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Join a group of peers to collaboratively build a course on "peer production and commons theory". We believe that it is necessary to collect, sort, organize and create contents to teach and learn these topics in a better way. Help us to make it possible: a course on p2p topics created in a p2p way


Peer to Peer is mostly known to technologically-oriented people as P2P, the decentralized (or rather: distributed) way of bringing computers together for different kinds of cooperative endeavour, such as filesharing, in particular for the distribution of music or audiovisual material. But this is only a small example of what P2P is: it's in fact a template of human relationships, a "relational dynamic" which is springing up throughout the social fields, more precisely where one finds 'distributed networks'. This dynamic is the one that made possible to develop Internet in the first beginning and enabled the Free Software existence. "Commons-based peer production", as Benkler puts it, is the fundamental base of the emerging forms of value creation and studying them is essential to understand our modern societies.

Peer production expresses itself in social processes such as peer production, peer governance, and universal common property regimes. It describe and explain the emergence of this dynamic as it occurs, and to place it in an evolutionary framework of succeeding modes of civilization.

There is a growing interest in the theoretical and practical development of P2P and commons property studies and projects. In the middle of the debate of the future of capitalism, peer production and commons resource management is an important emerging discourse. Last year, Nobel Prize in economics went to Elinor Ostrom "for her analysis of economic governance," saying her work had demonstrated how common property could be successfully managed by groups using it and putting common study in the academy highlights.

A joint group of organisations are working together in the the development of an international course on those topics. The aim of this course would be to provide understanding about this phenomena to the students, and introduce them in the study it. It syllabus contains a general approach to the theory and also introduces the most relevant case studies.

We find the development of an open course on peer production and commons theory a very fascinating challenge. We believe that achieving a solid (but always free/open) course, unprecedented, with the support and partnership of worldwide references in peer based production and commons theory, would become an essential reference in those fields and allow more educational institutions and more people to study and teach on these topics.

What do you want to achieve? (goal)

Our goals are to:

  • Discuss about peer production and commons theory
  • Define the best way to teach and learn these topics
  • List key authors of the field
  • Create content list, syllabus and general description of an online course on "peer production and commons theory".
  • Invite more people and organisations to work in this project.

Who should come? How many? For how long? (audience)


  • Anyone interested in peer base production ideas, the commons theory, sustainable production, distributed networks.
  • People related with the education field, distance education and p2p learning.
  • Anyone interested in interactive teaching, especially through the web.

How long:

  • The workshop will last 2 hs. The group would be max 30 peers.

What will they do when they get there? (activities)

  • Participants personal introduction
  • Trigger questions to initiate the debate among the proposed topics
  • Table of contents building starting from a brainstorm session
  • Collaborative creation (in real time, using something like etherpad) of the syllabus and bibliographic references/existing content
  • Determine which topics lacks of educational materials
  • List possible p2p learning pedagogical methodologies and other existing experiences
  • The group suggest potential new partners for the project
  • Conclusion. Coordinator collects e-mails of the participants and the group defines the best way to continue future collaboration.

What will you / they have at the end? (outputs)

Through discussion and sprint work, we will have created:

  • Course's:
    • table of content
    • syllabus
    • bibliographic references
    • key authors
    • list of materials that need to be created
    • possible methodological and pedagogical approaches
  • Project's:
    • group of new contributors
    • potential new partners

Additional background and context

We imagine a very inclusive project, with participation of formal and informal actors interested in the peer production ideas. As a major milestone in the course development we would like to use the Drumbeat space to present the idea to a wider audience and also engage their participation. Setting an open workshop to engage participation, get feedback on the proposed syllabus, meet new potential partners and authors, expand bibliographical references, improve pedagogical and technical aspects of the course.

We would like to explore all these possibilities in a workshop that would combine the open dynamics of Open Space Technology, work sprint's fast and hard working and merge the collaborative energies trough the web.

This Initial Workshop would take place during Mozilla Drumbeat Festival.

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