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Hyperlink.academy: a school created betwen personal sites

I was struck by an idea the other day, inspired by the Domain of One’s Own project from the University of Mary Washington. What if you could have a whole school created just by linking together people’s personal websites?

A first stab at that idea lives at hyperlink.academy. I’m very proud of the name lol.

It’s not a full realization of the idea as there still is this central website. I thought it would be handy to keep things visible and approachable at first, and it isn’t doing much but linking to people’s sites.

I’m curious if this is an appealing construction to people? Having it reflect the language and structure of existing institutions is really exciting to me, and I think potentially makes it quite approachable to others! I drafted it up very quickly so suggestions majorly welcome. The time lengths and the workflow is very much in a draft state.

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This idea is definitely worth a shot and I’ve created my own learning page as as result. Thanks!

Most of the courses I’m currently offering are in-person and so don’t make sense for hyperlink.academy. However, you got me thinking about how offline and online structures might be used to supplement each other, without requiring participation in a “primary” class. So I’ve created a class with two components (live and virtual) that work together but can also be taken separately. It’s a little challenging to communicate; I’m open to suggestions.

I realize that the subject matters for my current courses don’t fit the parameters you’ve set for hyperlink.academy, but I wanted to say thank you and in the spirit of community, sharing, and learning, thought you might appreciate hearing how your ideas are being used.

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@christopherchelpka that’s awesome! Glad to see the learning page idea taken up, I think it’s full of potential. I was originally inspired by this /mentoring idea. (Which I think I saw first on @bts 's webpage.

Generally speaking I think a lot of learning infrastructure can be built with people’s websites!

Love this idea! My learning page (at least in skeleton form) is live and I’m looking forward to participating in some of these and/or facilitating a course!

A couple ideas I have for courses I might facilitate—

Independent Librarianship: I have no background in Library / Information Science (LIS) but really want to get a more solid grounding in the field. So I’m thinking of putting together a DIY intro curriculum to read a few books on the topic, get a sense of various sub-fields, etc.

Hip-Hop Poetics and Constraints: combining my interests in hip-hop lyricism and constrained writing (a la the Oulipo), I think it could be fun to run a workshop style course (not sure what format exactly) going over various interesting poetic constraints + hands-on hip-hop writing exercises based on them.

The first one is something I’d like to do in some form for myself, whether or not as a public course (would be an ideal learning adventure I think); the second is a topic I’ve already partially outlined and is pretty niche but I think could be a lot of fun.

A third one that I’d be interested in running would be something like…

Business for Creators: exploring ways for independent creators (artists, writers, makers of all stripes) to build sustainable revenue streams, looking at various models like patronage, crowdfunding, memberships and so on, as well as tools that can be used to apply them.

Not sure this last one lend’s itself well to a specific course / curriculum; it’s more a general thing I’m researching and thinking about a lot anyway, and of personal interest for my own future creative work. Been thinking of making a website / guide on this so not sure if I’ll start there, or with some kind of workshop, or just talking to people one on one who are interested in this kind of thing!

I’ll think some more about how these ideas might (or might not) work well with this kind of distributed web-based structure. Any initial ideas or feedback based on the above? I’d love to hear what you think!

Independent Librarianship sounds absolutely fascinating. One could view it as an extension or sibling of the independent researcher (see also here).

I think you’re right though that the topic might fit better as a learning adventure. Though, publishing a reading list or something like would probably be enough for people to latch on to if they were interested.

The Hip-Hop Poetics and Constraints would be very cool! I wonder if the web based nature would get in the way here as I imagine actually performing lyrics is useful for developing your writing ability. I wonder what tools are out there for easily dealing with audio sent back and forth. Were the exercises you were thinking of solo or group endeavors? (I think Exquisite Corpse was an Oulipean thing?)

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Thanks! Yeah love the parallels to the idea of independent research/academia.

Indeed maybe best to start with a learning adventure. I guess could be both/either depending if we want to approach a hyperlink.academy course as itself being an exploratory group adventure around a shared interest, or as an (at least somewhat) more tested and expert-led curriculum. Both sound fun to me and I’m sure there’s a lot of room in between as well :smile: Maybe I’ll start by putting together a reading list, sounds like a good idea!

The hip-hop constrained writing idea is something I’d originally thought of as more an in person group workshop, but could be fun to think of how it might translate to an online thing. I think would be mostly solo exercises but definitely would be cool to have a performance or audio component and some kind of means of group critique. Maybe I should try it in person first and see how it goes.

I like the idea of doing group learning adventures. With the whole point of hyperlink.academy being personal sites linked together, I wonder if the form of blogchains would be useful here.

I can imagine a group learning adventure where each contributor writes up a post (on their site) and makes sure to link the previous learning adventure entries like a blogchain. There could still be a central area for the course but the main reflection and conversation happens in the chain.

Love the concept of hyperlink.academy and am looking forward to seeing where it goes!

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ooh! Learning blogchains are a really great idea. It could be structured in a bunch of different ways, like exploring a set questions, or pulling together resources, or reflecting on some shared experience.

If you are interested in running a course for hyperlink.academy structured that way, I’d love to participate! You’d basically just write a blog post which would form the start of the chain as the “home” for the course. I really like the idea of a single blog post starting out a whole “course” kinda thing, if that makes sense.

It would be interesting to see what structures would be reusable after it’s been tried out. For example is there are particular way to structure the initial prompt, or the cycle of posts, or the reflection of the end, that lends itself to a powerful learning outcome…

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Great idea with the first blog post being the home page. That way people can join in and their contributions can be continually added to the chain. I can then imagine people linking back to it like the blogchains on Ribbonfarm do at the top of the post. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy - just a hyperlink back to the “home” post!

And I would definitely be interested in running a course in a similar way. It would probably be prompts/questions about alternative forms of blogging (blogchains, etc). Just need some time but I will try to get something going by the end of next week.

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Great idea & I’m excited for the Blogging Futures blogchain course! Playing around with some ideas…

Having the loose weekly prompt seems like a helpful way to guide it a bit. Will be interesting to think about other structural possibilities as well.

Looking forward to your ideas @bts! It’s already sparking some great conversation so far.

I am completely open to other structural possibilities. The real interaction happens between the posts (people linking to each other, responding to ideas, etc.), so I figured as long as we have a metaphorical key to all play in then we can jam.

Do any structural possibilities come to mind? @jaredpereira had a good idea of having a certain person provide a prompt/question of sorts that progresses from where the blogchain left off.

Yes I’m starting to collect a few thoughts re: structures, will try to get a post up tonight!

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I’ve been pondering a little lately on the evolution of hyperlink.academy.

Reflection

The homepage right now is pretty sparse. It’s serving two different purposes: collecting links to people’s learning pages and collecting links to different “courses” on the internet.

The first purpose isn’t too clearly communicated, people aren’t really given any concrete reason why they should have a learning page, and it’s wrapped up in this language of enrollment, which I think is pretty confusing.

The second purpose I think is clearer, and the three courses run right now are each going pretty well. There’s sorta two ways I can see hyperlink.academy being useful for these:

  1. Providing a place for people to discover the courses and participate
  2. Help course runners facillitate their courses

1 isn’t really that helpful in it’s current incarnation. For people to discover courses they have to discover hyperlink.academy and then come back to it.

2, I think is being more served by this forum than anything actually on the website. There’s also a lack of writing or frameworks for running a course, which could definitely be spelled out more.

Opportunities

A newsletter

A way to actually meet the needs of course facillitators trying to get people to participate, and learners looking for opportunities, would be to run a newsletter (weekly? Biweekly?) that collects all the goings on, both new learning opportunities and highlights from ongoing ones. This could actually add a cadence to it like originally envisioned with the semesters.

A web-app

This would maybe be going overkill but it’s not hard to imagine a little more interactive form of hyperlink.academy, with ways of signing up to be notified about specific courses, or courses in specific fields.

Resources for facilitators

I think that facilitation is the main bottleneck here, it’s just hard to envision and run a learning scenario. Perhaps we could put together a guide, or a framework, to reduce the barrier of entry for people who want to experiment with courses.


What do you guys here think? How could hyperlink.academy evolve to help you as learners and learning facilitators online? Especially interested in your thoughts as someone running a course @cjeller1592 ! I’m going to write up a bit more about this in the coming weeks, so any input is highly appreciated.

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A newsletter would be great, especially if we could have it on a consistent basis. I could imagine not only links to courses and reflections here but elsewhere (“Learning around the web”, etc.). There could also be a current courses section, allowing people to see what they can participate in.

You could even create an account for Hyperlink.Academy on social, whether Twitter or Mastodon or whatever, to drip out updates. I could see this being useful too for promotion and general input.

That’s all I have for now!

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Cool to see you thinking more about the site / how it could evolve!

For the “Learners” section, I feel like it needs a lil manifesto section of some sort. A quick intro to why people should make a /learning page.

Agree the main purpose seems to not be discovery, exactly, but maybe more just encouraging people that, hey, making your own DIY online course is doable and you should give it a try! And doesn’t need to have that many courses, just the right kinds (cool niche open web experiments, not big expensive slick online courses), which seems to be working so far :smiley:

Newsletter could be fun, even if less frequent like monthly or something, depending how much activity there is for updates. Web app feels overkill for now, maybe not lightweight enough though could be fun to explore. I like the idea of resources, templates, inspiration for folks potentially interested in putting together a course but don’t yet identify as a ‘teacher’ or ‘course creator’. Look forward to chatting about this more and seeing where it goes!

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