Posts Tagged ‘open’

Institutions and Openness

January 21st, 2010 jonmott Comments

There has been lots of great discussion at ELI 2010 about openness–what it means, why it’s a value we should embrace, and what it means for institutions.

As I’ve contemplated all of this, I was reminded of Whitman poem:

“I Hear It Was Charged Against Me”
by Walt Whitman

I HEAR it was charged against me that I sought to destroy
But really I am neither for nor against institutions;
(What indeed have I in common with them?–Or what with the
destruction of them?)
Only I will establish in the Mannahatta, and in every city of These
States, inland and seaboard,
And in the fields and woods, and above every keel, little or large,
that dents the water,
Without edifices, or rules, or trustees, or any argument,
The institution of the dear love of comrades.

I aspire to belong “the institution of the dear love of comrades.” That is why I embrace openness. But being open does not mean being anti-institutional. I affiliate with formal institutions that embrace Whitman’s ideal, institutions made up of outward-reaching “comrades” trying to make the world a better place. I teach, attend professional meetings, make presentations, write articles, blog, engage with colleagues via social media, all in the context of my association with my formal institution of higher education.

We can embrace openness *and* remain ardent supporters of our institutions. Indeed, institutions of higher learning have been the primary source of intellectual and cultural openness throughout history.

I embrace openness. I embrace my institution. There’s no contradiction in that.

Bridging the Gap Between the Campus Enterprise and the Cloud

November 19th, 2008 jonmott Comments

PlugJam ( appears to offer a crucial piece of the open learning network puzzle. While it makes intuitive sense to allow seamless integration between campus-based apps and Web 2.0 apps, it’s much easier to think about such integrations than it is to actually pull them off. According the company’s website, “PlugJam is a solution for schools, colleges, and universities looking to bridge the gap between existing campus-based tools and Web 2.0 services, allowing students to use their favorite social networking environment or Web Service to access their campus-based resources.”

This illustration (also from PlugJam’s website) shows how the PlugJam open API facilitates interconnectivity between the campus enterprise and the cloud:

Among other things, PlugJam allows campuses to:

  • Create social and informal learning tools from your existing systems
  • Link your Web 2.0 photos, videos and bookmarks
  • Build dynamic e-Portfolios with Campus and Social Network Resources e.g. Flickr, YouTube, Delicious
  • PlugJam has already built ”connectors” for Blackboard, Moodle, Peoplesoft Student, “identity management servers” and “portal servers”.

    I can’t wait to see what this tool can do!

    (For another take on PlugJam, see “Bringing Student ‘Stuff’ to Campus Enterprise Systems“.)