This commentary presents an account of a recent project as an example of engaged research. The project focused on collecting and analysing the completion rates of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It began informally, through blogging, and developed into a funded research project with formal academic outputs. In addition to its formal outputs, the project is also cited as an example of the benefits of conducting an 'open' research project. This reflective piece tells the story of the project, and discusses the lessons learned about the value of openness and the interplay of different social media tools in the research process.