Victus Spiritus


Emergence Buzz: Singularity Event for Minds & Texts Imminent

14 Oct 2009

Compare the processes of writing an older college textbook to creating a collaborative wiki like web book on a subject.

Existing Textbook Standard

In one case an astute author or two gathers all the documentation they have access to, and does their best to explain complicated subject matter in a way that is easy for them to understand. Immediately you may notice a flaw with this methodology. Experts creating introductory source texts that are suitable for experts.  How can one's perception of a mastered subject be reduced to a novice's experience? In much the same way, research papers are generated with obscure terminology and assumptions making them inaccessible to the majority of people.

Novel Text/Web Book Creation

Compare the existing method to crowd shared web documents. These documents are reviewed by novices and experts alike. In near real time, feedback to authors is received and more accessible explanations are made for folks new to a topic. In addition a wide range of people provides many perspectives and points of view, as well as a larger body of authors to handle the diversity of minds that are interested in learning more about a subject. Now the nuances of each person's perspective have a much smaller chance of not meshing with an author's explanation, and knowledge can be more smoothly transferred.

While creative works have thus far eluded crowd sourced initiatives (some attempts have ended dismally), there is an untapped potential for the creation (and curation) of university level material. It is dependent on each of us to aid in the collaborative creation of shared web resources, both openly and free of charge.

How's that for hacking education?

Don't believe it's possible?

The CTO of the US, Aneesh Chopra has already managed to help implement an effort in Virginia with wonderful success (albeit high school level physics). Now the OER Commons (open educational resource) site shares such text information.