[TOS] (my) interest in TOS/POSSE at The Open University, UK

Joe Corneli holtzermann17 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 29 20:57:54 UTC 2010

Hi all:

As I mentioned in the recent meeting on IRC, I think
The Open University *could* be a good place to
run a POSSE.  I've gotten in touch with one pal
in computing (message copied below) to try to
assess the interest level of the faculty.

I'm at the Knowledge Media Institute here as a
Research Student.  Obviously I'll need some serious
institutional support to get anything going.  Those
who have contacts at OU should email me w/ their
info :).

To those who wonder if this has something to do with
my research: the answer is yes; for example, here's
the abstract of my latest draft prospectus:

«This is a project about the social and technological
contexts that support learning.  It deals with questions
about how to make technologies that adapt to users and
that users can adapt to their needs.  The work itself is a
sort of dynamic anthropology, and is concerned with the
range of issues that apply in real learning communities.
The project's development goals include a new system for
web-scale collaboration, and specialized tools to support
computer-mediated interactions with mathematics.
Mathematics and other special cases will be used to
approach the main question: *how do learning
communities work in practice?*»

Here are some slides for a well-received talk I gave here
recently on Crowdsourcing Education:

http://metameso.org/~joe/docs/crowdsourcing-continued.pdf --

actually this version contains one extra slide -- when
I was writing that slide today, it struck me that rather than
trying to "crowdsource" PlanetMath (I'm on the board of
directors) on a massively-multiple level, it would be really
effective to run a semester-long class for 3rd or 4th year
undergrad students in math or computing, and just give
them the project "do something cool with PlanetMath".

If there's anyone interested in working with me on *that*,
I have lots of time and ideas :)

Eventually perhaps entire undergrad degrees in math
could be taught that way :)

That's the scoop.


PS.  I've hooked my 'group blog'
into the TOS Planet.  I wasn't able to refine it
to just use a tag b/c Posterous doesn't have feeds
for tags yet.  Most of the content should be relatively
closely related anyway.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: teaching open source
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 20:19:03 +0100
From: Joe Corneli <j.a.corneli at open.ac.uk>

Hey, this is something I'm becoming interested in, and I'm thinking it might
be a good fit at OU.

"There are more professors than ever hoping to teach the open source
development process to their students -- but working in the open
source world can be a daunting proposition. Professors themselves have
only a limited amount of time to learn about open source, and are
often unsure about how, exactly, to get started. POSSE (Professors'
Open Source Summer Experience) is designed for these professors."

Do *you* think it's something that OU Computing folks would be interested in?
(Interested enough that it might even be worth organizing a big event around
this topic here or in London?)

More info is here:


My own interest is rocketing because I'm thinking that the best way to get work
done on PlanetMath.org (where I'm on the board of directors) would be to
run a class for advanced undergrads in maths and computing where the
class project is just "do something cool with PlanetMath".


PS.  This is what a professor has to submit to attend a POSSE; it just
happens to be the most informative looking snippet of text from the
above-mentioned web page.

What do you teach? (Optional: link to your faculty homepage.)
Why do you want to come? (3-8 sentences)
What do you want to get out of POSSE? (3-8 sentences)
What do you think you will contribute to the classroom? (3-8 sentences)
What prior experience (if any) do you have with open source? (3-8
sentences, or an URL)
Which POSSE session(s) you can attend, in order of preference, with
any schedule restrictions
Any other notes?

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