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.