A place for study
- Hola! You look like someone who knows what's what here. Can you tell me what goes on and who's up to what?
- Sure. I'll even add a bit on why. But tell me a little about yourself.
- Well, I've had about as much with "education" as I can take—too many assignments and assessments and stress to make it up to the next rung. Don't get me wrong, I know it's important and I'm sticking with it, even into the world of work, but it's always "do this to get that." I have the sense that some of it should be worthwhile in itself or of value to me, not for what it will bring me or make me, but for my making myself into the person I feel I might become. It's hard to get hold of, less what I want to be in the eyes of others and more how and why I expect myself to act. Sometimes I just wonder what it's all about.
- You will find good company here. That wonder animates what folks here do. But don't expect us to give an answer to our wonder. It just keeps pulling us along.
- I know. I had a professor who would quote Cervantes, or his book, Don Quixote—"The road is always better than the inn."
- It is more apropos than you think. You can look and look and you won't find it in Cervantes' writings. Even great Spanish thinkers attribute it to him and we could spend some time wondering why that happens.
- Please—I asked simply, what goes on here and who's up to what?
- Yes, sorry. In large part I was serious, at the root of things here, we wonder about them. Sometimes we do it playfully, but most of the time we're pretty intense about it. I'll start with "Who's up to what?"
- Good, and the playful part's good, too. Who is the site for?
- We call it a worksite. It is free, no charges and no advertising. It is part of the digital commons. It is an open site, free for use by everyone. Unpaid volunteers, we call them participants, carry out constructing the site, and participating is open, not to everyone, but to anyone who commits to participating by submitting a request to participate and by agreeing to do so by respecting our working procedures.
- Basically like Wikipedia with the whole world using it and its cadre of editors steadily tending it. But if I hear correctly here it is a bit harder to get participating privileges, as you put it. Why's that?
- Yes, we are working with the open source model exemplified by Wikipedia with a number of changes and differences. A big difference, of course, concerns size and scope, but there are others more substantive. You will quickly pic up a feel for them.
- Tell me a bit more about the users and participants. Why would they use and participate in the worksite?
- Ha! I hope you won't mind if I respond a bit playfully, but I'll do so because it is really quite important, serious. To use and participate in the worksite, a person needs to be OK with the fact that it is good for nothing. More precisely, neither users nor participants will get fungible goods form the site, nothing they can substitute or interchange for something else. Whatever value they find here they find in and through themselves. It won't bring them money, marketable skills, credentials, success, promotion, or power, quite probably not even peace of mind.
- Interesting. You are really trying to buffer LearnLiberally.org from all those promises and practices that have been getting me down me down in my schooling, even though alma mater has long prided itself in offering a "liberal education." Nothing like going against smart money!
- Well we shall see. You've hear the cliché—the liberal learning deals with knowledge for its own sake. I think practitioners of liberal education have fudged that excessively. We're giving it a try here. If we don't sustain a community of users and participants, the skeptics will have been right.
- In fact, I think there are at least three big reasons to expect the economics of learning liberally in the digital commons to be significantly more advantageous, considering quality and scope, than the current situation.
- Interesting, and I'd like to come back soon to hear you three reasons and promise to do so—you have already sold me, if I can put it that way, sufficiently. But before I go for now, I'd like to hear a little about all the links, they are links, to the left and right when we started talking. There are a lot of them and I bet they lead to a lot more.
- OK. Here we recognize that saying, "It takes any kinds to make the world go round." Or as another puts it "Variety is the spice of life."
- You like sayings, I think.
- Provided they fit the context. My mother got old and they would pop up at the oddest times.
1) A good assemblage of digital resources for learning liberally in the digital commons needs to be done once for access by all, rather than many tims over in physical libraries each of which only a few persons can use.
2) Our present institutional structures shut a lot of people out who might want to learn liberally and force many to engage with them at times where they are not strongly predisposed to do so. Liberal learning in the digital commons will have a much larger pool of potential participants.
3) The urge to imbue learning liberally with fungible characteristics drives its becoming an academic specialty which costs a lot to support in the way of salaries for its specialist practitioners and their urge maintain their status as specialists leads to the creation of esoteric jargons and methodologies, narrowing the scope of interest of work in the liberal arts.
- studium (Latin)
- earnest application, enthusiasm, eagerness, object of interest, aim, concern, activity, pursuit, devotion, support, intellectual activity, especially of a literary kind, pursuit of a particular subject
- studēre (Latin)
- to strive after, to concentrate on, to support, favour, to apply oneself, study
- Use it and construct it
- that's LearnLiberally.org. In due course, it will show how traditions of liberal learning can thrive as never before—an egalitarian ethos of self-formation in the digital commons. All are invited—but their task requires upending familiar expectations.
A place for study
- Whoa! I like your call for small ball! What's this "upending familiar conventions"?
- Well, Right, Left, Middle (if there is one) pretty much agree that education is something that schools, curricula, texts, and teachers communicate to kids and youths. I'm sure you are familiar with all the assessments that attest to how well that all takes place.
- Yeah. I stuck it out through my MBA and now I'm making good money, but the corporate system is much the same—top-down expectations that we're all pretty skilled at meeting.
- OK, in this place, you set the expectations and decide what you will do to meet them, judge whether the results meet your standards, and no remuneration will result.
- Hmm. Sounds like the gig economy taken to the extreme! But tell me more about my setting expectations and deciding what to do to meet them. We will then have to discuss compensation!😢