Out of Print: Building a Digital Environment for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship

D’Arcy Norman and I co-presented at the Open Education Conference last year, and I recently had the opportunity to re-watch our talk thanks to the good folks at COSL that both recorded the sessions and put them up on Google video.

The presentation was an important one for me in retrospect, because of its pure and beautiful simplicity and self-evident knowledge 🙂 We proposed the creation of an Open Content educational resource/courseware/interactive space (or what have you) to enable both institutions and individuals alike to easily and effectively create their own dynamic educational publishing platform using freely available tools and services. This is what I have been working towards ever since the fateful and infamous Northern Voice 2007 festivities, and this presentation comes along the way in that journey, and captures for me a moment wherein D’Arcy, myself, and Brian Lamb (who is the only voice in an otherwise silent and seemingly uninterested audience to ask some questions and push the idea). As it always seems the case, Brian is the quiet and modest brain behind most of this stuff, and to hear him in the Q & A period frames why he is such an important part of my own process of working through this stuff, and I’m pretty sure the same is true for D’Arcy. I consider myself his student in many ways, and his keynote at this conference sealed it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

One of the ideas we talk about here that I am constantly coming back to is pushing the use of open source, easy-to-use applications like WordPress to publish interactive resources created by and for students. Which become far more powerful in this open environment given their ability to be shared freely online through search engines like Google (or re-published via RSS, etc.). The idea I talk about here is an online anthology created by and for an Early American literature course that frames an anthology of reading with critical intros and bibliographies written and peer-reviewed by the class. An exercise in creating and framing the very text of their class for the world at large. I love this idea, and I want to return to it soon. But a recent post by Bryan Alexander on the Nitle blog framed for me the fact that UMW’s Marie McCallister is in many ways already doing something like this with her Eighteenth Century Audio site. Thanks, Bryan!

So, all this long-windedness to say that this presentation is the beginnings of the idea of the educational publishing platform (well, at least for me it was). Something which was never only about WordPress per se (as D’Arcy reminds me 🙂 ), but always about the way we need to re-imagine publishing for our moment, and make it as much a part of the teaching and learning environment as possible.

Here are the URLs of the sites we talk about during the session: http://earlyamericas.wordpress.com/ and http://opencontentdiy.wordpress.com/

Here is the audio:
Download Out of Print

And here is the video:

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One Response to Out of Print: Building a Digital Environment for Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship

  1. James says:

    I think these are very important discussions to have, but the question to me is always, “how do we do it?” I’m not on the curriculum side, but do user experience work and large web project management at BCIT.

    I think the notion of open systems could actually be expanded to include the instructional and other sides (like, gulp, marketing), and make re-use of certain objects and assets all the more powerful.

    I can tell you, though, as I’m also an MA student in learning and technology, a lot of folks who claim to have a grasp on how to move in this direction, really don’t have a clue. It’s more about lame labels with “2.0” attached to them, as opposed to real thought leadership.

    I also think that something which is almost lost in the literature and discussions on remixing open content and social applications for educational purposes is how the UI design impacts the learner experience and outcomes.

    There’s a real consideration of the visual and interaction design that’s absolutely missing from a lot of learning platforms.

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