In which the community forms…

Today was a banner day for CyberOne. The quick and dirty:

  • Dad and I kicked off the Berkman Center Fellow’s Lunch Series at the Berkman Center today. The room was lively and the event was webcast to a substantial audience. (I don’t know how many viewers we actually had, but I do know that Ansible (a.k.a Rodica) hosted an audience of 24 in Second Life). We discussed the potentials of open access education and the ways in which technologies such as Second Life can enable it. The video of the lunch is available here.
  • In class today we discussed Wikipedia and learned how to edit a wiki with guests Mako Hill and Elizabeth Stark. (Videos already available here!) In addition to introducing us to one or two personal interests, Mako told us that the Wikimedia organization runs on $750,000 a year with only 2 or 3 employees (who mostly handle legal threats). All the rest of the work is done on a volunteer basis, multiple millions of articles, that’s a lot of work… The big question for the day was what motivates people to contribute. Mako’s answer: personal interests backed up by personal/collective pride in specific articles and the whole project once you get involved. After a brief tutorial from Elizabeth, students in the class added to and edited our course wiki right before our eyes. As Elizabeth began to tell us that the help page on our wiki would be empty until someone put something useful there, someone put something useful there!
  • I spent the afternoon and part of the evening on Berkman Island. I hung out in the Ames Courtroom with a law student, an extension student, and an at-large participant! The at-large participant, Stephanie Spicoli in SL, told me that we’d appeared today on and blogged our course herself.
  • We asked the law students to give us some feedback and found that they are looking forward to collaboration and are trepidatious about not being techie enough. Well that’s a problem I think I can help with! They (and we) are also concerned about how to grade a course that is so much based on open-ended creativity and so ill-suited to HLS’s mandated curve. The very beginnings of a grassroots movement to make the course pass/fail appeared on the wiki. Go! Go! Go!

— Rebecca Nesson

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Booth

    September 13, 2006 @ 2:58 am


    Hi Rebecca! thanks a lot for the link you left on my blog. It was really nice hanging out with you last night too! I’m going to read up on all this. I very much want to be at the right time and place next week!

    One advantage of groups: if you make a group for participants in general to be part of, you can send off notifications when events are about to take place. It would be specially useful for at-large participants.

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