What if we built syllabi like this?

The community over at reddit got a little steamed (understandably) in the wake of SOPA and PIPA.

Not being keen on waiting for the next wave of censorship-inspiring legislation, they decided to write the the bill that was more representative of the people. They wrote are writing it together, online, collaboratively. The first version of the bill was an open google doc where any visitor had editing privileges. Now in v2, the doc is restricted to commenting. (I assume this is to get the doc to a submittable place.)

Even if you don’t have time to read the entire bill, the comments on the definitions section, alone, help show how such a shift in the drafting mindset can inspire greater creation.

I’m starting to think about how scholarship and literature could benefit from this process. What if novelists started using this approach and then took the work offline after the commenting period. Would the increased public “ownership” drive sales?

What if a city council decided to put every matter to their constituents for open comment?

What if, on the first day of class, teachers shared a google doc with their students and said, “Let’s write our expectations for this space?” What if every assignment had a student review period before it was launched?


4 thoughts on “What if we built syllabi like this?

  1. My friend Kathleen Fitzpatrick did that with her last book, as have a few other authors.  She’s now in charge of MLA communications and scholarship, looking at how MLA members publish online.  It’s a great model.

    I’d love to do it with my students.  It might actually solve some problems I’m having with my curriculum. 🙂

    • I see what you did there, Laura, piled another book on the ole “to-read” stack. Touché. The more I think on this, the more it feels like a right model for creation of what I guess we’d call more “traditional” kinds of media.

      If you end up implementing the idea with your students, please let me know how it goes. I’d be incredibly curious.

    • So will I. I very much want it to be more than an exercise. Surely, the reddit community can shout loud enough to get the attention of some industrious legislator.

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