The internationally recognised Cisco Networking Academy programme (NetAcad) supports education and training in network engineering worldwide. NetAcad works with diverse educational institutions, including schools, further education (FE) colleges and apprenticeship providers, as well as higher education institutions. Based on a model created in the 1990’s, the NetAcad programme offers an educational ‘vertical’ from beginner to advanced network engineer.
However, NetAcad since inception been perceived as a closed community based on the established use of proprietary (Cisco) technology. However, since 2013 it has moved from closed to open through the release of APIs, free-to-download software, free-to-use content and the adoption of open networking standards.
While clearly offered by a ‘corporation’ – this has been offered from the outset as a CSR endeavor, via scalable engagement projects with diverse stakeholders, including the UK Open University (OU). The OU is an Academy Support Centre (ASC) within NetAcad, supporting the engagement, growth and academic development of the vocational discipline of network engineering.
Historically – any educator as been taught as a ‘trainer’ – using a Vygotskian mastery framework (1978). This has evolved into scalable – teacher training via cMOOC oriented remote delivery. Moving the community of practice from a closed hierarchy based delivery model. Over to a community based ‘flat structure’. By persuading each teacher that they are an equal peer within a growing community – established with a common goal. While meeting their desire to enhance their own professional practice. This has been accomplished through the combined delivery of online practice using both a MOOC and also social media via the streaming of live video content on Facebook Pages.
This session explores the ongoing results, impact and advantages for educators – in terms of changing attitudes to vendor delivery. From both the perspective technology vendor as well as national (UK) and international teaching community participants. The session will also explore an open model is working – creating a new ecosystem within a historically traditional closed community. As well as with the open arena of social media. Focussing on how the notion of the community of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991) is being exploited in this context.
This is a work in progress – reflecting on how the demographic/participatory data has shown increased engagement and has offered unique outreach opportunities. In effect, creating an open ecosystem and exposing a traditionally closed community.
Lave, Jean; Wenger, Etienne (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-42374-0.; first published in 1990 as Institute for Research on Learning report 90-0013
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.