Monday, November 15, 2010

Tidepool: Personal Statement vis-a-vis World University and School

Personal Statement

I'm presently developing World University and School (WUaS), a global, virtual, open, free-to-students, multilingual (future credit- and degree-granting) university and school, which is like Wikipedia with MIT Open Course Ware. WUaS is planned in all languages, all subjects, all nation states, and at all levels, and as an archive. Teach, learn or add a course at this open wiki. With your web camera, post something you'd like to teach to, for example, and link it to WUaS. Interactivity happens in virtual worlds like Second Life. It's for the developing world (especially One Laptop per Child countries) and everyone - It's a fascinating project. How to generate a Universitian community, and scale WUaS, are questions I'm presently focusing on. How, too, to work in concert with great universities' academic conversations, to complement and enhance highest-quality research, teaching and learning, by engaging the openness of the internet, its inclusivity, and the potential to generate new information technologies?

Academically, I study and teach about the internet, anthropologically and sociologically, having taught an “Information Technology and Society” course on Harvard's Berkman Island in Second Life for about 3 years now - – both in group text chat, and in voice, as well as this course and others, in other universities. I've written about information technologies and their social effects in a chapter in the field of Tourism Studies entitled “Digital Spatial Representations: New Communication Processes and 'Middle Eastern' UNESCO World Heritage Sites Online” (2006), which I began while studying at U.C. Berkeley in 2000-2001, and in an unpublished, ethnological paper, entitled “Physical and Online St. Kilda: A Comparison of ‘Senses of Place’” (2004), about visiting online St. Kilda island as a nascent, virtual place, while at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2003-2004, focusing on networks shaped by the internet as well as UNESCO world heritage as a network. I'm presently writing an ethnography of Harbin Hot Springs, with a virtual world aspect. I plan to create, in a virtual world, an interactive, online Harbin as ethnographic field site, comparable to on-the-ground Harbin, for anthropological research. Anthropological questions about ways in which the actual and virtual relate, and how to conceive of the virtual, as well as conduct research about it, are key themes in my academic writing career.

I'm a main aggregator, curator and editor of - - a wiki bibliography for virtual ethnography.

On weekends, I play in the Prince Charles' Pipe Band in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I also blog daily about a variety of these subjects including World University and School - click on the 'global university' label - here: I also write poetry, which you'll find in my blog.

Much of my academic work, unpublished papers, references, courses, media, video lectures, World University and School, and even some poetry and theater, can be found on my 'Papers' page at

My personal homepage says much of the above in a different way:

(See also the related: - November 16, 2010)

( - November 15, 2010)

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