The Future of Peer 2 Peer University
Jane Park, December 8th, 2009
Photo by John Britton CC BY-SA
The pilot phase of P2PU (Peer 2 Peer University) ended in October, after having run for six weeks with seven courses and approximately 90 participants. Last month, the pilot phase volunteers, including the course organizers, met in person for the first time at the first ever P2PU Workshop in Berlin. The goal of the workshop was to integrate pilot phase experiences into a working plan for the future of P2PU. Judging from the outcomes, the workshop achieved its goal. Check out CC Learn’s video download of the workshop at Blip.tv, Vimeo, or YouTube. (It’s CC BY, so feel free to share and remix!)
“The mission of P2PU is to leverage the power of the Internet and social software to enable communities of people to support learning for each other. P2PU combines open educational resources, structured courses, and recognition of knowledge/learning in order to offer high-quality low-cost education opportunities. It is run and governed by volunteers.”
Why is CC Learn interested in P2PU?
“P2PU is the social wrapper around open educational resources.”
The open education movement started by focusing on the legal and technical aspects of educational resources, and how they could be opened up for use by anyone, anywhere. Creative Commons licenses provide the legal, technical, and social infrastructure for OER, enabling the easy use and reuse of OER while improving discoverability and adaptability around the world. This movement towards opening education has resulted in an abundant and still growing commons of open educational resources (OER).
However, P2PU recognizes that content isn’t enough. Accessing OER does not automatically result in learning. There are reasons why traditional education institutions exist, one of these being the social interaction between peers that enables, facilitates, and motivates learning. But what about those that want to learn outside of brick and ivy walls? P2PU is an initiative outside of the traditional institution that aims to provide the social learning structures, the “social wrapper”, around existing open educational resources.
Because P2PU is a true OER project, testing the bounds of what can work when you empower a community of volunteers and peers to learn for free from each other, CC Learn is interested in where it’s going.
Where is P2PU going?
In the short term, P2PU is aiming to double its courses for its second pilot, which launches towards the end of January next year. P2PU has also established a strong community of core volunteers in tech, outreach, sustainability, research, and course organizing. These volunteers run P2PU, and they are all very busy getting P2PU ready for its next phase which will feature, among other things:
- a new website and social platform
- an orientation process for new course organizers
- a CC BY-SA licensing policy (and a compendium on how to choose a license for your open education project)
- a set of core values that the community subscribes to
P2PU is also preparing a research workshop on alternative accreditations in early 2010, and building relationships with other organizations (such as CC Learn) to explore avenues in research, assessment, and sustainability.
What is the role of P2PU in education?
Good question, and good answers—here. Like the education landscape, P2PU is still evolving. For more reflections on the workshop, check out the video, Nadeem Shabir’s post on Talis Education, and my post on OnOpen.net.