Over a week ago the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT) met with the six faculty in this year’s cohort of the Online Learning Initiative (OLI) here at UMW. The OLI provides a framework for faculty over the course of a year to try and integrate the values of a liberal arts education into an online learning experience. Martha Burtis has this year’s cohort running like a well-oiled machine, and I think this initiative is really finding it’s groove. (And for that matter so is Martha, full time suits her well, the planet’s must be aligning 😉 .)
But none of that is what I really wanted to blog about, the OLI just happened to be the occasion for me to catch up with Biology professor Steve Gallik—one of UMW’s finest faculty innovators—who turned me on to yet another awesome service of the open web I hadn’t been aware of, namely PediaPress. This is a service that allows you to collect and collate Wikipedia articles into a book that’s then published and sent to you as a hard copy. So, you might be thinking, what’s so cool about a buying a book full of Wikipedia articles?
Well, it’s cool when you create a book as a Biology faculty title Protein Structure that is the most comprehensive reference on Proteins cell structure of its kind that you can provide to students as a PDF free of charge. The actual printed book—which cost roughly $40—is for Steve, but the process of creating it enabled him to build a comprehensive resource on proteins for students. What’s more, as a class they’ll be able to locate some of the issues with those Wikipedia articles and hopefully edit them and enrich the commons. Stuff like this is so simple, and at the same time so awesome in so many ways.
I couldn’t resist browsing the PediaPress catalog, and I was struck by a few reference titles: Depeche Mode: A Compilation for the Masses, Pharmacology for Anesthetics 5, The Beatles, and Really Free Culture: Anarchist Communities, Radical Movements and Public Practices.