I am very interested in alternative models of education – I recently read the book DIY U which provides quite a comprehensive overview of the problems of third level education in the US and makes a convincing case for alternative models of education.
One such (still experimental) model is P2PU – peer-to-peer university. I’m not entirely sure how it works, so I signed up to a course to find out. At some high-level, the P2PU model seems to put much more emphasis on students learning from each other than the more traditional teacher/student relationship. However, I don’t really know how well this can work in practice.
The range of courses on offer was somewhat limited, but I did manage to find a course which seems quite fascinating – it’s a course entitled Open Governance. The course is about alternative ways of supporting decision-making within groups of people; new ways which are made possible by the Internet in particular.
The idea fits nicely with notions of crowd-sourcing, which have been receiving much attention lately. It’s also interesting from the point of view of Jolitics, a site to which I signed up to, but did not really engage strongly with – I’ll probably need to dig into that a bit more for this course.
Of course, there are lots of issues and problems with Open Goverance in general, eg:
- there is already an established way of doing things – new models like this would probably require very fundamental changes, changes to the way countries are constituted in many cases – obviously, this would not sit well with the establishment;
- almost all systems can be gamed and naive open systems are definitely open to gaming by interested parties – how to prevent this and how much it needs to be prevented probably needs to be considered;
- here in Ireland, when we vote on referenda relating to fundamental ways in which our society works, it seems to me that people often cast a vote based on much misinformation and often ignorance – it seems that more devolved structures which give more and more people a voice on more and more issues could suffer more from this (although perhaps this issue only really arises because the issues that go to referendum are fundamental and hence typically are complex with many ramifications).
What’s the point of this post, other than to tell the world what I’m up to? Part of the modus operandi of the course is to put content on blogs. Hence, I’ll be putting content up here which relates to Open Governance; it may seem out of place with the rest of the content here, so this post is my attempt to explain why I’m making these postings.