[iDC] Can DIY education be crowdsourced?

Megan Snowe megan.snowe at gmail.com
Wed Sep 7 20:31:49 UTC 2011

Thank you for these thoughts, all. I am jumping into the conversation
midstream, but wanted to respond to John Bell's comment about amateur

I am currently working on methods to address this exact challenge: how do we
engage, learn from and cultivate a community of deep thinkers and
intelligent individuals who are not self-identified academics? How do we
create a system and structure for discourse that encourages and engages the
valuable curiosity of those who may not consciously make education their top
priority? I speak from the perspective of a recent college grad who is
exploring DIY and alternative education models not only as an area of
personal study, but also as a possible form of artistic practice and as an
alternative to (the seemingly ominous) graduate programs.  I do not exist a
space of active intellectual push or structured and focused analysis.

What gets people's attention more (without violent or offensive
confrontation) than being told "You are interesting.  You are valuable. You
have something to contribute and we want to know about it."? Couple that
with the promise that peers will reciprocate and you have something. I
believe that creating programs that identify, value, and encourage the
exploration of personal interests within a mutually supportive and curious
community of learners is key.  Make it personal.  If people don't feel the
need to contribute to the great communal pool of knowledge in a particular
field, or they feel intimidated by the prospect of "furthering the field",
provide them with an opportunity to further their own knowledge and share
what they know to those who value their experience.  How to do this
digitally and without inflated flattery is another question.  Not sure how
to ensure humility, honesty and patience that this would require...how to
translate this idealistic scenario into some working model...how to take
full advantage of whatever attention participants feel able to give to such
a skill share/self-propelled insight exchange project...

At any rate, I would love to be part of and start a community like this and
I am working to do so.  Any thoughts would be appreciated as I begin my own
research on the subject.

Looking forward to further notes.

On Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 11:50 AM, John Bell <john at novomancy.org> wrote:

> But what value would such a score represent to an amateur scholar?  For
> professional scholars it's mostly valued due to pride of influencing the
> field and tenure committees.  Is there another carrot that can be offered to
> people with deep knowledge but no interest in advancing an academic career?
> - John
> On Sep 6, 2011, at 4:20 PM, Anya Kamenetz wrote:
> > So the question would be, to what extent is it feasible to represent a
> similar type of score, based on references to their previous statements, for
> amateur scholars? That would be an interesting example of an incentive
> that's both internal and external.
> > a
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