A new meta-resource educational technology site has appeared on the scenes– The Academic Commons:
offers a forum for investigating and defining the role that technology can play in liberal arts education. Sponsored by the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College, Academic Commons publishes essays, reviews, interviews, showcases of innovative uses of technology, and vignettes that critically examine technology uses in the classroom. Academic Commons aims to share knowledge, develop collaborations, and evaluate and disseminate digital tools and innovative practices for teaching and learning with technology. We want this site to advance opportunities for collaborative design, open development, and rigorous peer critique of such resources.
It may even make coffee, be a desert, and a floor-wax (sarcasm aimed to cheer up a sad Canadian).
You can suggest I have a stake in this as I am hovering on the list of Board Members, at the gracious invitation of Michael Roy from Wesleyan College. What does a Board member do? I am still waiting to find out, but it is an impressive group listed. I’ll see if my lack of Ivy or grace or proper spelling or extensive literature references keeps me on board.
I’ve had bad conference luck trying to meet up with Michael, though he is slated to visit Phoenix in December, and given our off and on email exchanges on learning objects and such, I think he deserves a trip to Los Dos Molinos. I have a ton of respect for his work at the Wesleyan Learning Objects Program, a gorgeous site with high end objects.
Okay, enough babbling, what is at the Commons? There are many pieces, and it has a blog-like feel to content, meaning there is a database and time stamped content arranged in multiple categories. It is well stocked with dynamic sidebar contents and good amounts of RSS feeds top level and down through the sections. And Creative Commons is everywhere.
The main part of the COmmons is a quarterly e-publication of the major sections of the site: Essays, INterviews, Hardware/Software Reviews, Project Showcases, and Vignettes…
The August 2004 edition features Technology & the Pseudo-Intimacy of the Classroom: an interview with University of Illinois-Chicago’s Jerry Graff, Copyright 101 by Richard Lanham, The Dangers of Just-In-Time Education by Michelle Glaros, to name a few.
The Center for teaching and Learning tab leads to a pointers to relevant topical areas external to the commons, while the Developer’s Tool Kit has a number of places to exchange project ideas, code, technology reviews, etc. The Library offers search and browse access to a range of resources, and has places for people to toss new ones into the mix. And the LoLa Exchange (go ahead and try and read that without hearing the Kinds singing ion your head) is a place to find and share learning objects. A few things there, but hey, we need more repositories.
All in all at quick glance, it is a well designed and integrated site. The key for all of these is getting flow of people to and from the COmmons, so we’ll keep an eye (easy to do with RSS) on the action.