First Take on Ronco

I just discovered Patrick’s post on the ronco project, which follows two posts from Martha and Jeff on the topic. I’m not sure why I missed Patrick’s when it came out, but I have a couple comments.

One thing that has struck me about the blog posts on this subject, as well as the conversation in general, is the diversity of views on just what this thing is. I expect that diversity reflects the complexity of this project, the different (but highly complementary) talents of the various participants, and the fact that we’re just getting started on sketching this out.

Martha, Jeff and Patrick all seemed (in their blog posts) to emphasize one face of the ronco. Martha described ronco as “a set of tools/online environments that allow us to make visible the mind of the University.” Jeff calls it “a snapsnot of our intellectual life.” Patrick says, “This thing …is a something for students and faculty to describe and map the relationships and connections between the various pieces of their intellectual life.”

Yes, it is all of these things, but it’s more. It’s not merely a record or description of past events, but it’s also a text for future study and even a sandbox for future creativity. In other words, it’s something that students can use to create new knowledge.

Jeff gets at this when he describes ronco as “A way for students to make connections between their various sources of learning and create a self-aware, reflective course of study.”

I imagine Martha and Patrick had this other face of ronco in mind as well, but for those outside the conversation, I thought it important to mention it explicitly.

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3 Responses to First Take on Ronco

  1. Gardner says:

    Exactly. Great catch.

    Once we can access the traces of our own engagement in this way, we will see the network effects in our own minds, and encounter the strong analogies between those effects and the effects among minds, over time and space, i.e. civilization. Those analogies will ideally be inspiring and give an uplifting sense of the nature of one’s own potential and real contributions. The danger, I suppose, is that a sense of the scale of what’s at stake could be overwhelming. Only the energy of the conversation, and bonds of love and trust, and the excitement of creativity, will carry us past this sinking feeling (to which some folks seem blessedly immune–it’s a wonderful gift simply not to know any better!).

  2. Pingback: Running with Scissors » Blog Archive » Moving Ideas to Reality

  3. Catherine Stewart says:

    Have you heard of:

    http://www.collectiveintellect.com/

    My work is doing a trial run. It is like bloglines on crack– it covers and monitors every possible media outlet, message board, etc.

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