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Welcome to a Collaboratory worksite.
Here we advance ongoing research, scholarship, and criticism specifically concerning the idea and practice of liberal learning.
To be determined

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.


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.

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??

What's the Collaboratory

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.