#EL30 A lot to decentralize

So the starting shot for EL30 happened yesterday night, and now the rich buffet of ideas is officially opened.

A grasshopper, the course's mascot.

Source: Stephen Downes CC-BY-NC-SA

I wonder why we felt that the availability of the resources did not yet suffice to start individual discussions before this. Or why a synchronous session is apparently needed to start off the asynchronous discussions (I notice this because I have always had problems with the speed of such live sessions). It seems that, even in a decentralized course around the very topic of decentralization, such an event may be necessary where we all (virtually) meet at a central point in time? And that there is still much legacy from centrality.

The biggest problem is how to discover the peer learners and their resources, if we just use ‘word of mouth’ (or blogroll?) discovery. The worldwide search for persons and hashtags via Twitter seems utterly centralistic, and will it scale up and work in large federations?

There is no registration required in El30, and this is a good thing, because making content readable only to registered participants, would be so very web 1.0. Registering for the newsletter is optional. I never registered to Stephen’s mailing lists because I enjoy them via RSS. I personally don’t like linear (central!) streams such as email (let alone Twitter) so much. The unsorted stream forces me to context-switch more than what is necessary in ‘classified’ subfolders, and is a bit like too much multi-tasking, which makes today’s life so crazy.

The read-write web 2.0, as opposed to the read-only web 1.0, benefits from lists of participants (such as the opml that will probably be generated by https://el30.mooc.ca/cgi-bin/submit.cgi).

I am not sure if this ‘submit’ could be called ‘register’ because I do not know what negative connotations this word ‘register’ has. In particular (and this leads to another big term of the course:) as opposed to ‘ledger’ which is a word that I have rarely heard. In my dictionary, it looks like register is more like a directory, or the ‘roll’ for ‘enrolment’, while ledger is more for commercial bookkeeping, and its etymology suggests a kind of breviary or “a book that lies permanently in some specified place” — i.e. not very decentral, either.

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