Monday, 3 June 2013

Looking for some specialist "unknown" open collaborators. Know any?

Earlier in the year I was one of a bunch of people invited to MIT's Media Lab to hack post-MOOC open ideas and models. It was good, I've never sat in a room full of people like that. It was also terrifying - I've never sat in a room full of people like that, but the most valuable thing I came away with was a list of questions. Not questions from me but questions that others people asked. These were questions I didn't even know could be questions - they were "unknown unknowns" and together they mapped out the enormous sink-holes in my knowledge.

I came away knowing that API's are of crucial importance to my understanding of what Open and Connected are and need to be, but not exactly what an API is. And I needed to know why @kinlane calls himself an API evangelist. I needed to know how github works and if opensource could translate out of coding and into teaching and learning models. Would the "forking" ethos work when designing a course or platform - and beyond, what about journalism? Could one scrape and visualise a bunch of event-specific information then curate, edit, collaborate, corroborate - even fork the story/stories? Would people buy into that level of mediation?

"oh, you mean like Tony Hirst and Martin Hawksey?"

"I've heard of them, do they do non-linear multi-perspective storytelling?"


And why is Jim Groom so uptight about people owning their own domain? More importantly why did that bring everyone in the room together? And why did everyone nod when Audrey Watters segued into the funding-life of MOOCs and their relation to how open they start out versus how open then end up - leading (obviously) to the consequences for participants who's data is inevitably atomised across a bunch of online ("free") start-ups (not limited to educational) whose nebulous terms of service mean owning your own domain has to be a digital keystone.

So here's the thing: I don't fully understand that last paragraph even though they were my words and after three months of trying I still can't scrape data, fork from a repo in Github, explain APIs or speak MOOC legalese. I do however know where those unknowns need to fit and I do have a big picture in mind but I can't build them in without the help of other experts, who I trust will point out more as yet unknown unknowns.

I want to write a photography (applied visual literacy/storytelling) undergraduate degree that builds on the blended approaches of phonar and picbod. It needs to be open over the three years (not just two ten-week classes), and enable different approaches to Open Teaching and Learning throughout. The framework also needs to be modular - like lego, so it can be retro-fitted to high school/college and lower, adapted/adopted/remixed/improved on - in short evolve Openly.

I already have a bunch of discipline specific content and trans-discipline approaches to build on openly (I use X-mind to map out my ideas and google docs to write)- all of which will be licensed CC-BY and my hope is that the attribution string won't be limited to just me - I guess I'm asking for help from some "unknown" co-authors/collaborators - know any?

Projects mentioned and linked to here:
Domain of One's Own
Reclaim Open
Reclaim Your Domain
Photography and Narrative (phonar)
Picturing the Body (picbod)


  1. Hi Jonathan,

    I would be interested to find out more and help, if I can.

    Chrissi (Nerantzi)
    Twitter: @chrissinerantzi, @pgcap, @openfdol

  2. Great news Chrissi, there are a few of us now so I'll draw us together by email and we'll see where we're at. Thanks - Jonathan

  3. Hey Jonathan, I would be really interested to help if I can. Best, John

  4. Hey John, we have a great list coming together and you're on it. Be in touch shortly. j