Chris' public learning, Wk 2

Monday 10th March

There is movement in some students which is always reassuring in a course in which you don't have fixed hours. It's also interesting that we still continue with a fixed time allocation and schedule even though that is no longer necessary given the facilities of the Net and the growing volume of excellent material that is available1.

To me, an other focus I have been mulling, is that courses are really instances of curation, thought about broadly. So to pick an analogy, if i were a tour guide showing you around the Gold Coast and left out the beaches, of some of the theme parks, you'd be wondering why. I hope, as the course unfolds and we can collectively layer bits and pieces over the bare bones of the course that the work of curation is something the students will come to feel about their own projects.

The online world is now an intriguing challenge to all teachers. The title of David Weinberger's recent book2 probably sums it up neatly: Too big to know: rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room!

Part of the problem of how to think about/deal with the fire hose of "stuff" is how one thinks about the problem, i.e. is it how to filter things, how to curate things, how to use software to help you locate good stuff? Today, I stumbled upon a lovely post by Maria Popova3 that offers an interesting way to think about the problem. She draws on Johnson's notion of information as being like food, i.e. if you think about it in dietary terms you have a somewhat different approach to things.