Month: December 2016

A ListServe of One’s Own

OU Create has over 3500 users and 4000 web sites. In a single week we might see 400 blog posts from the users. But until today, it was not complete. Create had not fulfilled it’s potential.

Email is a section of the cPanel that you’ve likely never noticed before but has always been there, as if it has been obscured by magic. Few have ever crossed the threshold into this mysterious place, but today, I helped someone set up a List Serve.

Screen Shot of the List Serve general options screen through OU Create

The List Serve is an ancient, wondrous beast, that few have ever configured. Many of us may have stumbled into subscribing to a List Serve, may have even requested that IT set one up for a project, but to jump through the mirror oneself and standup (to) such a thing is a truly harrowing experience.

First one must generate a set of administrative email accounts tied to this subdomain of OU Create, solely to appease the beast. Then, averting your eyes from the Medusa that is the public interface, you must find the public URL that is hidden like a Golden Egg in the configuration options panels.

Screen shot of the public interface of an OU Create list serve

After finding still more email accounts to sacrifice to the Scylla and Charybdis of configuration, a pious one may return home to the golden desk chair from whence they came.

So for those critics who complain that Domain of One’s Own projects are just carrying the water for WordPress, know that OU Create has spread it’s wings a little wider today and soared ever closer to the sun. Today we have unleashed the List Serve.

Leadership Schools and Digital Literacy

In Bonnie Stewart’s latest post for #HortonFreire, she introduced us to the Antigonish Movement, “a Maritime adult education, cooperative, and microfinance movement of the 1920s and ’30s that led to the development of local credit unions that still dot the landscape around Maritime Canada.” Bonnie suggested this movement as both an historical parallel to Horton’s Citizenship Schools and as a model for our network to improve digital literacy.

In thinking about Bonnie’s call to action, I see parallels with a program that may provide some of the organizational scaffolding for such an educational program. About six months ago I participated as a student in a program called Software Carpentry. This non-profit group teaches faculty and grad students three basics of programming literacy: linux command line, version control (usually with GitHub), and a broadly applicable programming language (usually Python or R).

These skills and the correlated literacies are great, but what is interesting for this conversation is the model adopted by Software Carpentry. After completing the program as a student, they encourage participants to consider going through the instructor training. Participants can earn certification which confers the right to use the Software Carpentry branding and materials in their own workshops. The multi-stage training looks something like this:

  1. A 2-day instructor training focused on pedagogy
  2. Watch and give feedback in a video conference debriefing for a new instructor
  3. Participate as the junior-partner in a team-taught session of Software Carpentry
  4. Debriefing in a video conference
  5. Contribute to the GitHub repository of course material

It might be useful for the #HortonFreire group, along with our broader professional circle, to think about developing a similar GitHub repository of course materials. One of the things I particularly like about this technological model is how it would allow us to create a pool of common resources, and also our own forked versions of the repository that are fitted to our particular cultural environments, the needs of the local students, and our varied pedagogies. These GitHub materials could then provide the jumping off point for local workshops.


My previous posts in the #HortonFreire book club:

Organizing and Educating around Open Ed

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