Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sand Patterns: World University and School's Outline of Proposed Work, Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society Academic Fellowship

World University and School's Outline of Proposed Work

I propose World University and School, as a Harvard Berkman Center Academic Fellowship 2011-2012 project, to not only engage the Berkman Center's mission “to build out into cyberspace” to learn about it, but to facilitate, educationally, an open, teaching and learning wiki, for people-to-people, and highest quality, educational content, and conversations. Through an open, free-to-students, “wiki” (editable web pages) in all languages, nation-states and subjects, and at all levels, with a particular focus on great universities' open educational resources, World University and School would like to generate, particularly, a new, complementary conversation in the university, broadly conceived, engaging generative information technologies, and, especially, through collaborating with a remarkable group of Berkman Fellows and Harvard faculty. World University and School (http://worlduniversity.wikia.com), which I've been developing for about 3 years, also would like to complement the Berkman Center's focus on becoming a meta-player in University and Cyberspace, particularly building on the Berkman Center's conference in Torino (especially Nesson, Gasser, Shieber, Palfrey and Fisher talks) this June 28th-30th, 2010. In the upcoming, academic fellowship year, I'd like specifically to build a community of Universitians, develop robust wiki, and other related, information technologies, as well as further approaches to resource building, in the following areas.

In outline, World University and School (WUaS) is unique among open, online university projects (most of which WUaS lists on its 'Courses' page) because, as a whole, WUaS is mission-focused, it is wiki, it is planning to be in all 3000-8000 languages, it is planning to offer online B.A., Law, M.D., and Ph.D. degrees with matriculating classes beginning in 2014. WUaS has also begun the outline of a number of schools, for example, both Law and Medical School pages, as well as a Music School, etc. And, lastly, while course-centric (you can teach any course you would like to, to your web camera or in a virtual world and link it to WUaS), WUaS also focuses aggregating content and facilitating open teaching and learning on the following main pages: courses, subjects, languages, nation states, research, library resources, museums, educational software, you at world university, hardware resource possibilities, and a foundation. WUaS also focuses on collaborating with great universities' open, free, online content, as academic standards, for future credit and degree courses. World University and School is like Wikipedia with MIT Open Courseware, Berkeley Webcast, Harvard's open courses, Yale OYC, Stanford's Engineering Everywhere (SEE), and other great open course ware, where people-to-people teaching and learning take place especially in video, and in interactive worlds like Second Life and Open Simulator. In this Berkman Center academic fellowship, I would like to work closely, in particular, with other Berkman Fellows, Harvard and MIT faculty, and others, to come into conversation about WUaS in relation to their projects, to build both a rich community, as well as robust and generative information technologies, to generate new academic conversations, and to facilitate in making learning and teaching very enjoyable.

In the next year, in conversation with other Berkman Fellows, WUaS would like to develop approaches to each of the following main areas.

- On the Courses' page, WUaS would like to find, aggregate and curate further great, open, course ware, as well as network WUaS with great universities vis-a-vis their open, online, educational resources, to become a kind of meta-directory. WUaS envisions cameras in classrooms of great universities for ongoing, interactive course-material.

- On the open Subjects' page, WUaS would like to develop information technologies that combine, for example, new MIT OCW, and Berkeley Webcast, courses with already existing subjects and other great open course ware as it emerges. This subjects' page will become the basis for academic course work beginning in 2014, while remaining open to anyone to add a new subject.

- On the Languages' (all 3,000-8,000) page, where each language becomes its own school, with some degree-granting in some languages, WUaS would like 1) to plan for and develop a Universal Translator Project, building on Google Translate, for all 3,000-8,000 languages. In developing schools in each language, the English WUaS is the basis for a new university and school in any new language (Wikipedia by way of comparison has around 272 languages), and translation of the English WUaS's section headings on all main pages (e.g. Courses, Subjects, etc.) is the first step for starting each of these schools. WUaS would like 2) to find translators for this, and build community in other languages, perhaps by networking with Wikipedians to start. WUaS would like 3) not only to facilitate free, open, language learning (people-to-people, too), by linking language learning opportunities, and make easy such possibilities for people speaking other languages to do this in virtual worlds. In generating all these language resources, WUaS would like to 4) generate an archive of teaching and learning resources in all languages, even over millennia.

- On the Library Resources' page, WUaS would like to link, aggregate, curate, and perhaps network, great libraries with significant, open, online resources.

- On the Nation-States' page, WUaS would like to, working with OLPC, facilitate teaching and learning materials that are legal in any given country, and that meet accreditation standards there, as well as facilitate open teaching and learning. WUaS would also like to explore starting law schools in possibly 50-100 countries in virtual worlds like Second Life, perhaps working with the Harvard Law School for this.

- On the Research page, WUaS, as wiki, would like to facilitate open, scientific, and other research projects, engaging the strengths of the internet at a budding, research university. WUaS would like to facilitate finding subjects, populations and samples for online research, studies and experiments. WUaS will also come into conversation with the WUaS Medical School, particularly neuroscience, brain and language research, to develop its research agenda. By generating an all-language database to facilitate translation technologies in all possible language combinations (see 'Languages' above), WUaS's 'Research' will become a rich resource for brain and language research on end-users, potentially using, for example, neural 'hats' in the home for research.

- On the You at World University page, WUaS would like to find a way to reach and connect with great students in the developing world and everywhere who want to learn, and let them know about imminent degree-possibilities. You at World University will also facilitate ways of students staying united and learning together. And You at World University will be the basis for a 'Secure Registrar' (httpS://...) for grading. WUaS aspires to be a great university, producing neuroscientists, and will engage grading in degree programs for assessment purposes.

- On the free Educational Software page, WUaS will continue to aggregate free, great software, as people add it and WUaS finds it. As an online university with a computer science focus, WUaS would also like to build and generate robust and innovative software.

- On the Museums' page, WUaS would like to link all museums with significant online content, in all languages, and perhaps generate ways to visit such collections in virtual worlds, for educational purposes.

- On the Hardware Resource Possibilities' page, WUaS will continue to wiki-add lowest cost, highest quality hardware which it learns of, informed by OLPC and innovative approaches to low cost, computer, hardware generation.

- On the World University and School Foundation's page, WUaS will facilitate WUaS as an organization and a focus for the generation of financial resources, for the ongoing development of this university and school.

There are between 1.3 and 2 billion people in the world with computers, and possibly another 3 billion people with mobile telephones and internet devices (Palfrey 2010). WUaS would like to reach all, in around 7,000 languages and in about 220 countries and territories, via this wiki. In addition to these wiki learning opportunities, World University and School's teaching and learning wikis are a rationale for further wiring the whole world - part of WUaS's mission - thus helping to facilitate open, worldwide teaching and learning.

For all this, WUaS seeks to build a special team for collaboration and planning. Not only does WUaS seek to plan to collaborate with great universities around the world, such as Harvard, for open, online content, degree-granting, and even faculty buy-in, but WUaS would also like to generate networks between great universities around the world. World University and School's mission, with its web focus, to engage great universities will generate new networks, academic conversations and information technologies, as well as, importantly, academic and knowledge-production jobs. And this Berkman Fellowship is a remarkable opportunity for such collaboration.

This far-reaching vision for an open World University enables people around the world to teach, shape the WUaS wiki, and learn, potentially in all languages and countries. In seeking, potentially, a long term, collaborative relationship with the Berkman Center and Harvard, via this academic fellowship, WUaS would like to collaborate with networks of excellence vis-a-vis the internet to open learning to help many people, and thus help instantiate, in information technologies, the Berkman Center's vision of the University and Cyberspace.

(See also the related: http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/11/tidepool-personal-statement-vis-vis.html - November 15, 2010)

(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/11/sand-patterns-world-university-and.html - November 16, 2010)

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