One of the things that I love most about Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is the support for both practical, career-oriented courses such as Copyright for Educators and the slightly more offbeat, interest driven courses like an Introduction to Cyberpunk Literature. We provide open, free access and new opportunities to learn core skills for people’s professional practice, but the peer-driven nature of P2PU’s community learning environment also brings people together around more obscure topics they’re incredibly passionate about and which aren’t taught in most traditional universities. I like to think that we’re providing access to the “Long Tail of Learning”.
The idea of learning style, access and choice that P2PU encourages is something that’s communicated quite well in the tag-line: “Learning for everyone, by everyone, about almost anything“. As a content department within P2PU, the School of Webcraft also supports both core, web-development skills targeted at a general audience and targeted niche topics that only interest a passionate subset of developers. We can just take the P2PU tag line and amend it to say:
“Learning for everyone, by everyone, about almost anything to do with open web development”
We do have some rough guidelines that help us define what are the “almost anythings” that can be learnt in the School of Webcraft:
- Courses should be relevant to web development practice and explore either practical skills or background knowledge.
- Project output should run natively in a browser (without plugins) and be supported by open server technology.
- Skill development should explore open and standards-based web technologies
- Participants should be able to freely and openly access learning materials
- course content, tutorials and videos shouldn’t be hidden behind a paywall.
- Technologies used to implement course activities should be freely and openly accessible
- participants shouldn’t need to rely on proprietary software or source code
- A course idea can be as small as exploring a question about the open web.
- Course organisers don’t need to be experts, but they do need to be passionate about their topic and willing to organise their course and facilitate others in a shared learning journey.
Based on these guidelines we’ve already had proposals for some amazing courses including PHP Web Application Security, jQuery~For the Love of Dollar, PHP, Databases and the OpenWeb, Alt Text & Universal Design and From GIMP to xHTML and CSS.
We’re still accepting proposals from volunteer organisers for January’s courses, so no matter how obscure, fascinating, practical or tedious they may be, we’d love to hear your course idea.