This talk was delivered by Brian Lamb as the closing keynote at the JISC Open Educational Resources International Symposium - Friday 23 July 2010, London, England.
Audio here: <flashmp3>http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/avfiles/events/2010/07/ukoer10/14brianlamb.mp3</flashmp3>
And I would be presumptuous and foolish to come here and tell you what we all should do as if I have any better idea than anybody else.
That would reflect 'expert thinking', and I can't help but worry that blind faith in our experts is a big part of why times are bad.
Most of us suspect that the "experts" don't really know what's going on and that as a species we've released forces that are neither managed nor manageable. This is the ingenuity gap, the critical gap between our need for ideas to solve complex problems and our actual supply of those ideas.
...we're all caught dangerously between a soaring requirement for ingenuity and an increasingly uncertain supply. As the gap widens, the result can be political disintegration and violent upheaval.
Given that, it seems to me there is a moral imperative to openness. It may be naive, but it seems like dangerous and blinkered thinking to consider openness as an add-on, or as a form of charity. We need to share our best ideas for our own selfish reasons.
Sees breakdown as inevitable. However, sees potential for web as means to manage breakdown, and Wikipedia and open source as models for the type of problem-solving we need for survival.
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.
UBC case study: Adventures in Wikipedia
Why does this work appeal so much?
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
"RSSify' everything" - Jon Udell (2007)
Here's how we are using that overview of social web tools for elearning.
"Authoring content in a public forum – ideally under an open content license – means that content becomes available for re-use even as it is being drafted. By opening up comments, feedback can be solicited that allows content to be improved by updating blog posts, if necessary, as well as identifying topics or clarifications that can be addressed in separate backlinking blog posts. By opening up the production process, we make it far more likely that others will contribute to that process, helping shape and influence that content, than expecting others to take openly licensed content as a large chunk and then produced openly licensed derived works as a result (i.e. forks?!)" -- Tony Hirst, Open Course Production
Notable blogs featured on home page of the site
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. WordPress has rapidly become the go-to system for site creation at the university.
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/
Mostly developed by wider WordPress community, but at least some bits of custom code
And a fairly wide array of plugins (our admin is very good at monitoring their effects on system performance)
Plugins developed by CTLT can be found on the OLT Dev WordPress.org plugins page.
Lots more open source, open standards, open content, open data and hopefully open minds.
http://www.cyclevancouver.ubc.ca/ - nice example of open data transformed into a service to the community by a university
"So clearly structured—meaning edited, meaning user-edited—data is now going to be a big part of the web. There are going to be all kinds of new slots and tabs and links and nodes. And whether the users want this or not, it looks like they're going to get it, ...humans will need to be involved."
..."there's an insane glut of historical data, texts, and so forth, billions of human, historical, textual objects to come online from the millennia before the web. Plus a gaggle of history bloggers trying to contextualize it (the history bloggers are the best bloggers out there—but that's for a different day). Dealing with the glut—and we must deal with this glut, because what is more important than sorting all human endeavor into folders?—will require all manner of editing, writing, commissioning, contextualizing, and searching." -- Paul Ford
...big players like Facebook, Apple, and News Corp are potentially breaking the "small pieces loosely joined" model of the Internet. But perhaps most threatening of all are the natural monopolies created by Web 2.0 network effects.
One of the points I've made repeatedly about Web 2.0 is that it is the design of systems that get better the more people use them, and that over time, such systems have a natural tendency towards monopoly.
And so we've grown used to a world with one dominant search engine, one dominant online encyclopedia, one dominant online retailer, one dominant auction site, one dominant online classified site, and we've been readying ourselves for one dominant social network.
...it's a war against the web as an interoperable platform. Instead, we're facing the prospect of Facebook as the platform, Apple as the platform, Google as the platform, Amazon as the platform, where big companies slug it out until one is king of the hill.
And it's time for developers to take a stand. If you don't want a repeat of the PC era, place your bets now on open systems. Don't wait till it's too late.
-- Tim O'Reilly, The war for the web
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).
It generated an ungodly number of blog posts, and garnered a surprising amount of attention outside the world of education.
It became a theme in the book DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education. The implications of this book are somewhat in dispute, but it has been seized on by voices hostile toward universities, leading Jim Groom to wonder if he's been a useful idiot.
http://makingmakers.posterous.com/ - Maker culture http://www.youtube.com/makerculture#g/u - Interview videos
"a growing community of hobbyists and professionals dedicated to making their own functional devices, whether it be technological gadgets, open source hardware and software, fashion apparel, home decorating, or nearly any other aspect of physical life. The movement stems from a direct reaction to a consumer culture in which most products have become steadily homogenized and local industry has given into big box retailing of dull products made with cheap foreign labor."