Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I am a professor at the Open University. This is the largest government-supported university in the United Kingdom. It differs from other universities in that its students (over a million) study with us from their home. If you are interested in this unique British institution then click here.

During the summer I read a lot about Web 2.0 and became convinced that there might be some mileage in asking our students to help develop materials for teaching. I set up two projects: the first is the mass book writing project that this blog covers and the other is a course in e-learning. This course has an end assessment which asks the students to deliver 15 hours of e-learning materials. The material for the course has been developed and we hope to release it early in 2010 (The OU timescales are quite long!).

The book writing project involves OU students, and anyone else who wants to volunteer, writing a book about the Java-based computer-art system known as Processing.

A student who wants to contribute 2500 words to the project will carry out the following tasks:

  • Email an offer to write to the OU.
  • We will send them a voucher that will buy them a copy of a recently published book by Greenberg.
  • They will then read the first 3 chapters of the book.
  • We will give them access to a blog which contains a specification of 85 chunks of text about 2500 words in length.
  • The student will then write it and also develop two sample computer programs
  • The student will then send the final text and the two programs to the OU.
We will edit the text and produce a sample book from a self-publisher and then attempt to interest a mainstream publisher to take the book.

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