Stephen Downes’ distinction between cooperation and collaboration is pertinent to the discussion of courses and communities: specifically, it's pertinent to the question of whether a course (such as Rhizome#14) is a community, and even more pertinent to how we describe social media, and learning in social media.

It might be useful to first distinguish three kinds of practice: strongly reificatory, strongly community, and strongly cooperative practice. The first two have been outlined in the wiki-post here , and they all do overlap.

The third is the product of the affordances of networking, connectivism, bulletin boards, the early ‘informatics’ generation of computer programmers, and David White’s virtual residents/visitors in social media. I’ll provisionally call them ‘lite’ practices (as in Karin Knorr-Cetina’s ‘light’ micro-global structures – see the second half of this chapter for an introduction).

‘Lite’ practices are neither strongly reificatory nor strongly community, they are, at most, co-operative, and only require minimal protocols of behavior; they certainly do not require the collaboration of strongly community practices, nor do they require the rigour of peer review, or of the tests of falsifiability of the natural sciences. Much if not most of what goes on 'publically' in social media is 'lite' practice.

They include what I have called ‘ante-formal’ knowledge – knowledge that has not yet been formalised – some if it never will be; it is tentative knowledge, knowledge that might be the basis for formalised knowledge later on, once it has been knocked around, re-versioned, etc.

My (outside) view of Rh#14 is that there is plenty of reification present, perhaps a little room for new reification to be contested or created; lots of ‘community’ practices happening, but very few of them explicitly, i.e without much common understanding of what this requires – and consequently little evidence of a CoP; all of which is embedded in loads of ‘lite’ practices, which serendipitously cut across all the other practices. This is probably typical of many open courses.
Interesting …

And ... which of these (if any) is 'centred' - or if it is 'decentred', in what way?
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