot/prototype.. next experiment.. ie:  facil daily curiosity  ie: cure ios city

in the city.. as the day..

2 convers as infra with tech as it could be..


(…) David White (@daveowhite) tweeted at 2:54 AM – 19 Feb 2019 :
Open & free online session from @UAL on Complexity and Creativity with the excellent @davecormier & @tobias_revell – 3pm GMT TODAY. #teachcomUAL #altc
It promises to be both Complex and Creative :)

Room link: https://t.co/v1RjwsEc3qhttps://t.co/J7PSKyQwiS (http://twitter.com/daveowhite/status/1097796475529187329?s=17)

ie: everything is yes/no.. if saving time/money.. nothing in the real learning bucket should be treated this way.. learning is not something that is countable/measurable…

how many stay in.. can count..  marking .. can count.. but not a sharing countable process.. parental interaction.. i can tell times.. but not quality

things that are complex are things that are inherently not measurable in ways we measure money/time

the trick.. any time you approach something w complexity.. not going to come up w a solution.. end of day.. all i’m doing is approximating..

learning to me is always this idea of complexity

what they wanted to be was not afraid anymore.. and they thought finding a solution would take that fear

that distinction between complicated and complex is the first question i ask (when working w people)

learning objective is complicated.. anytime we stay in complicated domain.. the student is the follower

if you could count learning like you can count money.. it would make sense to measure it like money

can’t solve complexity.. just need to learn to learn from it – @tobias_revell

taleb antifragile law

this need to measure and then reduce the world back to the measurements.. to reduce the chaotic disorder @tobias_revell

carhart-harris entropy law

on the measure of man – henry dreyfuss – to reduce people to measure that can then be worked with @tobias_revell


of math and men

the idea that humans are parts of a machine called the city.. like smart city today.. this mentality runs up against complexity.. @tobias_revell

as a person who is thinking about humanizing complexity w/o reducing it.. analysis of machine and human.. chaotic vs chaotic at a human scale.. machine views rapped up in our ecology..’ @tobias_revell

benjamin bratton – world as giant piece of software.. something we can’t do but we talk about it @tobias_revell

‘can we live inside this regime of human and still exceed it’ – anna lo

higashida autism law

how to help learners contextualize their practice/research in systems of 10 000 yr planetary scales when they’re surrounded by speed and individualism @tobias_revell

facil daily curiosity  ie: cure ios city

trust that/us

the stack (@bratton) .. the continuum/connection of all.. working on local scale could ground you so not overrun by scale @tobias_revell

i’ll leave the individualism to you.. but dealing with the speed.. – dave

metis – ie: how you ride a bike.. sophisticated but undescribable knowledge.. no one could write an instruction book..we don’t explore this enough.. can’t measure metis  @tobias_revell

no train

sans measure

q: more of a .. what do they need.. so just things we have to fix/solve right now

perhaps even deeper – more complex.. what are you curious about right now

in the city.. as the day..

if we’re going to respond to complexity you don’t tell people about it.. you do it together – dave white


Robin DeRosa (@actualham) tweeted at 6:26 PM on Sun, Mar 24, 2019:
The awesome @davecormier gave a 3-day workshop on #openpedagogy @DigPedLab, and he blogged the whole outline and report of how it went. What an awesome resource. Can I use this, Dave? It’s so fantastic, truly.  https://t.co/Pll62eGUGo


Bonnie Stewart (@bonstewart) tweeted at 8:35 PM on Fri, Aug 30, 2019:
“We have this massive knowledge making engine that we aren’t in any way prepared to teach anyone how to use”
maybe, uh, NYT staff should be reading @davecormier’s new post on system-wide digital practices frameworks. AHEM.

Once we’ve made our way through the literacies, we get to the point of preparing to actually organize a learning experience online. There are a number of shifts that occur when we get to this point, but perhaps the most important one is that *people are not going to be working with self-selecting folks in your fun community looking to learn together. I mean… they might be, it’s just not likely to happen as much as you’d like. While it would be awesome if we were all able to teach in environments **where our learners were ecstatic to learn what we have to teach them, the truth of the matter is a ***different thing entirely.

*but that’s the new thing the web brings.. we could be there..

ie: 2 convers as infra

**perhaps that’s the problem.. thinking they are ‘our learners’.. there to ‘learn what we have to teach them’

***perhaps the point of life is a different thing entirely.. ie: about fittingness rather than fitting in (to what we have to teach)


dave cormier (@davecormier) tweeted at 6:53 PM on Sun, Sep 29, 2019:
Well friends… there it is. I’ve written a (very) rough draft. I said i’d write 50K words by September 29th and do a full book edit in October. Editing starts on Tuesday. #BookLife #TheCommunityIsTheCurriculum https://t.co/IQG7rs7tAB


dave cormier (@davecormier) tweeted at 11:47 AM on Fri, Nov 29, 2019:
You can’t actually measure learning. https://t.co/5q6mbGlJSL

i’m thinking it’s time to let go of  any form of measuring/accounting


So… I think Mastery Learning tends to an over-structured atomization of ‘facts’ and away from the healthy uncertainty that I think is core to a learning model that prepares people for real life. But I uh…can’t find anyone who agrees with me that has published it. Little help?
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/davecormier/status/1312793079502512129

i’m thinking.. the act of publishing itself .. esp in academia kills (goes against..whatever) healthy uncertainty  .. meaning: 1\ anyone who gets it wouldn’t/couldn’t confine it to written word  ..  esp to be used to then .. make a model to prep people.. because 2\ any type of prep for real life is missing the point.. huge red flag.. that we’re still in the poisonous zone of telling people what to do

i also think nobody gets it enough (to set us free).. everyone keeps trying to hold on to a portion of that supposed to ness.. (ie: black science of people/whales law).. we don’t get unconditionality.. which is key to healthy uncertainty