From UBC Wiki
collage from www.yvesdore.com

Small Pieces... Thoughtfully Joined?

The process is like a transparent layering of key ideas that are taken up again and contextualized anew.

from: The Technology of Collage

"...developing an open source publishing platform ...to gradually integrate into the school’s general education curriculum the deep, critical examination of how digital tools are changing the way we think and live."

from: Luke Waltzer

The Life and Times of a Resource


Here's how we are using one overview of social web tools for elearning.

  • The source wiki page also has an "Embed Page" link which allows it to be syndicated inside WebCT Vista (or most other HTML environments) via cut-and-paste code.
  • It can also be downloaded as a cleaned-up PDF, either standalone or as part of a larger collection.

Process: the problem, the pieces and the tradeoffs

  • our motivation: finding better ways to use our time and resources... More reuse, reducing duplication
  • making the most of the tools we have - collaging bits together
  • tensions - serendipity, openness, structure, creativity


Component One: Wiki

  • CWL authentication
  • private, standalone sites available HLWiki
  • Namespaces for courses (example), documentation, etc... Along with categories. Feedback?
  • "transclusion" - or chunking page content into tiny wiki bits (don't call them granular learning objects, please)
  • Extensions include WikiBooks

Component Two: Blogs

Bloggy blogs


Notable blogs featured on home page of the site

  • The Library has long been doing great things on our platform...


We're going full-blown CMS baby!

You can setup your UBC site in minutes. We support UBC's common look and feel as a theme. Partnering with Public Affairs and IT on delivering a UBC-wide CMS.

Some of our sites:

http://leap.ubc.ca, http://celc.sites.olt.ubc.ca/, http://chcm.ubc.ca/, http://earlylearning.ubc.ca/, http://act.elearning.ubc.ca/, http://strategicplan.ubc.ca/, http://aboriginal.sites.olt.ubc.ca/ (private, in development), http://thischangedmypractice.com/

WP setup

Mostly developed by wider WordPress community, but at least some bits of custom code and plugins we've developed.

  • CWL authentication

And a fairly wide array of plugins (our admin is very good at monitoring their effects on system performance)

Component Three: The Economics of Openness


"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

If open education is seen as a high profile form of charity or foreign aid, then it is indeed a luxury item unlikely to survive the inevitable budget cuts. But...

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

Cheap platforms, built-in innovation

  • And how about MobileCourseDiscussions - open sharing in open formats reduces costs in environments we have not yet imagined...

Enterprising Edupunk


Learning lessons

  • 11111hx2.jpg

We talked about writing a punk-themed zine along the lines of on how to run an ed tech operation for no money. (Later we did do something like that with a different theme, the survivalist-tinged Radical Reuse).

Let's count the Edupunk vs Enterprise dilemmas that Brian and his OLT buddies argue about...

  • Setup, maintenance - easy to do, not so easy to do well... economies of scale need to be thought through.
  • Integration (we love UBC's central IT, we love VM, we love CWL)
  • What do the pieces do? (MW as resource management vs WP as presentation tool...)
  • Rigour and structure vs being light-weight and user-friendly
  • Stats and reporting: who is using it and for what? Critical for making the case for the importance of service, determining trends. Who is not using it and why not? Critical for identifying barriers and improving service/support.
  • Don't be afraid to say no. Though an EduPunk hero might disagree... Plugins can be a nightmare when upgrade time comes along. Custom hacks and themes also tend to age poorly during upgrades and migrations. Making someone happy now risks making them very unhappy sometime in the future.
  • More here: Novak's post

The future

Lots more open source, open standards, open content, open data and hopefully open minds.

  • Resource management is a growing concern: a few are experimenting with the approach we've described: UBC Library, Arts Advising.
  • Integration with BuddyPress to offer more personalization, interaction on multiple levels (friends, forums, blogs, groups) example at http://commons.gc.cuny.edu/

Many, many thanks to my wonderful collaborators and friends Cindy Underhill, Novak Rogic, not to mention the rest of our posse for contributing to this session.


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