OER Faculty Institute Update

The logo of Clover Park Technical CollegeAttached you will find the program for the OER Faculty Institute hosted by the Teaching & Learning Center at Clover Park Technical College. From our previous notice:

Clover Park Technical College is excited to host our first OER Faculty Institute!
Dates: Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6
Time: 9 am to 3 pm 

There will be keynote presentations from internationally recognized professional/technical colleges as well as breakout sessions on finding OER, accessibility in OER, open licenses, as well as panels on prof/tech OER opportunities and challenges, and a panel on OER and librarians.  

Although some sessions are prof/tech focused, we are opening the institute to all community and technical colleges to encourage a wide participation and collaboration on OER initiatives. 

There is no cost to attend and it is held virtually via Zoom. 

We welcome your participation and look forward to seeing you at the institute! 

Please fill out the event registration form 

CPTC Health Sciences building

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OER Faculty Institute

Clover Park Technical College is excited to host our first OER Faculty Institute! 

Dates: Fri., Aug. 5th and Sat., Aug. 6th
Time: 9 am to 3 pm (PST)

The Teaching & Learning Center at Clover Park Technical College is hosting a free, two day event: the OER Faculty Institute. There will be keynote presentations from internationally recognized professional/technical colleges as well as breakout sessions on finding OER, accessibility in OER, open licenses, as well as panels on prof/tech OER opportunities and challenges, and a panel on OER and librarians.  

Although some sessions are prof/tech focused, we are opening the institute to all universities, community and technical colleges to encourage a wide participation and collaboration on OER initiatives. 

There is no cost to attend and it is held virtually via Zoom. We welcome your participation and look forward to seeing you at the institute! 

Please fill out the event registration form to attend. 

The logo of Clover Park Technical College

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Back to the Future: Chickering and Gamson

Movie Poster from "Back to the Future." I am gathering a few resources from when I started my career in education and instructional design that are currently being resurrected in the name of <insert grant-worthy buzzword here>. Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson wrote the “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” in 1987 to improve teaching and learning. In 1991, Chickering and Gamson published a book titled Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. The original article and book are based on decades of research on undergraduate education supported by the Association for Higher Education, The Education Commission of States, and the Johnson Foundation. There is a lot here that you will also find in ACUE, TILT, Open Pedagogy and other more modern frameworks for teaching and learning. It there are any fins on this old Cadillac, it is number 6, “Communicate high expectations,” but when you look under the hood on that one, there is still a spirit of student-centered learning.

The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

  1. Encourage contact between students and faculty
  2. Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students
  3. Encourage active learning
  4. Give prompt feedback
  5. Emphasize time on task
  6. Communicate high expectations
  7. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning

From “The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education”

“These seven principles are not ten commandments shrunk to a 20th century attention span. They are intended as guidelines for faculty members, students, and administrators – with support from state agencies and trustees — to improve teaching and learning. These principles seem like good common sense, and they are — because many teachers and students have experienced them and because research supports them. They rest on 50 years of research on the way teachers teach and students learn, how students work and play with one another, and how students and faculty talk to each other.”


The following information includes an explanation of each of the Seven Principles of Undergraduate Education as well as examples of how an instructor may apply the seven principles in the development and instruction of all courses including online, hybrid and regular enrollment courses.

  1. Encourage contact between students and faculty
    “Frequent interaction with faculty members is more strongly related to satisfaction with college than any other type of involvement, or, indeed, any other student or institutional characteristic.” (Astin, 1985, pp. 133-151)

    1. Utilize virtual or regular classroom environments to hold synchronous class activities and provide opportunities for the students to interact with the instructor at a distance by using a web conferencing tool.
    2. Provide personal feedback quickly to students on assignments and assessments. Utilize rubrics for projects and papers to standardize grading and provide built-in feedback.
    3. Hold office hours (virtual and in person), make opportunities for review sessions and study groups using a virtual classroom, and/or utilize the chat feature of your Learning Management System (LMS).
    4. Provide opportunities for discussions using discussion activities and comment on student posts to show a “presence” in the course.
    5. Give work and study groups discussion boards for their use and “check-in” to see how students are progressing.
  2. Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students: “Students’ academic performance and satisfaction at college are tied closely to involvement with faculty and other students around substantive work.” (Light,1992, p. 18)
    1. Provide opportunities for collaboration such as discussion, group projects and assignments, and peer evaluation.
    2. Utilize the tools in an LMS to provide students with a discussion and collaboration space.
  3. Encourage active learning: Learning is not a spectator sport. To internalize learning students must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives.
    1. Provide opportunities for students to interact with content during presentations or lectures utilizing tools such as video discussion platforms, social media, or live classroom response systems.
    2. Allow students to relate the material to their own interests through reflections and presentations.
    3. Encourage self-evaluation and peer-review.
    4. Provide students with rubrics for evaluation and have multiple students evaluate the same project by using the collaboration tools, chats, or discussion boards.
    5. Discover the various communication tools and applications of your LMS to provide opportunities to interact with the content and each other.
  4. Provide effective and prompt feedback: Recognizing and understanding gaps of knowledge will help guide student learning.
    1. Respond to student queries and problems quickly.
    2. Utilize discussions, polling, and/or social media during or after a lecture to provide opportunities for students to ask questions.
    3. Utilize rubrics for grading projects and papers to standardize grading and provide prompt feedback to students.
    4. Utilize low-stakes assessments to provide students with frequent assessments of their learning and provide frequent feedback on progress.
    5. Provide frequently updated student grades by using the gradebook feature in your LMS.
    6. Respond to distance students within a 24 hour time period if possible. If this is not realistic for the instructor, outline in the syllabus what students can expect for instructor response times.
  5. Emphasize time on task: Time plus energy equals learning. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty.
    1. Emphasize deadlines in the syllabus and provide students with reminders about upcoming deadlines. Utilize social network platforms or LMS announcements to send brief reminders or bits of information to students.
    2. Give consistent and frequent deadlines to distance students such as weekly discussion requirements by the same day/time each week, low-stakes quizzes on the same day/time each week, and weekly reminders to continue work on long-term projects.
    3. Break large projects into smaller, more manageable pieces and require students to hit benchmarks during the duration of the project. For example, require students to present a brainstorming list, an outline, resources, a rough draft, and a final draft to a paper or project.
  6. Communicate high expectations: Expect more and you will get it. High expectations are important for everyone – for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well-motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    1. Provide students with detailed explanations and expectations in the syllabus.
    2. Provide students with rubrics for projects and papers detailing what must be accomplished and the grade value for each item. This allows students to know exactly what is expected of them.
    3. Set realistic expectations for course activities and assessments that communicate high but attainable expectations.
  7. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning: Many roads lead to learning. Different students bring different talents and styles to college. Students need opportunities to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learn in new ways that do not come so easily.
    1. Develop and implement the course using proven learning theories.
    2. Incorporate a variety of activities into the course including collaboration, group and individual projects, papers, low stakes assessments, and discussions to reach a variety of learning preferences.
    3. Present course materials in a variety of methods to reach the most modalities possible.

References and Additional Resources for Exploration

AAHE’s seven principles for good practice applied to an online literacy course: A scholarly article from the Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges discussing the application of the Seven Rules of Undergraduate Education in an undergraduate online course at Middle Tennessee State University. The paper discusses best practices, course development, class procedures and recommendations.
The Implications of the Norms of Undergraduate College Students for Faculty Enactment of Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education: A scholarly article from the Peabody Journal of Education examining empirical evidence for the support of the Seven Rules of Undergraduate Education. The article includes the implication for theory and practice in the context of the study.

Adapted from “Chickering and Gamsom.” (n.d.) Information Technology. University of Florida.


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Hypothesis and Social Annotation

We had a great presentation today on using Hypothes.is in online classes at Clover Park Technical College. I presented, but it was really important to have the eLearning Office represented (Cindy Overton) and my fellow instructional designer and Chinese Culture teacher Liu Yang who uses Hypothesis in her classes at Pierce College. It takes a village! Here are the slides – the video will be up in YouTube and linked here when available.

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Webinar: Indigenous Open Educational Resources

This came in over the wire from Amanda Coolidge via Cable Green:

Indigenous Open Educational Resources: Respectfully Uplifting Community Voice

Date: May 24, 2022 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Open education is grounded in Western understandings of ownership, protocol, and accessibility. Often open education has a goal of making all knowledges available for all peoples. Within Canadian copyright law is tension with Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous ways of knowing and being. The open education community must carefully consider Indigenous knowledges and self-determination, which are deeply rooted in community-defined ethics and protocols and do not fit into ordinary academic contexts. This session will explore some of the concerns around open educational resources (OER) and Indigenous knowledges while using Indigenous worldviews to better understand how Indigenous knowledges can be respectfully incorporated into OER.


Kayla Lar-Son is of Métis and Ukranian settler ancestry, originally from Treaty Six territory, Tofield, Alberta. She currently resides on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. At UBC Kayla is the Indigenous programs and services librarian at the Xwi7xwa Library and the program manager librarian for the Indigitization program. Kayla is also a co-host of masinahikan iskwêwak: the Book Women Podcast.

Register now!

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Connection Between Interactivity and Retention in Online Courses

The 90s internet.This is an old post that I resurrected from a previous iteration of this blog. I am putting it here because I am going to update this research, but I thought it might be helpful to others to see that despite conversations, publications and presentations on the necessity for engagement in online learning, we are still getting LMSs and “platforms” that see online teaching and learning as content delivery. URLs were updated through Archive.Org where possible. 


From 2009:

Here is some preliminary research/reading into online course retention, completion, success and interactivity. It is a claim I make in our handbook of online course development, I want to make sure our research is up to date. If you have anything to add to this, PLEASE comment with a link. You will be remembered in a later annotated bibliography!

This kind of research is essential for understanding the importance of group projects, social media, and utilizing a wide-variety of networking modes in online courses. It is not enough to have information on the web or in a network. Students and teachers need to engage with this information, interact in a network in particular ways. This becomes a course design strategy. Some of these articles are older because I believe that they hold some keys to how we should be looking at social networks and media – both of which hold a potential for interaction undreamed of in the early 90s.

Aldrich, Clark (2009) A Taxonomy of Interactivity. Clack Aldrich On Serious Games and Simulations. http://clarkaldrich.blogspot.com/2008/08/taxonomy-of-interactivity.html

Anderson, Terry (2003) Getting the Mix Right Again: an updated and theoretical rationale for interaction. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 4, No 2. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/149/230

Henry, Jim and Meadows, Jeff (2008) An Absolutely Riveting Online Course: Nine principles for excellence in web-based teaching. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology / La revue canadienne de l’apprentissage et de la technologie, V34(1) Winter / Hiver, 2008. https://web.archive.org/web/20090221225201/https://cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/179/177

Herbert, Michael (2006) Staying the Course: A Study in Online Student Satisfaction and Retention. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume IX, Number IV, Winter 2006. University of West Georgia, Distance Education Centerhttp://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter94/herbert94.htm.

“Incorporating Interaction in Your Distance Learning Course.” (2005) Academic Technology Center. Worcester Polytechnic Institute. http://web.archive.org/web/20060909200751/http://www.wpi.edu/Academics/ATC/Collaboratory/Teaching/interaction.html

O’Brien, B. (2002). Online Student Retention: Can It Be Done?. In P. Barker & S. Rebelsky (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2002 (pp. 1479-1483). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. http://www.editlib.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Reader.PrintAbstract&paper_id=9973

Roblyer, M. D. and Ekhaml, Leticia (2000) How Interactive Are Your Distance Courses? A rubric for assessing interaction in distance learning. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume III, Number II, Spring, 2000. State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center. http://www.westga.edu/~distance/roblyer32.html

Sims, Rod (2000) An Interactive Conundrum: Constructs of interactivity and learning theory. Australian Journal of Educational Technology. 2000, 16(1), 45-57. https://web.archive.org/web/20090209014922/http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet16/sims.html

Shedroff, Nathan (1994) Information Interaction Design: A Unified Field Theory of Design. https://web.archive.org/web/20090327211533/http://nathan.com/thoughts/unified/

Thorpe, Mary (2008) “Effective Online Interaction: Mapping course design to bridge from research to practice.” Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 57-72. https://web.archive.org/web/20090213102536/http://ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet24/thorpe.html

Thurmond, Veronica and Wambach, Karen (2004) Towards an Understanding of Interactions at a Distance. http://web.archive.org/web/20080130193445/http://www.eaa-knowledge.com/ojni/ni/8_2/interactions.htm.

What I am reading now:
Journal of Interactive Online Learning http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/
This is a publication of the Virtual Center for Online Learning Research. There are articles here from 2002 to the present.

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AI and the Unknowing Knower

“Things are not as they are seen, nor are they otherwise.” – Lankavatara Sutra

Ink painting of Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma, an epistemological curmudgeon from the West, brought Buddhism to China.

In education, there has been increased discussion of Artificial Intelligence because of the growing interest in Learning Analytics by education institutions. Learning Analytics requires a lot of examination and this is not really that post. I am interested in what we think we are talking about when we use terms like “intelligence.” How we define “intelligence” can make a huge difference in how we think about AI. Stephen Downes recently posted a link to the article “What AI Cannot Do” by Chen Qifan and Kai-fu Lee. Qifan and Lee say that AI will not be able to be creative, empathetic, or dexterous. The tenor of the article is upbeat and concludes that “…AI will liberate us from routine work, give us an opportunity to follow our hearts, and push us into thinking more deeply about what really makes us human.” While this is a noble pursuit, I would push us first to understand the whole idea of intelligence in the first place.

I am not a fan of phrases like “artificial intelligence.” Intelligence can’t be “artificial” or it is not intelligence. I apparently have a very specific definition of “intelligence.” One thing I do know is that by using phrases like “artificial” (or “virtual”) we remove ourselves from that which is being declared artificial or virtualized. The artificial seems to be more ethically malleable than the real. It is a separation, an artificial one, that shifts us one step away from any ethical responsibility. (Just look at Zuckerberg or Bezos if you doubt this). We abdicate our responsibility for what happens in the virtual or what an artificial intelligence might do with our data in the name of whatever benefit (whether pedagogical or monetary) when there is nothing really “artificial” about artificial intelligence.

Let’s take a closer look at the term “artificial intelligence.” I am still trying to figure out what is artificial about AI and what the intelligence might be. Is the artificial bit supposed to be its non-humanness? It is created by humans using human language and human algorithms, hosted on human servers and directed to particular human ends (marketing, surveillance, etc.) via human agency. What makes this “intelligence” and not just a complicated tool? But what then is intelligence?  Looking in all of this for a definition in AI is difficult.

The Oxford Dictionary defines intelligence as “The faculty of understanding; intellect…a mental manifestation of this faculty, a capacity to understand.” That definition feels like they are just passing the buck to another ill-defined word: understanding. But a “capacity to understand” implies that the knower knows that they know (Steven Connor covers this brilliantly). Machines can find, record, and store information but can they understand it? Do they know its meaning? Will they ever know that they know? And if they did, what purpose would that serve?

John Searle claimed in his 1999 book Mind, Language, and Society that the “…appropriately programmed computer really is a mind, in the sense that computers given the right programs can be literally said to understand and have other cognitive states.” Here we can only imagine what “appropriately programmed” means: and what are “the right programs”? The literature of AI is filled with promises of future sentience. I love that phrase “can be literally said to” – it is so passive – they can also be literally said to not understand. And what defines a “cognitive state”? What if the mind is not a collection of specific mechanistic or chemical conditions? The “mind” (thinking, feeling, knowing, etc.) might be a process of the whole body and environmental gestalt. Most of these definitions imply some kind of definition of the mind or consciousness that we don’t yet actually have.

Getting back to Qifan and Lee: can AI create? Shouldn’t the first question be why do humans create? We have to know what creativity is and its connection to intelligence before we make a simulacrum of it. This entire problem swirls around our inability to define things such as “intelligence.” What is it to be creative? It is not the production of art but again, the desire to create. We create in an attempt to mediate our relationship with existence, the world, and others.

The point that Qifan and Lee make about dexterity is interesting because it is not really an intelligence problem but an engineering problem. Engineering problems are easier to solve than epistemological ones. Their idea is that AI will not be able to perform surgery because of a lack of dexterity. With that said, I am looking forward to reading about the lawsuits around the first AI directed heart surgeries. We seem to be stupid enough to let AI drive our cars, why won’t we eventually let robots operate on us?

Chess Challenger 7

The Chess Challenger 7 – nemesis of the Delta Continuation High School Chess Club

What is the motivation behind AI? It is one thing to have a database of chess positions, it is another thing to actually want to play chess. I had little interest in whether Deep Blue could “beat” a chess grandmaster. I am more interested in the fact that there are humans yoked with all of the distractions and obstructions to sustained mental analysis that can play at the grand master level and play against other grand masters and even beat the occasional chess computer. I used to beat the “Chess Challenger 7” because I quickly figured out which kinds of chess openings were part of its programming and which weren’t. Deep Blue was a database and an algorithm that was meant to review every possible move and make the statistically correct move every time. Deep Blue can’t do anything else: it can’t get insomnia, drink too much the night before, get angry, be afraid, go through puberty, have bad dreams – experience all the things in the world that prevent sustained analysis. Without the obstruction of shared human failings, Deep Blue is not really interesting to me even though how Deep Blue won and lost (and was dismantled) are instructive. We write poetry and play chess because of the obstructions that each one of those disciplines creates. Both require a level of focus and sensitivity to accomplish.

Artificial intelligence is actually a crude mechanism and a subset of human “intelligence.” AI does not “know” things: it can gather data and process it, but it is never aware that it knows something. In order for something to be known there must be a knower. This is why knowledge can not be stored in a non-human appliance. Information can be stored, but knowledge is the engagement and use of that information. This requires awareness. All of our definitions of knowledge require some kind of awareness. We leave ourselves in a terrible ethical bind when we abandon that notion of intelligence: we are either assuming that awareness is not needed for knowledge or we are assuming that the algorithm itself is aware. In either view, we dislocate human agency, and through that, abdicate our own responsibility for the actions we set in motion when we release AI into the wild.

Intelligence requires the engagement of obstruction and the presence of a motivation. I think this is what Aristotle was getting at when he said in the opening of the Metaphysics “All men desire to know.” This is the motivation: we are curious – we use our senses to engage with the world and our brains have evolved to look for similarities, differences, utility, principles – all kinds of things run through our head as we attempt to make sense of the world. All of this constitutes what Nietzsche called “perspective” – what we think we know is subjective because we process the world with our unique experience as well as the senses.

I am not a fan of how many questions are in this posting. But I am not a fan of how few questions educators are posing to those currently touting VR and AI as solutions to problems in education: especially when they are promoting these tools as a “brain science” approach to education. For too long education institutions have accepted the responsibility for student safety, accessibility, and data security. This needs to be put back on to the companies that are building these tools by creating purchasing rubrics that address safety, accessibility, and data security.

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Instructional Design Resources for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This post is to provide resources for future collaboration with faculty and other instructional designers. If you have rubrics, tools, frameworks, or other resources that you have found useful, please comment below. This is a short list to get IDs started and to help guide the research for future rubrics. Much of this was used in my work at the WA SBCTC Highschool+ and Dept. of Corrections projects. If you have rubrics, tools, frameworks, or other resources that you have found useful, please comment below.

Graphic representation of DEI strategies in instructional design

Antoine, Asma-na-hi, et al. (2018). Pulling Together: A guide for Indigenization of post-secondary institutions. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. (An open textbook)

Brantmeier, Ed, et al. (n.d.). Inclusion By Design: Survey Your Syllabus and Course Design – A Worksheet. James Madison University. Harrisonburg, VA (A rubric)

Bryan-Gooden, J, et al (2019). Culturally Responsive Curriculum Scorecard. New York: Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, New York University.

Checklist for an Inclusive Classroom Community. (2006). Adapted from A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction, Grades 4 to 6 – Volume Two Assessment,
2006, pp. 5–8.

Gamrat, Chris (2020). Inclusive Teaching and Course Design. Educause Review.

Garibay, Juan C. (2015) Creating a Positive Classroom Climate for Diversity. UCLA Diversity & Faculty Development.

Major, Amielle (2020). How to Develop Culturally Responsive Teaching for Distance Learning. KQED. Mind/Shift.

Milheim, Karen (2017). A Fundamental Look at Cultural Diversity and the Online Classroom. eLearn, vol 2017, issue 2.

Peralta Community College District Equity Rubric. (2018) Peralta Online Equity Initiative. Peralta Community College. Oakland, Ca.

Sneed, Obiageli (2016). Fostering an Inclusive Environment when Developing Online Courses. Teach Online. Arizona State University.

Snively, Gloria and Williams, Wanosts’a7 Lorna, eds. (2017). Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science, Book 1. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. (An open textbook)

Snively, Gloria and Williams, Wanosts’a7 Lorna, eds. (2018). Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science, Book 2. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. (An open textbook)

Restoule, Jean-Paul and Chaw-win-is. (2017) Old Ways Are the New Way Forward: How Indigenous pedagogy can benefit everyone. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s IdeaLab

Watch this space for a later developments…

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Khipu: Ancient Peruvian Computers

A Spanish contemporary drawing of an Incan with a khipu.

“El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno” by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (1615)

What is a “khipu”? A khipu (also know as a “quipu”) is an ingenious Incan counting and record keeping system. According to the British Museum, it was first introduced by the Wari and further developed by the Incas. A khipu was made up of a series of cords in rows: each one is colored, ordered, twisted, and knotted in such a way as to store information. Virtually anything could be recorded or expressed in a khipu like census records, business transactions, debts, and harvest records. According to the BM, Spanish chronicles mention that they were also used to record histories, poems, and songs. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica: “The type of knot tied and its position on the pendant relative to the top cord records a numeric value. Three basic types of knot, each with two possible orientations (called “S” and “Z”), have been identified: an “E-knot,” or figure-8 knot…represents a single unit; a “long knot” in which the cord is wrapped around itself from 2 to 9 times represents a number from 2 to 9, depending on the number of times it is wrapped; and a single knot (a simple standard knot) represents 10 or multiple powers of 10, depending on its relative position to the top cord. The numeric value of a cluster of single knots is determined by counting the number of knots in the cluster and multiplying it by 10.” There are over 600 examples in museums world-wide, and archeologists are discovering more all the time. The important work of of gathering together the collections into an online database at Harvard is happening now.

What is interesting to me about this is that this tool and the method for using it, is that it created another class of occupations: the Khipu Specialist. It took a lot to learn this complex system and the khipu created a class of information managers who were the only ones well-versed enough into the system to use it effectively. I imagine that a decline in this knowledge would have led to some very interesting problems for Incan society very much like the difficulties faced by businesses still using COBOL. As it was, the use of khipu came to an abrupt end in the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in South America which wiped-out the Inca people in one generation within 30 years. The Spanish burned every khipu they found as they believed they were ungodly. I am not sure if there was a ever a Personal Khipu which still would have created yet another class of Khipu Support Personnel: “What do you mean its not working? Have you tried shaking it and then tying and untying the knots again?”

Is a khipu a computer? I think modern definitions of what a computer is are very limiting.  Merriam-Webster online at least says “a programmable usually electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data.” The Oxford says that it is “A calculating-machine; esp. an automatic electronic device for performing mathematical or logical operations; freq. with defining word prefixed, as analoguedigitalelectronic computer.” A khipu is obviously used for data storage and retrieval, and mathematical calculations, so I will argue that it is a form of analogue computer. I will class this along with various examples or kinds of abaci known to be in use for the last 5000 years.

Despite these examples, we often act like computing and data management is something new. We use language like “artificial intelligence” where the intelligence (or the lack of it) is clearly coming from us. Humans count things. I wonder if there is not a stage in our evolution that we should call “Homo Computatis”? We seem to do this naturally, but we don’t seem to teach it very well because we still seem to have those divides in our society between those who manage information and those who consume it. And yet, the same consumers who lack the technological literacy are the same ones who have to make decisions everyday about how the government, institutions like colleges, and their own personal technology uses their own personal data and information.

These videos are from the British Museum’s YouTube channel where curator Nicole Rode tells the story of her khipu conservation project, and how it became her favorite object in the British Museum. The episode above is a continuation of the last episode of Curator’s Corner, which you can also watch here: https://youtu.be/HrfKOQKyffE.

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Open Textbook Library for Social Work

This is a note that Matthew DeCarlo sent out today. This is of particular interest for myself on two levels. The first is that I have worked with online Social Work degree programs (such as Humboldt State’s online Master’s in Social Work program); and second, this work represents a model of excellence for any discipline wanting to support their students and faculty with openly licensed materials.

Hi everyone!

I recently completed a project (with Anne Marie Gruber, Textbook Equity Librarian at the University of Northern Iowa). Together, we curated a library of open textbooks and scholarly books for social work.

There are over 60 open textbooks relevant to social work education that we found and organized here: https://opensocialwork.org/textbooks/

There are over 100 open access books relevant to social work education that we found and organized here: https://opensocialwork.org/books/

If you have questions about how to adopt an open textbook or create one of your own, please see this open access teaching note just published in the Journal of Social Work Education:

These are a few updates from my project with Kim Pendell, Social Work & Social Sciences Librarian at Portland State University, Open Social Work. We just published our fall newsletter which highlights fall conference presentations on social work OER that are available on YouTube as well as recent publications of textbooks and journal articles that are openly licensed.

Read it here: https://mailchi.mp/288d81ade9cd/open-social-work-july-newsletter-6244478. And subscribe to our semesterly newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/dHFsIr

Thanks for reading!


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