Minds on Fire. Open Education, the Long Tail and Learning 2.0


H817, Week 1 Activity 4

In 2008 Seely Brown and Adler reviewed a variety of innovative projects. This blog takes the innovation example of “Adding Community to Content: Learning to Be through e-Science and e-Humanities.” and reviews an example of this –  The Decameron Web.

Decameron Web

This blog addresses the questions:

  1. Is the project still running?
  2. Have any more papers been written about the project since?
  3. Has the innovation been adopted by users other than those in the original institution where it was developed?


Question 1

There is evidence that the project is still running. The most recently published syllabus is for Spring 2016 and the Spring 2016 ‘Twitter Pod’ is active. The creators of the site actively encourage participation in developing the site

“ we warmly encourage all of our users to make full use of these materials and to participate actively in the site’s expansion. Please feel free to send us your comments, ideas and, if you like, even contributions to be added to what is already here.”

Question 2

There a large number of writings regarding the Decameron Web as an example of innovation in learning. Some examples;

  1. Teaching Literature and Language Onlineby Ian Lancashire, Modern Language Studies, 42, No. 1 (SUMMER 2012), pp. 100-104
  2. Open, Social and Participatory Media, Grainne Conole, in Designing for Learning in an Open World, Volume 4 of the seriesExplorations in the Learning Sciences, Instructional Systems and Performance Technologies pp 47-63 (2012)
  3. Contemporary to the Future: the Classics and Digital Humanism, Massimo Lollini in Humanist Studies and the Digital Age, Vol 3, no. 1 (2013)

Question 3

The innovation has been adopted in other institutions. Some examples:

  1. World of Dante. Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities, University of Virginia – worldofdante.orgWhilst there is no explicit request for active participation in the sites development there is an opportunity to take a survey on any activities teachers conduct with their classes.
  2. Romantic Circles Project
    Romantic Circlesis a refereed scholarly Website devoted to the study of Romantic-period literature and culture. It is the collaborative product of an ever-expanding community of editors, contributors, and users around the world, overseen by a distinguished Advisory Board.”  https://www.rc.umd.edu/about/about.htmlLast blog entry December 2015 (as at 9th February 2016)
  3. NINES
    NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship) is a scholarly organization devoted to forging links between the material archive of the nineteenth century and the digital research environment of the twenty-first. Our activities are driven by three primary goals:
  • to serve as a peer-reviewing bodyfor digital work in the long 19th-century (1770-1920), British and American;
  • to support scholars’ priorities and best practices in the creation of digital research materials;
  • to develop software toolsfor new and traditional forms of research and critical analysis.”


The latest posting January 26th 2016 (as at 9th February 2016)


Seely Brown, J. and Adler, R. (2008) ‘Minds on fire: open education, the long tail and learning 2.0’, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 16–32; also available online at http://net.educause.edu/ ir/ library/ pdf/ ERM0811.pdf (last accessed 26th January 2016).

The Decameron Web, available online http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Italian_Studies/dweb/the_project/about.php (last accessed 5th February 2016)


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