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P2P University: A totally awesome idea.

December 18th, 2010

Just discovered via Mozilla’s School of WebCraft announcement.

The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses. Think of it as online book clubs for open educational resources. The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses. Students and tutors get recognition for their work, and we are building pathways to formal credit as well.

P2PU Wants You! We’re looking for courses for our first round of 2011. If you want to propose a course on just about anything, please sign-up and create your course outline here.

York should start to host a community-run Moodle install for workgroups and volunteer content. I think it could also be great for Staff2Staff or Faculty2Faculty as well. The library could get involved through archiving SCORM course content openly, in the same way that we archive research papers and so forth. And it could serve as a valuable reference for future courses, official or not.

As for me personally: I’m thinking I should volunteer to lead a course next semester on something–see the poll below on the right–and perhaps partner with faculty at York to hold it here simultaneously, since I could use the same materials for both at potentially the same time. If anyone wants to join me in this, that’s cool too! ;-)

Just noticed BlogPolls cut off my poll questions. Here are my course topic ideas in full:

  • Breath-taking HTML5 apps with animation, push notifications, local storage, vector graphics and more…
  • One Cloudy Day A Week: App Engine, GWT, AWS, JavaScript server-side, Hadoop/MapReduce, NoSQL and more…
  • Mac Programming 101: Terminal, AppleScript, Automator, Xcode, Quartz Composer, Objective-C, Web Frames, Xgrid, and more…
  • Cross-Platform App Design: Before writing code for one or a dozen platforms, plan your project iteratively from an idea to functional prototypes.

Please vote!

Who knows, this could turn into some kind of book afterward.

Here’s more info about the School of WebCraft initiative:

The School of Webcraft is a joint venture between Mozilla and Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) to create a grassroots learning community focused on web development using open standards. In September, the School of Webcraft ran its pilot round of courses which included topics such as Beginning Python Webservices, Introduction to Drupal, Scripting 101 and UX: Designing for Education. Participants in September’s courses came from Brazil, Japan, the USA, UK, Germany, Spain and India and included content in both English and Portuguese.

From January 2011 we move into our second round of courses with a plan to double our course numbers and to provide more courses in languages other than English. We’re also implementing a pilot round of assessment challenges in conjunction with badges that recognise your awesome web development skills.

Building on the delivery model developed by P2PU, course organizers volunteer to take existing open learning materials or develop their own content and lead a group of peers through 6 to 10 weeks of online classes. Courses focus on project based learning in a peer environment and are proposed, created and led by members of the web development community – so content will always be up to date with the latest technologies and industry needs.

Up until December 22nd we’ll be accepting proposals for the major round of courses to be run from late January 2011. We’re looking for volunteers to guide groups of peers through a 6-10 week learning experience around web development topics relating to the open web and web standards.

To run a course in School of Webcraft you don’t need expert knowledge, you just need interest in a topic, a passion for learning and the motivation to lead a group of peers through six weeks of shared learning. If you suggest an idea to us, P2PU and the School of Webcraft will provide you with the help you need to facilitate a learning group and assistance in finding the web development learning resources needed for your course.

School of Webcraft course organizers learn about web development, but they also gain team leadership and online facilitation experience which are valuable professional skills. You’ll earn the respect of your peers online and offline, and meet amazing people from around the world. Course organizers at School of Webcraft will also receive awesome t-shirts as a recognition of their contribution to the community.

2 Comments, Yay! »
  • Philipp Schmidt

    Hey Lou: Thanks for the nice post about P2PU and School of Webcraft. We’d love to help you experiment with courses that mix registered students at York U and peer learners at P2PU. We tried something like this in a Digital Journalism course with Joi Ito last year and everyone involved really liked it.

    My vote goes to the course idea.

    Best – Philipp (p AT

  • Stian Håklev

    Hi Lou,

    great ideas. I’m at University of Toronto, and am thinking about trying to run a course at UofT and P2PU as well in the future. Would love to meet up in Toronto and exchange ideas etc.