DWD Project Description

I’m building a collaborative discussion forum for Dynamic Web Development. This is also a project for Hacking Higher Ed where I’ve been researching the social conditions that facilitate learning, and what types of discussion forums might lead a community to adopt these social norms.

These are the features I’m considering (though I will probably need to trim ’em down!)

  • all visitors can view and search Q&A’s
  • visitor becomes a ‘user’ by signing in and creating account –> profile w/ image, bio, url’s
  • users can create questions, but first must search to see if there are already similar results
  • users can answer questions
  • users can edit questions to better frame the concept
  • version control: track history of edits to questions & answers (Wiki-style)
  • users can award each other points
  • users can award each other badges for Good Question and Good Answer
  • users can mark questions ‘resolved’ or add follow-up questions

Hacking Higher Ed

Jayati, Jerllin, Tarana and I came up with some interesting ideas for our Hacking Higher Ed presentation.

One key point is that education is social, and that’s an aspect that is missing—or at least very different—in online education. The combination of Clay Shirky, my fandom class with Zoe Fraade-Blanar, and my previous experience trying to facilitate conversational spaces has inspired me to bring this approach to education. I’m interested in building a discussion forum tool/toolkit for a community of learners. I want it to be social because I believe that learning is socially motivated. I want to facilitate the type of community where people who have just learned something are motivated to turn around and share it with their fellow learners. This is both to cement what they’ve just learned and to teach in a way that experts often cannot. I think this decentralized community could be integrated into a teacher-student ‘class,’ but could also serve independent learners.

My favorite project ideas so far are…

1. Annotating videos with timestamped discussion threads

2. Browser extension for sharing and discussing online resources with a class, either public or private. Learners would tag resources with comments that are automatically posted to a discussion forum.

–> After presenting this idea in last week’s class, we learned that Mimi Yin has been working on a project kind of like this—a browser extension called http://ponder.co that allows classes to discuss web content.

3. “Am I Doing This Right?” — a Stack Exchange-inspired forum based around video Q&A’s. I’m having second thoughts about this because text has so many advantages over video, and Stack Exchange has already covered so many topics. But a video option for chat and discussion could be very valuable for certain topics.