One of the fundamental properties of the Web as a platform for learning and self-expression is its “openness”–the fact that it functions, typically, as a public space in which content can be distributed and connections made with any other user (Gardner Campbell, for example, defines openness as “able to be connected to”). This design presents us with many opportunities to enhance learning and expression, such as wide access to knowledge and information, connection with others in networks of affinity and interest, and possibilities for both intentional and serendipitous collaboration.

Openness also raises concerns about issues such as trust, privacy, intellectual property, attribution, citation, and copyright and licensing of content. While some situations may call for a more restricted space for expression, there are many advantages to “thinking out loud,” doing one’s work in a public and transparent space (“observable work”), and narrating or reflection upon one’s work in progress. With respect to intellectual property, cultural and legal frameworks continue to evolve. Respect for the rights of content creators must be balanced with the benefits to society wide access, distribution, and reuse of intellectual and cultural ideas and materials.

EXPLORE (required reading/watching/listening, etc)

BUILD (required assignments/projects)

  • Annotation assignment #1
  • Nugget assignment #3
    • Select a passage (a “nugget”) from one of the required reading assignments for Module 4 that grabs you in some way, and make that passage as meaningful as possible. It could be a passage that puzzles you, or intrigues you, or resonates strongly with you. It could be a passage you agree with, or one you disagree with. The idea here is that the passage evokes some kind of response in you, one that makes you want to work with the passage to make it just as meaningful as possible. A good length for your nugget is about a paragraph or so. Too much, and it becomes unwieldy. Too little, and you don’t have enough to work with.
    • Develop a blog post. You’ll probably start by copying the nugget into your post. From there, consider hyperlinks, illustrations, video clips, animated gifs, screenshots, whatever. Make the experience as rich and interesting as you can.
    • This assignment is due by the beginning of class on Friday, January 15.
  • Create a  knowledge artifact
    • Teach us about something you are interested in by creating a “knowledge artifact” in whatever medium or combination of media you choose–video, slideshow, podcast, essay, infographic, prezi, screencast, etc.
    • Your creation should incorporate at least one element of copyrighted material that you will use according to one or more factors of the “fair use” doctrine.
    •  Give your artifact a Creative Commons license of your choice.
    • Post the item to your blog, and in a companion essay (~500 words), describe your process of composition, how you determined that the fair use doctrine applied, and why you choose to give the item the particular Creative Commons license that you did. You might want to think about this as something that could eventually be added to a digital portfolio. This assignment is due by the beginning of class on Monday, January 18.
  • Wikipedia assignment: A contribution of at least 300 words to an existing Wikipedia entry or the development of a new Wikipedia entry on a topic of your choice, including the addition of at least three reputable resources to the page’s references
    • Create an account on Wikipedia, work through the student tutorial and as many of the resource guides as necessary (for example, “Choosing an article“). Practice making a few small edits on some articles.
    • Then, determine an article that you wish to make a significant contribution to (more likely) or a new entry for. When you have an idea in mind, check with me before you proceed further. This part of the assignment should be completed by the beginning of class on Tuesday, January 19.
    • Research your topic and begin to make your contributions to the entry. Post a message to the article’s talk page that describes how you are proposing to revise the article. Monitor the talk page and respond to any comments or questions. Add the article page to your watchlist.
    • If you are unsure about whether your revision or creation represents a “significant” contribution, or whether your sources are “reputable,” please consult with me.
    • After you have completed your contribution, write a blog post (300-500 words) narrating and reflecting upon your experience as a contributor to the Wikipedia community. What did you learn about Wikipedia and its role as a reference source?
    • The entry and the blog post should be completed by the beginning of class on Friday, January 22.
    • For more background, see this DP@AC post, “Wikipedia Assignments: What, How, and Why.”


  • continue to use Twitter, with course hashtag (#HowtheWebWorks) to tweet links to all of your blog posts, to circulate ideas and resources, and to connect with others and build your personal learning network (PLN)
  • Make sure you have joined the Diigo social bookmarking group for this course, and add at least one bookmark on this topics covered in this module.
  • connect to and comment upon your classmates’s blog posts