My Goals for ThoughtVectors / Why I signed up

[Drafted in mid-2014 during the first part of the Summer 2014 UNIV 200 course, just publishing now…]

When I first heard there would be a summertime MOOC which would study the works of Engelbart, Bush, Lickleder, and others, I was very excited and searched for more details. I had heard of “As We May Think”, and have been following (for many years!) several related efforts to rehost NLS/Augment and/or reimplement portions of it using current computer technology. I am particularly interested in software which facilitates and enhances my ability to perform “knowledge work”, and which facilitates my ability to collaborate with others in that work. I am also very interested in building tools which help others perform knowledge work and collaborate with each other.  So the opportunity to study the writings of these visionaries (especially Dr. Engelbart), to learn in depth about their key concepts, and to get my head around where they were pointing and why we haven’t yet fully implemented their visions, was too good to pass up. So I followed pointers from Dr. Gardner Campbell’s blog to the other early “conspirators”, to determine details of the course and how to join in.

At the same time, I took a new 5×7 paper journal off my shelf, and began making notes of ideas and questions to explore, things I want to say and share, people and software and ideas which I associate with knowledge work and teamwork, and concepts and writings I’ve come across over the years which have been very valuable to me in this area. (I’ve made 40 pages of outlines so far, and am really just getting started.)

When I discovered that this course wouldn’t be a focused deep-dive into the technical concepts, but rather a 200-level “writing course”, I was somewhat disappointed. However, I realized that a) practicing and learning more about writing and argument won’t do me any harm, and b) I can focus my Inquiry Project on the aspects I care about, and accomplish my learning goals that way. Also, I noted from the “DS206” links from Tom Woodward, Alan Levine (CogDog), and others, that it was likely I would be learning to include graphics and multimedia in my compositions. That’s going to be a huge stretch for me, but a very valuable one.

[Added February 2016.] The goals above are still good.  I’m leaning much more strongly toward the aspects of deep-dive study and discussion of the source materials (Engelbart, Kay, etc.), with less emphasis (but still some) on the pedagogic and multimedia presentation aspects of UNIV 200.  I also plan to work in (where appropriate) some semi-related material from other topics I’ve been studying over the past year and a half.

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