A Follow Up: Cooperative Notes

After my post on taking notes in the cloud last week I got a number of comments. One of them that seemed to really spark some needed thought was how to engage not just students in the notion of blogging their notes, but how to get faculty into the idea of posting lecture assets in places where the “embed” code lives. Kyle points out that it might make a ton of sense if we could find new ways to help faculty see the value in publishing their slide images, diagrams, or other rich assets to social sites as well to empower students to simply annotate existing assets in the cloud via the use of a simple embed code. I love the idea and I will be discussing it with my team.

Slide with Student Notes Below

Slide with Student Notes Below

Then as I was sitting around thinking more about it over the weekend I started to wonder why faculty would need to publish to the .com social web world when they could use their PSU blog spaces to upload, share, and manage their rich media assets. My friend and colleague, Brad Kozlek, manages a big portion of the Blogs at PSU project and he is very keen on the whole embed thing. As a matter of fact, he has worked out a simple little template addition to the MT code we use to enable simple YouTube-like embed capabilities. Most of this work is modeled after some amazing work by Alan Levine with his Feed2js work and Brian Lamb and his absolute insistence on remixing and reusing content.

Having faculty take advantage of our own blog platform to enable students to enrich their notes is a huge step forward in my eyes. I was talking about students taking pictures of slides and Kyle reminded us that it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to have faculty share each slide as an embedable asset from any number of social sites. I love it, but why not right from their blog? Each of these slides could easily be pulled into a student’s post with little more than an embed code. Faculty, over time, could create their own slide repository that could be easily shared with their students as embedable content in their blogs, or even within their own courses in places like ANGEL and blog powered pages. Big potential here that we need to really explore.

I like the idea and I wonder how feasible it is to push towards a solution that asks faculty to allow students to take electronic notes in class, share digital representations of their slides/diagrams, and to think about how to best protect and share their own intellectual property in a teaching and learning context. Those are a lot of things to socialize, but I would guess given the time, energy, and ability to share success stories one could get a decent sized percentage working in that direction. In so many cases, we think publishing to the web gives up IP, but I would argue that taking this approach would empower the use of IP in a more open and responsible way. Not sure, but I sure would like to hear some thoughts on this.

10 thoughts on “A Follow Up: Cooperative Notes

  1. For personal stuff I do for a variety of reasons. For teaching I am trying to move away from it. Our tools are only now catching up with these ideas. In the past we haven’t had environments that support the kinds of things that are really empowering.

    The image above is built from a PSU blog post with the slide being embeded from Flickr. It works really well, but I suspect (and could be wrong) that over time, people will be more comfortable publishing to their PSU spaces. I could be wrong, but as we get better at managing access controls and gain greater awareness/adoption of our own PSU Commons license people will trust our own environments.

    What do you think?

  2. I guess if we are discussion the build-up of content from class-to-class, semester-to-semester, year-to-year, we should consider what will happen if an instructor leaves.

    How long before their blog/cloud space is wiped away? Is there a way around breaking all of the embed links? Maybe having a departmental repository of images? This probably brings up all new IP questions as well.

    I think about how frustrating would it be as a student to find a great resource that has been made incomplete with broken links; reading annotations of an image without actually being able to see the image. BUMMER!

  3. Pingback: Re-visiting the OCHO at

  4. Kyle, funny Brad Kozlek and I were just having that discussion. We were wondering if we could do “copy this asset” type of an option. Instead of living with just an embed, come up with a way to more permanently move assets into a note.

  5. As I’m crafting a post about the difficulty Penn State would have retaining the content and cachet that they’ve paid salary for, the conversation is about how you can take your content with you. Ah, well. Different angle perhaps, but similar concerns about ownership and possession.

    I think posting to Penn State Blogs that are open to the world adds tremendous cachet to Penn State. Posting the same information instead to a dot com is technology transfer and entrepreneurial activity and could build a wall in the department. Helping faculty post to a Penn State name space, while maintaining their own Penn State storage space, seems like the most equitable path. Ease of use would be a sad excuse for them to go elsewhere.

    Your personality- what you think and how you communicate- is one of your greatest contributions to Penn State. Others clearly benefit from affiliation. If you take your dot.com and go- Penn State loses a great deal.

  6. Embeds of single slides from a long lecture could get cumbersome. Maybe linking to a presentation on Google docs or slide share would be more practical. That way a student could download their own copy to annotate. Or maybe collaborate on?

    Lecture materials don’t have a long shelf life for many courses. I try to update them each year as technology advances. You shouldn’t expect online materials to be useful much beyond the semester of the course.

    Don’t forget embedding maps from Google or Microsoft. These can fit in any topic that refers to a specific location.

  7. I think much the same way that CC is re-approaching copyright, we’ve got to re-approach intellectual property in terms of where it lives and how it’s stored, and how it remains viable as a resource. Seems like the ‘old’ way is “institution owns it, you lose it” or “mine, not yours; look don’t touch”, and not in the spirit. Some new approach to credit-tagging and repository location schemes? Clearly defined standards for formatting, storage, lifespan; which all are mindful of the institution as it cycles students and cycles teachers; as well as mindful of the author as he or she moves onward or laterally through the career. Maybe there already exists pushes for this sort of standard?

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