Genius Hour as MOOC?

(cross-posted from K12 Open Ed)

A few of us have been talking about the idea of fostering cross-generational participation in cMOOCs lately, and as I think about this my mind keeps coming back to the idea of Genius Hour as a MOOC.

For those unfamiliar, the idea of Genius Hour (also sometimes called Google 20% time) is to give students some dedicated time to pursue their own passions. Whenever I think about Genius Hour, I think “Why don’t we have this for teachers too?”

So how about a MOOC where people of all ages are encouraged to identify and pursue a topic they are passionate about? It could be an inquiry project, a maker project, or something else of their choosing.

The advantages of doing this as a MOOC are:

  • Taking place over a fixed period of time bounds the project and makes it more approachable. (“course”)
  • Having access to many others, including hopefully some with similar passions, allows collaboration. (“massive”)
  • Being in an open space allows delightfully unexpected synergies to occur. (“open”)
  • Participants could do this from anywhere. (“online”)

As a learner, I would delight in participating in something like this. In fact, my head is buzzing with things I might pursue in this way.

So what do you think? Does this idea have legs? Want to start something like this?