If there is any one person directly responsible for my current state of exile in instructional technology nirvana at UMW, it may very well be Zach Davis. A few years back, circa 2003, he was talking to me about how he had integrated a movable type blog into his 16th and 17th-century British Literature survey course. I said “A blog? What’s a blog?” and the rest is all too recent history. He brought me on as an Instructional Technology Fellow at the CUNY Honors College and wham bam -I met my true love WordPress. Zach is one of those truly inspirational cats that can move between Milton and Myspace in .2 seconds flat (sounds like another cool cat I know). And he represents one of those rare assets to the intellectual world of technology, for he is a scholar, a teacher, and a professional programmer.
Every so often, between programming, writing his dissertation, and raising a child, he carves out a few minutes to fuel my unpoetic, some might even say “b” grade, imagination. He had been following my recent posts about finding alternatives to the heroine-like addiction that higher education has to closed course management system models like blackboard and WebCT, which brought us around to the following discussion. In short, the question arose, “In a perfect world, how he would go about building such an open source alternative?” The transcript below is his exciting response which epitomizes, for me, that generative, “blue sky” thinking that I have gotten used to lately and which keeps the wheels turning late into the night.