The MacArthur Foundation is sponsoring a competition for innovative Digital Media and Learning applications. I had learned of it through my colleague Derek Lomas who won last year for his Playpower project.
This year the applications are posted online with open commenting. The word limit on applications is 300 words (not the abstract, the whole application) which makes it easy for anyone to read through it and give feedback. It also makes it easier to write one and they have over 1,000 submissions last I checked. Judges will select which entries advance to the second phase for which a demo video is required.
With research partners I proposed Qrumbs, a system for social collaborative learning around any web resource. I’m glad to be working with Connexions, Curriki, and the PSLC DataShop, leaders in open educational resources and educational data mining. Below the fold is the full text of the proposal, springing from my work in question authoring. With so few words to work with, I used a narrated scenario to communicate concisely how the system works. I’m including the full text below and encourage you to leave comments both here, or even better on the application’s page.
Today I rolled out a big update to QCommons, implementing support for many more content areas than Chemistry.
The key new feature is groups. Each group has its own set of content, its own forums, and its own classification terms. (Because “rational” doesn’t mean the same in Economics as it does in Algebra.) Each group can also have its own permissions system and administrators to support more private uses such as school district curriculum committees. If you would like to host a new group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To keep a handle on the growth of the site, I’ve switched registrations to requiring administrator approval. Please register and sign up for the mailing list. You’ll go into a queue that I’ll process regularly to allow more users.
Stay tuned to this blog for more!
After a long summer of programming and design, the first output of the QCommons research project is ready for the world. I will blog more about QCommons in general, but today I’d like to tell you about QCommons: Chemistry, made in partnership with the Chemistry Education Digital Library.
In a nutshell, QCommons is a platform for assessment resources that promotes sharing and collaborative improvement. It is open source and designed to support many different topic domains. To track developments with QCommons please fill out the subscription form currently on the front page of the site.
QCommons: Chemistry is the first site built on the platform. In developing sharing sites, there is a bootstrapping issue: people are unlikely to contribute to a site that doesn’t already offer something. This makes starting out tough, but once it gets rolling the network effects help it grow faster and faster. (Wikipedia being a prime example.) Fortunately, the ChemEd DL and the Journal of Chemical Education have donated hundreds and hundreds of quality assessment items to get the ball rolling. Anyone can come and browse through the items for ones useful in their formative or summative assessments. All the items are from the JCE QBank and are used in General Chemistry courses at major universities. These were previously available only to vetted teachers, but now the questions (without the answers) are available to everyone. (At this point, to see the answers you will still need to prove you are a teacher. I welcome feedback on how to improve this.)
This is just the beginning. There are many topic areas, new features and usability improvements to come. In the spirit of Google’s long “beta” cycle, I’m releasing the site as it is to let people start using it and give feedback. It is ready to use and relatively bug free. As I add new features I intend to keep it that way. Just bear in mind that it’s a work in progress and any suggestions you have could strongly influence how it develops.
So again, all comments, criticisms and suggestions are welcome. You can post them here on this blog or in the forums on the site.