[iDC] Can DIY education be crowdsourced?

Adam D Trowbridge atrowbridge at saic.edu
Thu Sep 8 01:37:32 UTC 2011

Thank you, Jon, for this well-considered response. Especially for
pointing this out:

> Given the choice, I'd also rather meet over breakfast than over a BBS. But some valuable interactions require a nonlocal conversation.
> Students in rural Maine can't afford to fly to Chicago for Marx at the Mess Hall, but they can afford to load The Pool in their browser and debate ideas with students > participating from the other side of the nation.

Teaching at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Jessica
Westbrook and I began participating in Basekamp's Tuesday chats and
eventually began working with Basekamp on Plausible Artworlds 2010*.
We were incredibly isolated in Chattanooga, especially politically and
culturally. The Internet was not a corporate tool of domination for us
but a way to connect to the outside world in real time. When we began
teaching a class focused on collaboration, we were able to schedule
half of it for the same times as the weekly chat. Skype is a corporate
tool (now owned by Microsoft) but we were able to use it to introduce
our otherwise isolated students to worldwide examples of art worlds
beyond the standard, including, actually, Brian Holmes' (et al)
Continental Drift.

It's fantastic that intense thought can occur in incredibly privileged
cities like NYC and Paris and in isolated retreats with organic meals.
Some people can afford that luxury. For those who cannot though, the
Internet remains a vital tool for connection, discussion and
exploration. Despite the advertising and the co-option of community
with corporate tracking, the Internet (or online communication outside
the Internet) remains a way for us to find each other.

* Plugging Plausible Artworlds here since there are several
independent edu and online collaboration projects:


Adam Trowbridge, Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Contemporary Practices
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
37 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL 60603
atrowbridge at saic.edu
312.945.8769 Office

Channel TWo

Plausible Artworlds | Basekamp

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