Liberal Learning

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Welcome to the Collaboratory's worksite for liberal learning.
Join here in perfecting the idea and practice of liberal learning in the digital commons.

What interests you?

liberallearning.org is emerging through the self-organization of volunteered effort. The interests of its participants will drive and shape it. And to exert collaborative effort, participants need to share and understand their mutual interests. With that end in mind, let us know what you would like to do and accomplish.
  • Have you written on liberal education and would you like to present your ideas for others to engage online?
  • Do you have special skills with which you would like to help others develop resources on the site?
  • Do you have friends and colleagues who might find participating in the site valuable?
  • Are there specific concerns that you want to call attention to through the site?
  • Would you like to moderate online discussions of certain favorite texts or important issues?
Note: You can respond if you like by clicking the "Share interests" link at the upper right-hand corner and tell about your interest.

You can join ...

We are developing Liberallearning.org as a worksite where people join in shared effort to perfect the idea and practice of liberal learning in the digital commons. We invite everyone to scope it out and poke around to see what's going on—we are part of the digital commons. For now, we restrict full editing content to registered participants, however. An encyclopedia project such as Wikipedia can self-organize a lot of anonymous activity. But in creating a worksite for developing new ideas and practices, participants need to self-organize, ready to speak and act in their own voices. Liberal learning develops through the interplay of persons expressing what they think about themselves and a world they share with others. Hence, if you want to participate, we ask you to volunteer by formally joining the Collaboratory for Liberal Learning. Doing so will enable you to participate in the Collaboratory's five worksites. It costs nothing but the effort you are willing to put into the activities taking place on them.

Hello

Joining the Collaboratory for Liberal Learning costs nothing but the effort you are willing to put into the activities of its worksites. Anyone can visit and explore the Collaboratory's five sites, but only registered participants can actively work on them. We want to create a diversified group of persons who share a challenging purpose. Before registering as a participant, you should explore what the Collaboratory members are trying to do in order to decide whether you really want to put your effort into expanding those efforts. A collaboratory thrives through common purpose and its members share working working together.

If you have not done so already, you can explore the Callaboratory's sites using the navigation column to the left of your screen. Immediately below the logo, the Owl of Athens, you will see in a large font the name of the worksite, and below that a link to some observations about advancing education in the digital commons. The next four lines are links to the four other worksites the Collaboratory sponsors. Wherever you are in the Collaboratory's domain, these links will be at hand.

Below those links, you will see a further group of links to external sites useful useful in our work. Some appear on all our sites; others vary from worksite to worksite.

Luddites are welcome!

What's it all about?

The Collaboratory for Liberal Learning has four worksites. On this one, we work to develop liberal learning in the digital commons. Why?

As persons, we cultivate liberal learning because we think and act freely, autonomously, in a complex, constraining world and we bear the consequences of our efforts. In such a situation, we must exercise our judgment. We cultivate liberal learning to inform and strengthen our judgment as we think and act independently, living with others in a world of force and fact.

Liberal learning has a long history, which we here prize. But here we engage in questioning, examining, and voicing it anew because we must cultivate and exercise our judgment in a challenging juncture. We have grown up in a highly formalized, structured ethos. In almost all walks of life, practitioners study and promulgate best practices, codes control, well-reasoned advice abounds, and far too often we think and speak of ourselves in the passive voice. Possibly, in a well-regulated environment, we could live safely and comfortably by rarely exercising our judgment, uncertain what to expect.

Yet, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, we have destabilized the ecology of human interaction within which we live. New media do not substitute something entirely new for the world we have lost, and old media do not continue as always, warm and stable in use and consequence. True, people have always experienced their lifeworld as a kaleidoscope of change—hence liberal learning has had staying power. Yet, we might judge, now in the longue durée in which we live, that the kaleidoscope is not gently turning, but taking a sudden shake with all the colors rearranged. The horizon of expectation shortens, events turn unpredictable, do I really know what to think or do? How can and should we now cultivate our judgment, personal and collective, so that we all can live well in our emerging world of force and fact? That's a question for everyone, everywhere. Join us in concentrating on it.

Activities will take place there to facilitate the self-organizing interactions among commoners, the contributing participants in the Collaboratory, as they develop all the web sites. In addition, more substantively, the commoners and sojourners will advance ongoing research, scholarship, and criticism specifically concerning the idea and practice of liberal learning.

What's going on?

Start-up Phase (April 1 to May 31, 2018 +/-)
  • We are initiating the Collaboratory websites, starting with liberallearning.org.
    • First, we are prototyping the home page and developing the initial system settings on a pre-production installation.
    • Second, as soon as possible, we will move the prototypes to a production server with adequate capacity for the initial growth of the project.
    • Third, we will initiate a few sample projects and organize online tools and resources for working on them.
    • Fourth, as activity builds, we will assess and implement procedures for self-organizing it productively.
  • We are spreading initial word of the sites to possible participants, asking for ongoing feedback on them.
    • Do you find its purpose clear?
    • Does it arouse or discourage your interest in participating?
    • Did you find the site easy to navigate?
    • Can you suggest improvements? What additions would you suggest?
    • What further tasks do you think we should make a priority??


The Collaboratory for Liberal Learning Test_Page

Here we advance ongoing research, scholarship, and criticism specifically concerning the idea and practice of liberal learning.

Welcome to CLL

Participants in the Collaboratory work together to advance education in and through the digital commons. We start with four goals:

  • to advance liberal learning,
  • to clarify the heritage of educational thought,
  • to strengthen current educational advocacy and criticism, and
  • to support educational effort in the digital commons.

We work on these goals through four websites, sites for working together in plain view, not for presenting finished product developed elsewhere. The digital commons is taking form as a continual work-in-progress – no brands, no products, nothing to sell, just ongoing activity on shared purposes. Thus site names basically indicate what activity takes place there – liberal learning (this site: www.liberallearning.org), educational thought (www.educationalthought.org), educational thinking (www.educationalthinking.org), and educational effort (www.educationaleffort.org).

To work on our broad goals, we will self-organize around some more specific objectives, adapting guidelines for open source work on each site to fit those objectives.

  • At www.educationaleffort.org, participants seek to invent and use educational activities that distinctively employ the affordances of new media in and through the digital commons.
  • At www.educationalthinking.org, we voice contemporary criticism, reflection, and analysis about education as a process of self-formation that each person undertakes 24/7 in the concrete circumstances of their lives.
  • At www.educationalthought.org, we are creating a comprehensive digital library of original texts and interpretative scholarship about past educative thought and experience. And here
  • At www.liberallearning.org we are bringing ideas about the liberal arts and the practice of liberal learning to fulfillment in the digital commons.

Go to each site to get a fuller sense of what is to be done there. If you want to volunteer to participate in any of the work, please join the Collaboratory. It costs nothing but the effort you are willing to put into its activities.

  • to develop the idea and practice of liberal learning in the digital commons,
  • to create a highly usable, comprehensive digital library of original texts and interpretative scholarship about past educative thought and experience,
  • to voice contemporary criticism, reflection, and analysis about education as a process of self-formation that each person undertakes 24/7 in the concrete circumstances of their lives, and
  • to invent and use educational activities that distinctively employ the affordances of new media in and through the digital commons.

CLL is emerging in the wild, so to speak, free of the familiar forms and structures that operate in brick and mortar academe. We invite participation by all persons interested in CLL's purposes, to work together to self-organize our work in the digital commons.

What’s that? The digital commons defines itself recursively through its ongoing developmental activities. The digital commons is emerging as a self-defined sub-set of the web, and as a commons, it comprises resources and activities created through volunteered effort and open for use and improvement by all persons. It takes shape as, in, and through extensible, interactive activity on digital networks. In principle, insofar as we self-organize activities through volunteered effort with the results open to all for common use, the digital commons emerges free from enclosure, developing from within toward the fulfillment of its functions. As part of the emerging commons, CLL works to disclose how the affordances and constraints of the web can strengthen liberal learning in thought and practice.

Initially, the Collaboratory is supporting online activity through several interconnected web sites:

On these, we call ourselves sojourners when we work as end users, consulting the sites as we wish, free of fees and advertising and commenting on materials there. When we work, not as end users, but as active, self-appointed participants in the Collaboratory, we call ourselves commoners who are continuously creating and improving the content of the sites, volunteering our activity to the CLL and the digital commons. Commoners guide their work by a set of self-managed policies and principles akin to those for editing Wikipedia.

Through the Collaboratory, we seek to advance liberal learning in ways distinctly different from familiar practices in formal educational institutions. CLL will not offer courses, credits, or degrees; nor will it certify competencies, salary employees, or advance careers as educational institutions do. Instead, through CLL people can convene educative activity, making use of its sites to join as sojourners and commoners in study groups on matters of shared interest — with no tuition, no salaries, just cooperative work done for its own sake.

Each of its web sites will serve a distinct purpose with a shared look and feel and a common spirit.

  • Liberallearning.org will have two main purposes. Activities will take place there to facilitate the self-organizing interactions among commoners, the contributing participants in the Collaboratory, as they develop all the web sites. In addition, more substantively, the commoners and sojourners will advance ongoing research, scholarship, and criticism specifically concerning the idea and practice of liberal learning.
  • Educationalthought.org will advance research and scholarship on past educational thought, presenting the work of past thinkers and interpreting the significance of it relative to humanistic striving. Commoners will do editorial work anonymously but contribute critical interpretation and synthesis under their bylines. Sojourners will make use of materials as fits their purposes and they can stimulate further inquiry through comments and criticisms. Over time, the site should develop into a highly usable, comprehensive digital library of original texts and interpretative scholarship about past educative thought and experience.
  • Educationalthinking.org will voice contemporary criticism, reflection, and analysis about educational purposes and practices, understanding education as a formative process that each person undergoes 24/7 in the concrete circumstances of her life and that she tries to manage, as best she can, for purposes which she accepts and bears responsibility. What inhibits self-formation by persons and groups, and how can they effectively advance it? Again, commoners should put forward their considered views, short or long, with sojourners as their active auditors. The practice of liberal learning will unfold as persons work together to build their confidence in their own powers of judgment.
  • Educationaleffort.org will sponsor and facilitate educational activity in the digital commons. It will discourage adapting traditional educational activities for online delivery and encourage invention and use of educative activities that distinctively employ the affordances of new media in and for the digital commons – games, simulations, participating in group R & D, advocacy, and cooperative endeavors. Here commoners and sojourners can join in working to show what education in and for the digital commons can become.
At its start, the Collaboratory will have initial operating procedures and a mechanism by which commoners and sojourners can adapt and develop the procedures and the activities they self-organize in the light of experience.