Open UBC presentation

From UBC Wiki


There's this photo of Barack Obama taken by the Associated Press last year when he visited Berlin:


What is notable about this photo?

And how is it like:


"In the days before machinery men and women who wanted to amuse themselves were compelled, in their humble way, to be artists. Now they sit still and permit professionals to entertain them by the aid of machinery. It is difficult to believe that general artistic culture can flourish in this atmosphere of passivity." - Aldous Huxley, 1927

Yet can the word "passivity" be used to accurately describe modern web culture?


"...we will routinely prefer a shareable amateur source to a professional source that requires us to keep the content a secret on pain of lawsuit. (Wikipedia's historical advantage over Britannica in one sentence.)" -- Clay Shirky

The case for open education could be summed up as "what works on the web"...

800px-Size of English Wikipedia in August 2007.svg.png

Using volumes 25cm high and 5cm thick (some 400 pages), each page having two columns, each columns having 80 rows, and each row having 50 characters, ≈ 6MB per volume. As English Wikipedia has around 7.5GB of text (August 2007, length of wikitext counted by myself) ≈ 1250 volumes. Note that this is a conservative estimate, as it doesn't include images, tables etc. which take up more surface than the text which describes them.

Wikipedia vs. britannica 2004.png

UBC case study: Adventures in Wikipedia

Why does this work appeal so much?

  • fast, cheap, and out of control...
  • augments traditional literacy with new media literacy
  • results in genuinely useful public knowledge resources (perhaps the essence of open education resources)
  • students will respond to tasks that are authentic

Being able to do stuff with it

Open and remixable formats

"The 'cost' of sharing has collapsed... If I come across something I share it via Google shared items, Twitter, my blog, etc. If I want to share I stick it up on Slideshare, my blog, YouTube. There is a small cost in terms of effort to me to do the sharing, and zero cost in anyone wanting to know what I share. Sharing is just an RSS feed away. - Martin Weller

Open data

  • - "to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government"
  • City of Vancouver embraces open data, standards and source - "Reimer had argued that supporting the motion would allow the city to improve transparency, cut costs and enable people to use the data to create new useful products, including commercial ones. She had also noted that taxpayers paid for the data to be collected in the first place."

A Wave Coming In


    • Why do we have to live with divides between different types of communication — email versus chat, or conversations versus documents?
    • Could a single communications model span all or most of the systems in use on the web today, in one smooth continuum? How simple could we make it?
    • What if we tried designing a communications system that took advantage of computers' current abilities, rather than imitating non-electronic forms?
  • What Intrigues Me About Google Wave - "it makes no hard distinction between content and functionality. Text, images, video, and functional gadgets are all mashed up on the page. Second, permissions are wide open. At least in the current iteration of Wave, there are no fancy graduated access controls. If you are a member of the Wave, then you have full editing privileges. Rather than setting hard controls, Wave provides contextual clues and tools for users to negotiate control through the establishment of social norms."
  • Google Wave and teaching & learning - "it is built around the idea of real time document collaboration as the fundamental organising concept. More than that, it allows the participants to determine who is involved with any particular learning activity; it's not limited to those that have been signed up for a whole course, or even to those who where involved in earlier stages of the collaboration."

The World Coming to UBC


For the Open Education Conference!

The urgency


SOCRATES: But there is something yet to be said of propriety and impropriety of writing.

... The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality. -- Plato's Phaedrus


Costs of the existing model

  • We've seen meltdowns in music, book and newspaper publishing, and major upheaval in TV and filmmaking. "Broadband eats everything."
  • It's been understood for some time there is a crisis in scholarly publishing (some stats).

"When copies are super abundant, they become worthless."

"When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable." -- Kevin Kelly, Better than Free

"Embracing the social means embracing the abundant - and emphasizing instead the way an organization might actually help people on the periphery generate value for themselves." -- Douglas Rushkoff, Real social

"The first problem is that there is no money, especially these days. The second problem is that universities are not terribly popular with the public, who tend to see them as a nest of richly subsidized tenured radicals who are overpaid and underworked. (Unfair, but not entirely.) Taxpayers are only willing to subsidize universities to the extent they believe they contribute to the national wealth." - Globe and Mail Columnist Margaret Wente

What sort of university would the public support?

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