Blog Post

Why Learn In Public? Please Join the "Bill of Rights/ Networked Learning" Hackathon

Attention, students!  Attention, learners!  Attention, teachers!  Hackathon in progress.  You are invited!

Two days ago we launched a document  titled  "A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in a Digital Age"--with an invitation for it to be hacked and many blogs and other sites set up to receive comments and to allow for edits.  It's up on on several places but the original version can be found here:

Or, if you want to participate in the hackathon version, you can visit the Google doc and add comments or email to the address given on the document and you will be given editor permission.   I’m delighted to see on the editable, hackable version has a new title:   “Rights and Principles for Online Networked Learning”:

I love it that the title is a place of great energy on the hackable version.  Among the initial twelve of us who launched this document into the world, we discussed the merits of “learners” (for our open, connectivist principles) but also of “students” (because one point of this is to help offer guidelines for protecting students who sign complicated agreements about privacy and data and intellectual property when they join some MOOCs and who may not be aware of what they are signing).   We also went back and forth over “online” and took that out because, for some of us, the most important part of the document is the challenge it offers to current models of f2f education as well as to current static Sage on the Stage models of online. 

Virtually everything about the document went through these rounds and rounds of conversation and then we stopped.We set a deadline. We cleaned up hundreds of edits, comments, points of disagreements, and sent our DRAFT out into the world, with an invitation to contribute.  As we have said repeatedly, we hope this is the beginning of an urgent conversation, not the end.  We intended a hackable document.  Please join us, and hack away!

And we embraced the Internet idea of “publish first, edit later”:   the whole point of iterative thinking is that you know you are missing something but everything we know about cognition in 2013 shows us that, by ourselves, we cannot see what we cannot see.  You put something out in the world so that new ideas get added and that you can be aware of your own blindspots. 

At one point yesterday, 43 people were editing at once.  THAT is the point.  Wonderful!  A conversation is the point.   At another point in the day, so many people were on the document that I wasn’t able to get on.  Great!

But we’re still missing students.   My fantasy was that everyone around the country offering MOOCs and that every university and school that was signing up for MOOCs would see this “Bill of Rights and Principles” and share it with their constituents for feedback.

Last I heard, this was going to be circulated by two of the original signers to around 9500 currently enrolled MOOC peer-learners.  We really hope they will join in, and make themselves heard. 

But what about the MOOCs now boasting millions of students?   We'd love to hear what those students think are their own "rights and principles" as online learners.  The rhetoric by those designing, offering and signing onto MOOCs has often been lofty---educating the world and so forth!  So now is time for a massive evaluation of what we are doing together online.   We will never do it better if we don't all participate in a conversation about the possibilities of learning that we want.

If you are running a MOOC, teaching a MOOC, signing up to teach one, taking one, or are the CEO of a MOOC, we urge you to share any version out there with your students.



Please come join us for commenting, discussing, editing in the Google Doc:

(Ping me by email or twitter @schmidtphi if you want to be added as an editor)



I think there might be a typo in your Twitter account or something.... how can I be added as editor of the Google doc?


My twitter account is @schmidtphi

You need to send me the google account you want added to the document. Feel free to send by email instead of twitter -> p AT p2pu DOT org