Hack Day

From Hewlett Grantees Meeting 2012
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see also the Cluster Groups ideas


Hack Day participants will select a project to work on that seeks to increase the positive impact of open education resources on education, broadly put. Self-organizing teams will aim to rapidly develop a working idea for a project, service, model, program, website or tool into a mockup or prototype by the end of the day, coupled with a creative pitch that includes clear ideas for implementation, funding, workflow, and future development. Participants will include a small group of conference attendees as well as other guests and members of the Berkman community.

Projects will be pre-conceived, based on conference takeaways, or newly presented on the morning of. Teams will combine the expertise and insight of coders, data manipulators, visualizers, big thinkers, community builders, hackers, academics, students and others. Teams will seek to rapidly develop a prototype with the goal of developing implementation, funding, and use models with an example workflow, and in some cases, actual data. The ideal project is fundable and implementable. Projects will be judged at the end of the day by a panel of knowledgeable, connected people from inside and outside the Berkman and open education communities. The event will not be limited to coders or those more technically oriented; it will also be a space for coming up with action items for policy innovation, developing and furthering best practices and norms, and facilitating relationship-building across communities.

For inspiration, see Jonathan Zittrain's call to encourage more hackathons: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/06/15/computer-sciences-sputnik-moment/encourage-more-all-night-hackathons.

The Hack Day will open with an informal get-together on the evening of Thursday, April 12th that will shared problems in the OER space and means or tools for hacking.

We will have visual- and game-designer Una Lee on hand to help make ideas beautiful, and PRX mobile hacker Becca Nesson to help those making mobile apps.

Project ideas

  • Please add ideas below for actionable/hackable/solvable problemss, with 1-2 sentence descriptions or just jotting down ideas.
  • Help edit ideas or draw connections between related ideas - and sign up below ideas you are interestd in (you can sign up below more than one).

Peer learning

Refine mission of P2PU as a lab.
Possible outputs: Mission statement, elevator pitch video, concrete examples around assessment, badges, and other wild experiments
Interested in participating: Philipp Schmidt, Karen Fasimpaur, Vanessa Gennarelli
Create some P2PU challenges around simple ways to participate in the open movement.
Possible outputs: P2PU challenge on how to open license on Flickr, P2PU challenge on how to use the CC choose-a-license tool, P2PU challenge on metadata
Interested participants:
Design a platform for skill share using video.
Connect people who want to learn something with those who want to teach it, and establish reputation doing it. Recent research shows how much young people heavily on YouTube to learn new things, however, there is not a formal way of surfacing these experiences outside a niche community. (Andres Monroy-Hernandez)
Interested participants:
Design a platform called "help I don't get it" that assists students and parents who are struggling with homework.
A common lament of many parents who are trying to assist their children with homework is that homework assignments are opaque and methods of doing things have changed since they went to school. The proposed platform would enable them to reach out to get advice on how to understand the assignments and on diverse ways to assist their child in completing the assignment. Alternatively students could reach out to peers or informal wannabe tutors for assistance. (Michelle D'Souza)
Interested participants: Jutta Treviranus

Reimagine P2P learning model
Project-based, low barrier to entry, simple participation for teachers and learners,
Not broadcast teaching.
Interested participants:
Micro - Collaborative Professional Learning

Create, free up, and organize knowledge

Wikipedia editing event
This will be an opportunity to learn and/or do, in improving Wikipedia content related to OER. Led by Pete Forsyth
Interested participants:
Personal Open Courseware Repository
Help design a minimum viable website for any scholar to store and share academic resources with transparency and a built-in reputation model to ensure academic honesty and encourage collaborative learning. See KarmaNotes.org and its accompanying development specifications.
Interested participants:
While certain innovative institutions as well as amateur educators have demonstrated their capacity to share educational videos online, there is no single website dedicated to encouraging, funding, and promoting the best free and open educational resources. In short, let's design a Kickstarter for OER.
Interested participants:
OER K-12 challenge - contests and awards for OER
Including national teacher award - make this miply the wniner's curriculum is open.
Compare with Tech Awards
Classification for OER objects; shared identifiers for learning objects
standard tagging, identification.
metadata and comparison to reduce duplication, cluster and merge across isntitutions and curricula
Micro - Learning materials for self-directed learners
Digital Gallery of Learning Artifacts and Material Curated from the web.
For users to collect, curate and express the story of their learning through the artifacts they created, from the avante garde pictures of childhood to notes, essays lab reports paintings, etc. Students will ultimately have at their disposal...
Crowd-sourcing alternatives
Allow individual learners in particular contexts request alternatives to specific OERs.

Classroom tools

An Open Source Clicker Tool
Build open source tools for live student polls and communication over smartphones (as well as sms-only access). See Socrative and ClassTalk.org to start. Or visit the github repo
Interested participants:
Macro - Open Virtual Science Labs in Every U.S. High School

Review, evaluation, (self)assessment

Peer-to-Peer Review
Build free and open tools to bring the peer review process to scholars of all ages. Using open source annotation tools, we can add near-infinite value to the margins of any digital document. See also Mendeley, the Berkman H2O Playlist Tool, PaperGrader.org and RapGenius.
Interested participants:
Design a platform that will allow for peer evaluation of assignments
allowing effective online education to move beyond the limited collection of topics that can be tested automatically. This will permit advanced, nuanced, and subjective topics to be taught and evaluated in a scalable and affordable way, greatly expanding the potential of open online education.
Interested participants:
OER Information Accuracy Effort
Research - Mapping OER to competency programs

Better solutions to current learning needs

Macro - Open Curriculum Pathways
Build your own learning objectives
Macro/Meso - Working in the Margins
Micro - Mindsports as Rocket Fuel for OER, Gamification for Edumacation
Teach in ways that suport metacognitive development (charlie)
Policy - One step at a time

Outreach and community

Meso - OER.org
Central site. Design compelling, punchy, viral outreach media to prime parents, teachers, and learners to see OER as a civic and cultural good.
Think of the early Creative Commons animations or, more recently, Kirby Ferguson's "Everything is a Remix" series. What are the broad concepts; the evocative, inclusive stories; the intuitive sells?
Interested participants:
Instructables for OER; stOERies.us
Video intro, how-to, and task for carrying out a project. For creating sharing and tagging stories about

building and using OER in the classroom.

Macro - OER Vision and Policy Advocacy
Macro/Meso - Promote OER with Disciplinary Organizations
Macro - A Global OER Graduate Network
Github for OER
Fix diffs and other parts of the tool. Make it look familiar to authors
Meso - Creating a Mechanism to Foster Trust in OER

Open textbook pilot program.
Design a turnkey pilot program that U.S. colleges can use to drive open textbook adoption at scale. This session would pick ip where a meeting earlier this week left off, focusing specifically on the technology and research aspects of the pilot. The outcome of this hack would contribute to a newly forged campaign to save students $1 billion on textbooks by 2015.
Micro - Supporting entrepreneurship and sustainability

Research and analysis: learning and communities

Big Data analytics of learning environments
I'd be willing to share some of the publicly available data from the Scratch online community to do data mining and/or generate visualizations that can help understand what and how people learn. There are 2 million projects shared and more than 1 million users. We can have a session playing with data. (Andres Monroy-Hernandez)
Interested participants:
Meso - Gathering feedback on teacher PD in rural India mobile phones, SMS and crowdmapping
Research - Community Colleges OER Retention Pilot Project

Merging and collaboration of existing groups

Macro- Incentivize OER Organizational Partnerships with Project-based Collaborative Funding
Macro- Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
get states to create content together

From cluster groups


Incentivize OER Organizational Partnerships with Project-based Collaborative Funding
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) - get states to create content together
OER Vision and Policy Advocacy
Working in the Margins
Promote OER with Disciplinary Organizations
Open Virtual Science Labs in Every U.S. High School
A Global OER Graduate Network


Shared Identifiers for OER Learning Objects
Gathering feedback on teacher PD in rural India mobile phones, SMS and crowdmapping
Creating a Mechanism to Foster Trust in OER


Learning materials for self-directed learners
OER K-12 challenge
Collaborative Professional Learning
Supporting entrepreneurship and sustainability
Mindsports as Rocket Fuel for OER


Mapping OER to competency programs
Instructables for OER; stOERies.us
Community Colleges OER Retention Pilot Project
Policy - One step at a time


Please be in touch with Nathaniel Levy (nlevy@cyber.law.harvard.edu) to be added to this list or if you have any questions.

  • Amar Ashar
  • Nathaniel Levy
  • Andrew Magliozzi
  • SJ Klein
  • Erhardt Graeff
  • Joshua Gay
  • Michelle D'Souza
  • Lisbeth Levey
  • David Wiley
  • Peter Forsyth
  • Karen Fasimpaur
  • Una Lee
  • Beardsley Ruml
  • Ann Kurrasch
  • Steve Williams
  • Alfred Solis
  • Sarah Kirn
  • Ruth Rominger
  • Evan Morikawa
  • Jeff Mao
  • Nicole Allen
  • Justin DuClos
  • Mary Ellen Zuppan
  • Andrés Monroy-Hernández
  • Jesse Campbell
  • Lucas Duclos
  • Patrick McAndrew
  • Cable Green
  • Steve Midgley
  • Victor Shnayder
  • Matthew Battles
  • Rebecca Nesson

Location and Schedule

Thursday, April 12th, 6-7:30pm

Evening meetup at MetaLab: 29 Garden St. Snacks and drinks provided.

Thursday, April 12th, 7:45pm

Drinks at the Berkman Center, 23 Everett St. Some of us are going out for dinner afterwards at Cambridge Common.

Friday, April 13th, 9:00am

Location: Milstein A, Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School

  • Schedule:
    • Opening Exercises (9:00-10:15)
    • Introductory Pitches and Team Formation (10:15-10:45)
    • Development Sprint 1 (10:45-12:30)
    • Lunch (12:30-1:00)
    • Development Sprint 2 (12:30-1:30)
    • Flex Time (1:30 - 2:15pm)
    • Final Development Sprint (2:15 - 3:30pm)
    • Pitches and Review (3:30-4:30)