In addition to my work for PCF, I also am part of a very interesting new course at the Harvard Law School. The course, titled CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion, is an experiment in open access — all course materials, lecture videos, reading lists, and wikis are freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
CyberOne is a somewhat outlandish course, which happens to be setting a few Harvard milestones. First off, no course in Harvard history has been made freely available to all internet users. Equally extraordinary, the class is being offered to Harvard Extension students in a persistent 3d world, called Second Life.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, the course is taught to law students, on the Harvard campus. The lecture videos are then made available to both Harvard Extension students and to all internet users “at-large,” usually within 24 hours of the class period.
The course itself is both message and medium. To begin, the students are being exposed to examples of participatory and collaborative advocacy, posed in various forms of networked media, including: blogs, podcasts, wikis, online video, and more.
Once the theoretical foundations have been laid, the course will shift gears from conceptual to practical. Self-selected groups of students will be required to identify an issue, of their choosing, and subsequently launch a project centered around advocating their chosen topic (non-students are encouraged to create projects of their own, and/or join student groups). Participants will then extend the projects onto the internet, employing the various techniques and media studied in class.
I want to personally welcome all interested parties to join in the fun — this is a fully fledged Harvard course that begs for your active participation!
The simplest way to begin is by watching the lecture videos — get them delivered with this one-click Democracy link. To remain informed of opportunities for participation, join the course mailing list. If you’re interested in further involvement, add your personal profile to the CyberOne course wiki (our wiki can be edited by anyone). Finally, get involved in a project, or, if you’re feeling extra-motivated, start your own.
The course is being led by Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson and his daughter, Rebecca Nesson, who teaches comp-sci at Harvard. In addition to the Nessons, there are a number of talented folks working behind the scenes, or in the guise of 3d avatars, who keep things operating smoothly. Suffice to say that I feel incredibly lucky to be working alongside them.
Oh, and Democracy Player gets some props in video 3.2, from September 18th (roughly 5 minutes in).