Welcome co-learners!

TO APPLY FOR THIS COURSE: Permission of instructor required. Read through all the links in the menu, especially How This Course Works, email howard@rheingold.com with your explicit written commitment to participate in the ways described in this syllabus.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, 2:15 – 5:05

Location: Lathrop 282

Office Hours: McClatchy 332 Tuesdays 12:15 – 2:00



Hello, and welcome co-learners. I’m excited to meet you and I realize that my first blog post will be your first encounter with me. I’ll introduce myself in the forum, but I want to take this opportunity to affirm that I really mean this “co-learner” business. This course exists in its present form as the result of my dialogue with the students who previously took this class. Every year, it evolves.

These days, the most successful participants in the online world are the ones who know how to roll their own publishing platforms — and the only way to preserve the intellectual commons that gave us the web in the first place is by encouraging everyone who consumes culture online to start creating culture online. And today, everyone has a digital presence — whether one likes it or not. Your name is Googleable. And what people find when they search for you will be determined by others if you don’t shape it yourself. So I’m asking students to join me as co-learners by going through the process I just went through, of securing a domain name and server and creating and configuring a WordPress blog — one of the most powerful and popular publishing platforms available. For a wiki, we’ll use MediaWiki, which is embedded here. The interface is antique and needlessly arcane, but it’s the same kind of wiki that Wikipedia uses, so it still swings some weight. For a forum, we’re among the very first to try a new kind of forum software called Discourse.

About me. I do other things, but teaching, learning, co-learning and facilitating co-learning, is more than an interest, skill, or avocation. It’s a passion. Here is a collection of media I’ve created around learning and social media.

Each one of you are in this course because your application indicated a willingness to do things differently, to take on a large number of unfamiliar tasks, and because the prospect of co-learning attracts you. I can’t promise you that the magic of a learning community will happen, but I can tell you that it has happened in this course more often than not. And I can promise that I will do my best to facilitate the emergence of that magic, which can only come from all of us.

This is me at home:

In a chair I made in my garden

In a chair I made in my garden

This is me looking professorial. I think I’ve learned how to step out of this role much of the time and create some room for you to do the teaching.

Howard at Annenberg center in olden times

Howard at Annenberg center in olden times

A lot of the time, I’m hoping our classroom looks less like the previous picture and more like this one:

Not just listening -- co-learning

Not just listening — co-learning




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