Some going-ons at P2PU during the last few months
For those who’ve been here before you know that I have been fortunate to hold a Shuttleworth Fellowship. One of the (very reasonable) expectations to fellows is to share progress on a quarterly basis. I like to use these occasions to step back and reflect but I’m on the conference circuit (went from DML straight to SXSWedu and then SXSWInteractive) and will do the reflecting after I get back to Cape Town. A slightly shorter than usual report below:
Community – The P2PU workshop is a highlight of my year and 2011 was no different. We returned to Berlin and a smaller sized group (more similar to 2009) and it was amazing how much we got done. We also dug into the idea of P2PU as a lab and what that means and I am building on those early discussions in my preparation for the April board meeting where I will present the lab strategy to the board. I can’t stress enough the importance of a vibrant community and I love seeing new things pop up that are driven by community members. More non-English courses were added including two in Dutch and Webmaking challenges in Spanish. Poets are learning to hack. And our science friends are recruiting more citizen scientists.
Team – I continue to spend a fair amount of time trying to find, hire, and keep amazing people. So far i’d say it’s been successful and I completely love working as part of this awesome team – and learning new things from them everyday. One of the areas where we were a little under staffed is development and I am happy that we are about to add a full-time software developer to work with Zuzel. Lack of development resources has been a challenge and this will go a long way to addressing that issue. Another realization I’ve had during the last few months is around the importance of a learning position. Chloe Varelidi has been working with us on badges, assessments, and overall learning design and having someone with her background as part of the team made a huge difference. But she came on board as a consultant and we realized that we really need someone to build out a full-time and long-term position around “lead” and grow it into a core pillars of our work. I’ll write more about what that means shortly.
Platform – John has been doing a great job refining our product development pipeline. On this trello board you can see the development projects that are underway. We try to scope things into manageable chunks (2 weeks development time roughly) and eerything goes through a community review process. But we’ve set it up in a way that still let’s us get a lot of great input and feedback, but still move fast and not get bogged down in endless discussion. Some of the things we’ve rolled out in the last months are v2 of the learning challenge model, better badge issuing support, and a redesigned user profile. Much of this work was kick-started at the Berlin workshop.
Schools – The new schools are not quite ready for sign-ups yet, but School of Data (an initiative we are working on with Open Knowledge Foundation, run by another Shuttleworth Fellow) made a big splash and we are getting close to launching the School of Open together with Creative Commons soon. And School of Ed, a project with HUGE potential, launched its second round of courses.
Party Time – We continue to be excited by the “learning challenges” model to online learning. So much so that we first had an online party that was BYOW (bring your own challenge) and are about to go all real-world. If you are in London this weekend - come and hang out with Chloe and Bekka and make a learning challenge. A few good example challenges to get your toes wet are these, this one, or the one over here (Webmaking 101, DIY U, and Writing for the Web respectively).