Drumbeat/p2pu/Mashing Up The Open Web

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This is a subset of a larger Drumbeat project using the P2PU approach to shift the terrain of open web education.

Course Description

An introduction to open web standards. HTML, CSS, JavaScript (and more?) through project based learning. This course is not for complete novices, some web experience is required. Participants will work on a self defined project that leverages open datasets and web services to create a mashup that is useful to their target audience. The participants will engage in weekly real time meetings (irc, voice, or other) as well as ongoing asynchronous communication. The role of the organizer will be to guide participants in selecting a feasible project and assisting the 'just in time' learning experience associated with technology discovery.


  • Basic Knowledge of HTML/CSS and static web page creation.
  • Basic Knowledge of JavaScript

Good to Know (AKA What you might learn)

  • jQuery or similar JS Framework
  • Server side scripting (PHP, Ruby, Python, etc)
  • Open Datasets that would be useful for your project
  • Data Visualization projects (SIMILE, Open Street Maps, etc)

Mashup Ideas

To apply to the course you must submit an idea for your mashup, this doesn't have to be what is actually implemented but should demonstrate your dedication to the project and have some relevance to what you will actually build.

What is open?

Some short readings

Followed by an online video discussion of the subject.

Assignment: A written reflection on the topic and discussion (not to exceed 500 words).

Practical Technologies for Creating Mashups

Assignment: Work on your project. Come up with a plan for implementing your project: technology + datasets. Draw sketches of basic interfaces. (need a more concrete deliverable here)

Why is open important to building a better web?

More short readings and possibly a TED talk or similar

Followed by another online video discussion.

Assignment: Creative writing assignment "Imagine a closed web" (not to exceed 500 words).

Leveraging open data

An overview of some available open datasets, and techniques for discovering new datasets. Coverage of REST, JSON, XML-RPC, SOAP, XML and any other required technologies based on the datasets used by the participants.

  • Open Street Maps
  • Wikipedia API
  • dbPedia
  • MusicBrainz
  • Numbrary
  • Freebase
  • FusionTables?
  • programmable web
  • wordnik

Screencast demonstration of sample project. Video discussion, Q&A.

Assignment: Work on your project. Ask for help as necessary. Collect data from the datasets you're interested in and publish the data, even if you aren't doing anything interesting with it yet.

How can I be open?

A short review of how to be open in building your mashup including

  • Release Early, Release Often
  • Transparency
  • Use Open Standards Where Possible
  • Publishing Source Code
  • Accepting Contributions

This will be an online video discussion.

Assignment: Contribute to another participant's project in some way and get a contribution from at least one person. Reflect on the interaction (not to exceed 500 words).


Short presentations of each project to the group over video conference.

Assignment: Finish your project. You should be collecting the data already, now do something interesting with it and display it. Write a short article explaining your motivation for creating this mashup, challenges you faced, how you overcame them, and your reflections on the project.

Additional Resources