Harvard’s First Course Open to the Public

Who else but Charlie Nesson, partnered with his daughter Rebecca,  could be responsible for what is trumpeted as “the first Harvard course to be open to the public”– and held in Second Life, no less. (A tip of the hat to Lucy Bernholz at Philanthropy 2225the philanthropy blog– for the link. ) From Law in the Court of Public Opinion’s course blog:

the course will be unlike any that has ever been taught. It is a course in persuasive, empathic argument in the Internet space. Throughout the course we will be studying many different media technologies to understand how their inherent characteristics and modes of distribution affect the arguments that are made using them.

And from the course wiki:

[T]he net makes real the possibility of new architectures for aggregating social capital. These are distributed architectures which enable ordinary people and nonprofit institutions to aggregate and integrate their creative energies. The net offers new powers of connection and expression with which to organize and radically expand our public discourse space, thereby re-balancing our rhetorical environment, our Law, our institutions, our selves. We are capable of connecting our sensibilies in the net, our mission to make our shared space grow.

Meanwhile, next week in Berkelely, Howard Rheingold and Xiao Qiang will kick off their Participatory Media/Collective Action course.  From the course overview:

The purpose of this seminar course is to become familiar with the latest developments in information and communication technologies in regard to their potentials to enable political collective action and reshape patterns and structures of power in the physical world.
Check out their suggested books and articles.

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