Blog for the course offered at Teachers College, Columbia University during Fall 2005

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Issue Entrepreneurship: proposal feedback (part 3)

Again, we have very interesting proposals in this batch. My comments follow:


I think ubiquitous Wi-Fi is going to become an increasingly important issue, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you do. Providing answers to the questions you've outlined will be useful to people planning to bring Wi-Fi to their communities. But how exactly will you use social software to make a contribution to the cause? In other words, putting together a knowledgebase is more of a research project. The interesting question, from the perspective of the assignment, is how to use social software to transform that information into something people can use to promote the cause. Also, how do you intend to use social software to link local and global groups interested in this issue? I'm sure your ideas about this will evolve as you continue to research the organizations involved in this field, and get a better sense of what opportunities there are to get involved.

(FYI, there is a doctoral student in our program, Lara, who is writing her dissertation on municipal Wi-Fi. It would be great if she could share some of her research with you. Sarah might know how to get in touch with her.)


You've put together a very detailed proposal, combining both the what (the issue) and the how (how you are going to use social software to make a contribution to this issue). While the connections with the local are clear (all of this work is happening within communities at SHU), I think it is important to keep in mind the global dimension of your project. In other words, how will you use social software to build bridges with other groups in other institutions around the country or world that are interested in similar issues? Surely, they can benefit from your work, and you from theirs! Part of the appeal of social software is that it can put us in touch with others in the same field, so that we don't feel like we are reinventing the wheel or working in isolation. I think you can do some things to integrate the efforts of your initiative into a larger (global) Community of Practice. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.


Disclaimer: Jonah, who is taking this course for 1 credit, talked to me about turning our final Wiki project into his IE initiative. Thus, as you can see from his recent email, he is approaching this project as an attempt to facilitate a social software-enhanced community (consisting at this stage of us and some folks from the Annengberg workshop). That's good news for us!

Jonah, I think that as you continue to explore the best technological solutions to our community requirements, you should keep in mind the social aspects as well: We have here two groups of people who share a similar interest, but who have had no conversations about the methodology or the end goals. You should also keep in mind the requirements of the external audience that (we hope) will benefit from our efforts, and possibly contribute to them as well.

I think you should go ahead and set things up, and we will have a discussion on November 1st about the actual shape that we want this project to take.

Good luck to y'all!


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