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"Hacking Higher Ed"

We have done a great job making learning open, using the worldwide open web as the platform and mechanism for new forms of peer-to-peer learning. This thread at Drumbeat is designed to take the tools and principles of the open web and open learning and use them to reform traditional higher ed. It's way past due. We are still giving people diplomas based on an educational system designed for the twentieth century and the industrial age. We have to reframe formal education for the future. We know that the process will be slow and uneven but, as said by the ancient sage Hillel: if not now, when. If not us, who? Hey! This Revolution will be Webcast! (That last isn't a paraphrase of Hillel but another elder, Gil Scott- Heron)

We see several themes: Hacking Grading. Hacking Disciplines. Hacking Tenure. Hacking Scholarly Publishing. Hacking Peer Review. What isn't there to hack about Higher Ed?

We see two main activities. We would like to create:

(1) an rfp that we hope to crowdsource at Drumbeat to create a mobile pedogogical app that could be used by high school or college students as well as their teachers. It might be a mobile communication system, a blogging system, an interactive syllabus and discussion tool, and a grading tool.

(2) can't we do something about existing blogging tools? Blackboard is proprietary, expensive, and clunky. Also really unattractive and unappealing, sending the message that learning is like cough medicine, good for you but it tastes awful. Wordpress is cumbersome and limited and often difficult and confusing. (My students like to have some place for private conversations, where they can be bold without fear of retribution from future employers or graduate admissions committees, and then they also are committed to sharing their knowledge in circumstances where it won't do them future harm. Wordpress makes this very difficulty.) What about an open source blogging tool that allows for degrees of privacy among its core users, is multi-media friendly, has a user-friendly and even delightful interface, and is easy too.