Last month, on the third floor of an office in Berlin, the Peer to Peer University suddenly developed a face. 14 people, from all over the world, who had been working together on the pilot phase of the project had a chance to meet, talk, argue, solve problems, make grand plans and stay up way too late, planning to take over the world and change education forever.
While it might just sound like all we did was have fun and think big, in fact the group managed to achieve what is rarely managed in international workshops. We met (many for the first time), we evaluated the pilot phase of P2PU, and, most importantly, we planned. We left Berlin after four days assured that the next phase of P2PU’s life is going to be as exciting, dynamic and important as the first phase was.
So, What Worked?
Most of the first day of the workshop was taken up discussing what about the first phase of the P2PU experiment had worked, and why. Some courses struggled to keep participants involved, others found that the amount of reading was too much, and others found accessing relevant resources a difficulty. All these issues, and more, were re-framed as questions, and added to a Wall of Ideas, which helped to shape the agenda for the next three days.
By the same token, the successful elements of the various courses were highlighted, and the group used these examples to help build a plan for future iterations at P2PU. Some were defined as tools (for example, synchronous and asynchronous chat) and will be included in the new website that is being developed for the project. Other elements will be included into the plans for helping new P2PU participants to develop and plan their courses.
In typical P2PU style, no ideas were considered unworthy of being noted, flagged or discussed. The Open Spaces workshop methodology allowed everyone to be heard and share their ideas, and through the collaborative process, the issues that the group felt were most urgent, relevant or necessary naturally emerged and could be discussed and agreed on.
But what did you DO?
Well, quite a lot actually – we worked really hard. We’ve planned the next phase for courses. We know how we’re going to help new course organisers plan and develop their courses. We know that we want to grow, and have an idea of the kinds of partnerships we would like to develop. We decided on a licensing policy for the resources we produce. We have a plan for a new website, which is grand, and we have even grander plans for the future. We also realised that we all like and respect each other, and that we see the world in similar ways, and that the potential in this project is enormous. We know now that the sky is the limit.
So, What’s Coming Next?
Well, you can expect great things from P2PU in the next little while. Among the most exciting announcements are:
A new website and social platform
An orientation process for new course organizers
A CC BY-SA licensing policy (and a compendium on how to choose a
license for your open education project)
Aset of core values that the community subscribes to
P2PU is also preparing a research workshop on alternative accreditations in early 2010, and building relationships with other
organisations to explore avenues in research, assessment, and sustainability.
We’re really excited to share all of these new developments with all of you – so please keep an eye out.
If you’d like to read some of the more personal responses from workshop attendees, have a look at Jane Park’s awesome, and moving post on Opinions on Open, or her great blog on Creative Commons.org and Nadeem Shabir’s very thoughtful and articulate piece on the Talis Education Blog.