Open Culture

Global Transmedia MOOCs

Thursday, August 30, 2012 Comment group of people in purple room for mooc meeting

Nearly two years before Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun shook up educational institutions with their massive open online course on artificial intelligence, using videos, blogs, wikis, and online tests, photography educators Jonathan Worth, Matt Johnston, and Jonathan Shaw at Coventry University organized online classes for thousands of students in hundreds of cities, using blogs, podcasts, RSSfeeds, a Flickr group, an iPhone app, a Soundcloud group, and a Vimeo group, and hashtags (#phonar and #picbod). Phonar, the course on photography and narrative, and Picbod, the course on photography and the body, were open to third year Coventry


Learning from Failure: Feminist Dialogues on Technology, Part II

Thursday, August 09, 2012 Comment Girl sitting on outside bench in the evening working on laptop

Professor Anne Balsamo has been collaborating with Professor Alexandra Juhasz and a group of more than one hundred feminist scholars to pilot a new kind of online course devoted to feminist dialogues on technology. Balsamo recently left the University of Southern California to occupy a new post as dean of the School of Media Studies at the New School for Public Engagement in New York.  In this position she will continue to work on one of her other ambitious new projects that involves collaboration with an extended network of researchers and designers to create a digital


Bodies in Classrooms: Feminist Dialogues on Technology, Part I

Monday, August 06, 2012 Comment 2 girls intensely focussing on their hand held games

Next year, over a hundred feminist scholars are slated to teach a new kind of online course—the first “MDCLE” or “massively distributed collaborative learning experiment”—tentatively titled “Feminist Dialogues on Technology.”  Drawing on the model of the “MOOC,” or the massively open online course, like the artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction courses at Stanford that have enrolled tens of thousands of students, this venture is also aimed at a very large audience, although taught and thought through a feminist architecture and pedagogy.  With some start-up funding from the Mellon Foundation, Pitzer professor Alexandra Juhasz and University of


Professor Alec Couros: “The Connected Teacher”

Thursday, July 26, 2012 Comment 4 students in computer class working at the same computer

One powerful benefit of networked learning is that when you find something interesting, it often leads to someone interesting – and that someone often leads to entire networks of interesting people. Or, as Dr. Alec Couros puts it, “the tools come and go, but the relationships endure.” I found Professor Couros the way many people did, by coming across the intriguing diagram of “The Networked Teacher” that many educators now use in their slide presentations. By the time I discovered Dr. Couros, now professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina, I had


Web Literacies: What is the ‘Web’ Anyway?

Monday, July 23, 2012 Comment graphic design depicting network connections

I’ve recently started in a new role for the Mozilla Foundation. At least half of my job there is to come up with a framework, a White Paper, around the concept of ‘web literacies’. It’s got me thinking about both parts of that term — both the ‘web’ and the ‘literacies’. In this post I want to consider the first of these: what we mean by the ‘web’? I’ve already considered the latter in quite some detail in my doctoral thesis (available at neverendingthesis.com). Defining the Web Sometimes it’s important to step back from the things


On the Importance of Webmaking

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Comment kids and adults working on laptops at table

I’ve come to realize over the last couple of years just how important the Open Web is for online innovation. It’s a standards-based platform that allows anyone to use relatively low-cost technologies to connect things and people together in new ways. It’s radical in its egalitarian, open, and democratic approach. But it’s under threat. When Steve Jobs announced the original iPhone only five years ago in 2007 he emphasized the importance of getting Web browsing right on a mobile device. Hot on the heels of the announcement, of course, came the wildly successful App Store. A


DIY Coding

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 Comment shadow of presenter on stage

Like many in the digital media and learning community, I am a fan of the free and open source computer programming language, Processing, which can be easily downloaded at Processing.org.  Processing is an incredibly accessible computer language for beginners, but it is also a stepping stone to widely used professional programming languages like Java and C++ that may contribute to success in corporate and academic arenas for those who are code literate. There is a large do-it-yourself community made up of individuals who use Processing for everything from robotics to art projects to sequencing neighborhood Christmas


Digital Futures: Internet Freedom and Millennials

Friday, February 03, 2012 Comment padlock on green door

Last year was a turbulent year for freedom of speech and online expression in India. Early in 2011 we saw the introduction of an Intermediaries Liability amendment to the existing Information Technologies Law in the country, which allowed intermediaries like internet service providers (ISPs), digital content platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) and other actors managing online content, to remove material that is deemed objectionable without routing it through a court of law. Effectively, this was an attempt at crowdsourcing censorship, where at the whim or fancy of any person who flags information as offensive, it could


Democratizing Learning Innovation

Thursday, October 06, 2011 Comment group of adult educators sitting working at conference table

Mark Surman is in the business of connecting things: people, ideas, everything. A community technology activist for almost 20 years, Mark is currently the executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, with a focus on inventing new ways to promote openness and opportunity on the Internet. He is on the conference committee for the 2012 Digital Media & Learning Conference in San Francisco, Calif., Mar. 1-3: “Beyond Educational Technology: Learning Innovations in a Connected World.” Surman is leading an important conference sub-theme, “Democratizing Learning Innovation.” Before joining Mozilla, he was an open philanthropy fellow at the Shuttleworth