How to Engage Learners

On the first day of an Open-Source Learning experience,
students become full partners in developing their own educational missions, plans, and decision-making.

Academy of One: The Power & Promise of Open-Source Learning

One defining characteristic of Open-Source Learning is that there is no chief; all of us are members of a network that is constantly evolving.

Participants in Open-Source Learning are active members of a network. Actively engaging learners can be a challenge at school, where there is often an expectation that learners should act like passive students in a classroom.

As described in the book Academy of One, the Open-Source Learning teacher creates an environment where students can quickly take charge and figure out how make decisions together, without depending on the teacher.

Beginning on the first day, learners reflect by reading and writing online. Apart from the skills and practice this requires, learners’ words reinforce their thinking and commitment to the course of action they support, and provide a living document that stands as a reference.

Sharing online also shows learners how information looks on the internet when it accurately reflects a shared experience in real life.

Below you can read a sample course blog post “Will This Blog See Tomorrow?” that author David Preston used to start such a conversation with a community of high school students. You can see the original course post from 2014 here, along with examples from different academic years – complete with student responses – 2016-2017 here, 2019-2020 here, and 2020-2021 here.

If you’d like to read more about this in Academy of One, or share the book with your learning community, please scroll to the bottom of this page to receive your 20% discount code.

Teachers and Students: Please feel free to use the elements of this post that work for you, and customize the approach for the learners in your network.

(Originally published online May 28, 2014)

It’s an open question.  Think about today’s in-class discussion, ask yourself what you really want out of this semester, and then comment to this post with your decision and at least one reason for it.  (NOTE: As Benjamin Franklin famously observed, “We all hang together or we all hang separately.” We won’t move forward unless all of us participate.

I’ve created an approach to learning in which students use 2.0 tools to create their online identities, express themselves, and demonstrate what they can do. 

I call the model Open-Source Learning and I define it with a mouthful: “A guided learning process that combines timeless best practices with today’s tools in a way that empowers learners to create interdisciplinary paths of inquiry, communities of interest and critique, and a portfolio of knowledge capital that is directly transferable to the marketplace.”

Students use Open Source Learning to create a wild variety of personal goals, Big Questions, Collaborative Working Groups, and online portfolios of work that they can use for personal curiosity, self-improvement, or as a competitive advantage in applying for jobs, scholarships, and admission to colleges and universities.  You can see a sample course blog here and some personal member blogs here

Several members of the first Open-Source Learning cohort made this video about the experience:

In an era when it seems like all you hear about school is how much it sucks, it’s nice to see student achievement make positive waves.  Check out this Open-Source Learning interview with students and Howard Rheingold, the man who literally wrote the book on The Virtual Community 20 years ago. 

The defining characteristic of Open Source Learning is that there is no chief; all of us are members of a network that is constantly evolving.  Another key element is transparency.  What we learn and how well we learn it, how we respond to setbacks, and even some of our favorite inspirations and habits of mind are right out there in public for everyone to see.  Readers will rightly perceive what we curate as the best we have to offer.

And all this is Open.  In thermodynamics, an open system exchanges substance, not just light and heat.  To us, the important idea is that the network can change in composition and purpose.  Every time you meet someone new and exchange ideas, you’re not only enriching each other, you’re changing your minds and contributing opportunities for others to do the same.  In other words, you’re learning and teaching* (*one of the most effective ways to learn).

We’re not limited to one source for curriculum or instruction.  We have a full slate of online conferences scheduled this year including authors, authorities on the Internet and social media, entrepreneurs, and others. 

Last year a mother/daughter team presented a lesson on class distinctions in Dickens & Dr. Seuss online (I’d post & link if I hadn’t forgotten to click ‘Record’).  Ricky Luna invited a champion drummer to talk with students online about music and its connections to literature and life.  If we read something that makes an impression we can reach out to the author(‘s estate, family, leading authorities etc.). 

As we consider the core curriculum we can look around at other communities to see what they do differently– and an easy, free way to get our hands on something better if it’s out there. 

No matter what we do in class, every single one of us won’t always get equally optimal benefit out of what happens in a 50-minute period.  Some of us get it one way, some of us get it another.  In two clicks you can have your choice of 79,248 strategies, tactics, and resources.  As you get the hang of this you’ll come up with your own ideas.  Testing them will give you a better sense of how to use the experience to your greatest advantage.

Why should we use the Internet to customize our conversations instead of letting Big Data standardize them?  Because no one knows how learning actually works–what IS that little voice that tells you what you should’ve said 15 minutes after you should’ve said it? 

How does a sub-neuronal lightning storm somehow account for our experience of being alive?  We are not sure how to account for the individual experience and demonstration of learning.  We are also not sure what exactly the individual should be learning about at a time when factoids are a search click away and the economy, the environment, and the future are all increasingly complex and uncertain.

Maybe this is why learning still seems magical.  And maybe it shouldn’t be.  Maybe if we learned more about how we think we’d be better off.  After all, how we think is a powerful influence on how we act.  If you think of your blog work as a list of traditional school assignments/chores, you will treat it that way and it will show.

If you blow off the work, your friends will miss your posts and worry that you’ve moved to The House Beyond the Internet– or that you’re still at your place but trapped under something heavy.  At any rate you’ll be missing the whole point. 

This work should help you connect the dots between the interests that drive you, an academic course that derives its title from words hardly anyone uses in casual conversation, and practical tasks like applying for scholarships and college admissions. 

The general idea is for you to: do your best at something personally meaningful; learn about how you and others learn while you’re in the act; and fine-tune your life accordingly.  In addition to mastering the core curriculum, improving your own mind is the highest form of success in this course of study.

As you well know (Put that phone away or I’ll confiscate it!), many people are worried about the use of technology in education.  They are rightly concerned about safety, propriety, and focus: will learners benefit or will they put themselves at risk?  The only way to conclusively prove that the benefits far outweigh the risks is to establish your identities and show yourselves great, both online and in meatspace. 

As we move forward you will learn how the Internet works, how you can be an effective online citizen, and how you can use 2.0 and 3.0 tools to achieve your personal and professional goals.  You’ll also learn a lot about writing and the habits of mind that make readers and writers successful communicators. 

Because Open-Source Learning is a team sport, this is all your call.  You have to decide if you want to pursue this new direction, or if you want to invent another possibility with or without social media, or if you prefer the familiarity of the traditional approach.  There is admittedly something comforting about the smell of an old book, even if it’s a thirty-pound textbook that spent the summer in a pile of lost-and-found P.E. clothes.  My perspective may be obvious but I’m just one voice.  Please add yours with a comment below. 


  1.  Unknown June 1, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Open Source Learning seems extremely interesting and I am excited to be a part of it. It is a style of learning that I have never experienced and the results will be interesting.

  1.  Unknown July 29, 2014 at 3:43 PM

What do I want out of this semester? A question I’m so familiar with since I hear it the beginning of every school year, yet I’m still never fully certain of my answer. But after reading on Open Source Learning I realized that I’ve been misleading the true meaning of the question from not what I want the teacher to teach me but what am I willing to do in order to gain what I truly want. In conclusion, I’m willing to try. To try and train myself to break bad habits and form enlightening new ones. To try and accomplish the little goals that will eventually lead me to my life goals and to try to expand my knowledge of life, education and learning before I go off to college where I will utilize these lessons to survive in a world where only the fittest physically and mentally will thrive.


  1. Dr. Preston July 29, 2014 at 4:06 PM

YES! You’ve already learned something important. And there is another key difference this semester: unlike the previous times you’ve been asked this question, I’m prepared to throw out everything I’ve planned depending on your answer. As my friend Howard Rheingold likes to say, “what it is –> is –> up to us”

  1. Unknown July 29, 2014 at 4:25 PM

That’s a great strategy because how do we give answers when the question hasn’t even been asked yet? You can’t! haha

  1. Dr. Preston July 29, 2014 at 4:31 PM

This is going to be a fun semester… 🙂 As you develop ideas for how/what you want to learn, post your Big Question and start musing out loud on your blog. Looking forward to working together!

  1. Courtney August 12, 2014 at 1:53 PM

I am very excited to be a part of this new Open Source Learning. This attempt at a new source of learning will be very beneficial because it will be something of a regular basis when I reach the university level. I will be prepared and ready for the collegiate level learning through this course. As technology has become very “normal” to our society, this form of education is preparing our generation for what the future is sure to become, technology based. Another reason that this type of learning will be truly helpful is I will be able to see how my fellow classmates learn and develop through their comments and post. Different perspectives allow us to learn more then what we would have learned at first impression. I am very interested and excited to see the impact this type of learning has on myself as well as on the Class of 2015.

P.S. I wrote an entire paragraph about how this learning would be beneficial and when I posted it the entire thing deleted. So I retyped what i remembered of my “deleted” post. Pretty embarrassing.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 2:41 PM

Open Source Learning seems like a very different way to structure a class and while i am a little nervous for it. It does seem fun and very effective, i am excited to try.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Open source learning, from the surface, seems to be a tool or new method of learning that has the potential to be a beneficial and intricate web of connections of thoughts, ideas, information, opinions etc. I’m looking forward to seeing how the year goes and the amount of sharing and learning we as a group (Dr.Preston included) are really able to do.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 3:12 PM

The concept of open source learning is something new and different that has never before been offered in any of my other classes I have taken. I believe by being more interactive through technology and social media, will not only help relate to our generation but also put a different spin on how I learn the material. I really like how the course is going to be more dependent on the students and what they make out of this experience. It’ll help push me to another level where I am expected to come up with ideas and be able to converse with other students. The open source learning experience will hopefully help me come out of my shell a little bit and become more confident with my thoughts and words. With this method of learning it’ll help prepare me for college and the real world where not everything is structured and things are more open to one’s own interpretation.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Although open source learning seems new and somewhat intimidating, it really is a wonderful concept. It has the potential to be incredible, as long as it is used and applied wisely. The connections and networking that could come from a program like this are immense and the benefits could be abundant. I feel that those who put in the effort and dedication will see tremendous outcomes with it. I’m excited to reap the benefits that come from the effort that is put into this year.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Open Source Learning is something that I’ve never tried before, and I am excited to see how much I will get out of it. It is very interesting that we all get to share our knowledge and opinions that will connect every single one of us together. The open source learning will help me come out of my comfort zone by connecting with others through the social media.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 3:48 PM

I admire open source learning and have personally never had the privilege to encounter it before in my seventeen years of living. I am excited to try it out because it is a useful tool to help me in the future. Many things you learn in school you think you will never use and I think open source learning will definitely be utilized later in life. It will teach me the skills to be independent and think for myself rather than having someone else or thing do it for me. I hope to be able to connect the small ideas that I have into bigger ones that can make a difference in many people’s lives. I want to be able to start a meaningful project and through this blog and all the others I can get ideas as to where to start. I look forward to the rest of the year and after today’s first day I know I have a lot to look forward to so thank you Dr. Preston for your time and effort with us young hopefuls!

  1. haley August 12, 2014 at 3:48 PM

I like the idea of not learning out of a textbook. Open source learning seems like a new and inventive way to redefine the classroom setting and make it more interactive amongst students. I like that it is student driven and open to opinions and different interpretations. It has the potential to be very successful and I am excited to see how much I grow as a student throughout this school year in response to Open Source learning.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Mhh I guess I’m a bit old fashioned compared to all these new techniques. I think with the right teacher and the right students, it can prove very beneficial! I’m excited to hopefully prove to any doubters that we can succeed past their expectations with this new look on teaching/learning.

  1. Stevie z August 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

After reading all of the other blogs posted by my fellow classmates, I feel a little bit discouraged. Yes, a bit of me is excited about using this new Open source as a new and beneficial way to interact as a student but the other part of me would like to stick to the traditional way of learning with textbooks, pen, and pencil. As our society adapts and begins to rely on such technological sources, my peers and I will also have to be in favor of that adaptation. Although I prefer to stick to the original, old-school methods of education, I am delighted to testing out the new technique and look forward to sharing this opportunity with my fellow classmates.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Hey, something learned in 50 minutes almost every weekday is not enough for a student who really really wants to learn. Internet access to blogging is going to be the next big thing, especially behind the world of Open Source Learning. I’m pretty sure it’s easy to access a student with a blog who has great ideas and insights, than a transcript full of grades and no personality displayed. I think it could be a great source looking back and sticking with opinions that matter to us in today’s society. Open Source Learning will determine students (seniors) potential to succeed.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:13 PM

This new Open Source Learning seems very unique. I honestly have no idea how to feel about it as of now but, I think it will definitely be an interesting method of learning to try out along with my classmates. I can’t wait to see how this method turns out as the year progresses.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Open Source Learning will provide us with the freedom of expressing our ideas and thoughts in a manner which we have not been able to do so far. Although the idea of so much liberty intimidated me at first, I am beginning to embrace it and hope that with this new method of learning we can all learn and explore the depths of our minds.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Open source learning seems like an interesting way for each and every student to grow into what they want to be while still getting them academic requirements complete. I am excited to be part of this new teaching movement and I hope it grows and becomes something that more teachers can utilize.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:23 PM

This new approach to learning is very intimidating and I feel lost when attempting to use it. I am interested in this diverse way of spreading information, but also concerned that other skill areas will not be addressed though the sole use of Open Source Learning. Possibly the reason I doubt it is because I have yet learned to fully use it and understand it. Regardless, blogging will be a new experience and it is important to expand horizons.

  1. Joey B August 12, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Every teacher asks what we expect from the upcoming school year or semester and from what I’ve learned about open source learning this question is not the same as in other classes. Other classes look at your expectations and say “well this class isn’t like that” Open source learning seems like it doesn’t just ask for expectations but rather asks for reality. It doesn’t ask just for the sake of asking but rather to change to fit our expectations and needs.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Open Source Learning is a different and unique way that allows students to not only be excited about learning but also to make an identity on the vast, confusing yet significant world of internet. I am extremely excited as to what change this inimitable way of learning will bring in my academic as well as personal career. Apart from the academic perspective, I’m also very excited to learn the method of blogging as I have neither done it nor learnt it..

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:55 PM

I love the concept of Open Source Learning as compared to the traditional classroom setting, which I’ve always liked. However as many people have said, I am cautious about the scope of it, which may lead to some confusion. Of course all new approaches to learning start out in confusion, so I am definitely interested in exploring OSL.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Typo: I meant to say I’ve always disliked the traditional classroom setting.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Open Source Learning seems like a new wonderful tool, fit to accommodate more than just one student’s form of learning. But I must say that I am intimidated by the style of teaching, I definitely prefer the old-style pencil and textbook style, but I am willing to keep an open mind and experiment. I am certain that with the correct instructor this style of teaching could work for everyone and I am certain it will continue to grow. I look forward to delving into this new form of education.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Trying something new can be a bit scary and nerve wrecking, especially when you’re producing something that the whole world can see. I get self-conscious when someone reads my writing to themselves out loud, so having this here for the class to see our own personal thoughts gives a sense of vulnerability. I think it’s a fantastic idea and a way for me to stop bottling up what I think about things.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Although the idea of using technology in school-related courses seems new and different, I think that Open Source Learning with make education a more impacting learning experience. I like to hear others’ ideas as it brings out new perspectives that might have never crossed my mind and it also further expands my range. I am more of a “keep to myself” person, but I think that this new system will help me share my thoughts more easily.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 6:35 PM

As William Ward says, “The greatest failure is the failure to try.” In essence meaning why not? We have nothing to lose and everything to gain out of the experience; I feel that the idea of Open Source learning is very appealing to not only me, but many of my peers, in the way that it’s different and walks down a new avenue for us students to learn. This new type of perspective on learning will allow us students to dive into what we are really passionate about and realize the “school mentality” that we have always known doesn’t necessarily apply to life. Open Source Learning is the way of showing us students that in life we will always be able to look things up, learn from our mistakes, and bring out what is actually important from other sources. The opportunities seem endless and I am personally very excited about this concept, for trying something new is always thrilling.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Open Source Learning is new to me, but I do like the idea of making my work customizable and available online for others to see. As you mentioned in class, do we really want to lug around those huge smelly textbooks? We all know the answer to this one. This is a more practical way to learn and spread information because just about everything in our world revolves around technology and the Internet. I’m excited to see what this ‘Open Source Learning’ has to offer!

  1. Ashlyn  August 12, 2014 at 6:56 PM

From this class, I want something different then we are used to getting from other classes. I’m not completely comfortable with open source learning, but I think this is a good opportunity to try and get comfortable with it. I enjoy reading other people’s comments and what others have to say, yet it’s difficult for me to share my thoughts with others. Possibly opening myself up to this way of learning will help me feel more confident in my ideas and comfortable with feeling vulnerable.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 7:11 PM

I believe Open Source Learning will lead more students into teaching themselves a lot more. I’m excited for what this year brings and what it has to offer. Learning in a whole different perspective is going to be interesting. Usually, we don’t get to see the work and ideas that others write down because we are usually turning them in on a piece of paper, but with Open Source Learning we are able to build on our peers thoughts and expand each other’s minds a little more.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Open source learning is going to take me some time to get used to, but I’m excited that it is going to help me in the future when I go to college. Change might be scary sometimes, but it is going to continue with or without you, so might as well get on board.”Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”- John F. Kennedy

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Open source learning seemed rather daunting to me at first because i’ve never had a twitter or Facebook and have only ever used 1 social site (besides email) Although this does make me nervous I think it’s all the more reason for me to learn how to catch up with technology and adapt more to today’s communication. I’d rather learn to use it now rather then struggle further when i don’t have a teacher and many other students who can help me learn how to use sites like this.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Open source learning seems like a brilliant idea to me, what better way to get a bunch of students getting ready for life to learn than the ability to communicate with each other and teach themselves the art of teaching themselves. As you’ve said yourself, some of the other teachers on campus are worried about what you are doing and are unsure of your program, but I personally disagree with them, this is a fantastic change from the normal, cliche teaching environment. Im very excited to see what this year will bring for me and my classmates.

  1. Omar  August 12, 2014 at 8:03 PM

I have never been a fan of the american education system, so hopefully this will be the change in my learning that will have me waking up wanting to go to school. It seems that after being in this system since the first-grade I have lost the motivation to learn for myself, I learn because I am told to learn in order to be successful. I am tired of a system that forces me to learn things that I will never use in real life or help me develop as a better person. Hopefully this will be a refreshing class that will leave an impression on my learning, and spark something that has been extinguished long ago.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 8:30 PM

Open Source Learning seems like a very interesting new way to learn that I think is a little intimidating but the only reason i think that it may look like that is because it is a change in our schooling and as humans we naturally fear the things that we don’t understand fully. I am excited to see the new heights that this way of learning can take me.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Open Source Learning seems like a great idea and I would like to think I am already part of it. For years now I have been using the internet as source of information and not just for school. Most students nowadays (including myself) know how to use the internet as a tool rather than actual tangible things like I don’t let’s say a book. This makes Open Source Learning such an ideal way to learn. The internet has become such a big part of our everyday lives that it would almost be impossible for Open Source Learning to be the next step in education. I’m all for it.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Open Source Learning appeals me by its promising asset of liberation. Liberation of traditional ‘pencil/paper’ learning techniques, liberation of hiding our technology and limiting to what great tools it can provide for education and networking, liberation to have full self-expression in an educational course. I am more than excited to grow academically, as well a personally, in OSL and connect ideas with other students and people I’d never imagine I’d be talking and connecting to. This seems like a very unique educational experience that will bring amazing results, pushing students out of their comfort zones and making them pursue their passion; letting the student take full charge of their education.

  1. Marshmallow August 12, 2014 at 8:41 PM

I honestly love this Open Source Learning concept where we all don’t have to learn from an individual that just lectures us in front of the classroom that we have all experienced for the past twelve to thirteen years, but from learning each other and how we possess different kinds of mentalities that we probably can all relate to or reflect at. I also look at this system as something that can help people speak their mind and put more of their thoughts out there because to be honest, it is more comfortable for most people to express how they feel in front of a computer screen. I hope this academic concept will impact everyone this year to branch out and benefit from what we will all learn from each other.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Open Source seems like a beneficial experience to expand my tools as a student. I’m looking forward to seeing what my peers have to say about the same subjects I’m studying, and receiving a wide array of opinions and views. I think it’ll really help me think of new possibilities. This class will definitely stand out!

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 8:51 PM

I am very excited about Open Source Learning because it’s very different from what we have been taught all throughout our education. I am also thrilled about getting to use technology in ways I haven’t for school because let’s face it technology is here and it’s not going anywhere. It scares me that I actually might have to think for myself (my new ideas and comments on subjects), but I am ready to stand to the challenge. One thing about this Open Source Learning is that I hopefully learn to be able to be comfortable with everybody seeing my own writing and thinking <— already nervous on how my comment is seen, but it is a learning process that I feel I’m not the only one who is struggling with.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 8:53 PM

It seems to me that almost all of my fellow classmates are a little rattled by the idea of open source learning. To me it is a completely different way learning than I’m used to, but I’m excited about it.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 9:08 PM

Open source learning seems really interesting. I Guess what I want from the semester is to find out what we’re going to do. But it seems different and exciting so hopefully this blog will be see tomorrow.

  1. Unknown August 12, 2014 at 9:09 PM

At first I wasn’t too sure about the idea of Open Source Learning. But then I thought about it for myself and realized I was only not sure about it because of all the authoritative figures before you that have taught me otherwise. They have always taught kids to use your own minds and not other peoples. Or to use your brain and not your smartphone. I am curious to see the outcome of using Open Source Learning. Why not use others’ minds to further our knowledge? Why not use a smartphone to utilize facts and ideas? I think the reason we all weren’t too sure about it is because Open Source Learning takes the “bad” things and uses them as benefits towards our learning.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 9:11 PM

I feel like, with open source learning, this class is not just a simple English class, but rather a step into the real world. All our lives we are told to sit down and shut up in class, then thrown into college and the outside world and asked to voice our opinions. But what opinions do we have to voice? The majority of information we are fed has been the same for the past decades. The same curriculum, the same old stuff in the book, and we are expected to accept it and practice it. Freedom of speech seems conditional because when we have spoken in the past, some opinions have been shot down. But with OSL, we are free to speak and write and type our opinions for not only one class, but the world to see. Not only are we free to do so, but we are encouraged. It will be interesting to see where this learning extends, and how we use it to our advantage in the future.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 9:12 PM

The concept of social media being used as an outlet for learning has never had much appeal to me. I prefer the traditional pen and paper approach, as it works for me. I am open to trying out new things, so my doubts about the OSL program could be dis proven throughout the year.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 9:15 PM

As I mentioned in class I am a hands-on type of learner so something as unique and different as open source learning sounds good. Of course there are going to be some challenges but the times where you learn the most are result of failures. Also, I am excited to omit the textbook learning and transfer over to something that is more appealing. I can’t wait for what this year has in store for me.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 9:16 PM

While I’m all about traditional books and the musky smell that invades your senses after spending hours turning pages and escaping reality, open source learning seems like a new approach to decades of monotony that allows us to use technology and express ourselves. I mean it could be worse, at least no one’s proposing an apartheid government or making us wear plaid.

UnknownAugust 12, 2014 at 9:34 PM

I certainly agree that open source learning is a great idea as an alternative to tradition classroom setting. Through this method, I believe I (and also others) will become a better critical thinker. This new system feels like it has so much potential for students to learn and teach each other in ways never done before. That being said, I hope that my colleagues and I will take the most advantage from open source learning.

UnknownAugust 12, 2014 at 9:42 PM

The internet is everything to this day and age. where would we be without it? you can do everything with it, buy a dog, buy/sell things from the early 1900s, find a relationship, get an education, promote yourself and your whole movement. i believe that open source learning is perfect because its experimental, experiences good or bad, it all signifies education.. not just something to follow by a strict rule book, its something to actively LEARN from.. it’s expanding the mind to new thoughts, ideas, actions..creation.

UnknownAugust 12, 2014 at 9:45 PM

With this approach to an open-learning concept in an AP course, is the type of independent learning that we as seniors need to grasp. In college no one will be there to hold our hands and give us deadlines. With this Open-Learning Concept we as individual students will grow mentally and become more responsible for our own education. Having Dr. Preston there when we need him for a consultant is what college professors do. They don’t keep track of our learning, they communicate with those who ask for it and they offer help or advice when appropriate. By allowing us to use blogs and prepare ourselves on our own allows for a chance for maturity and provides us with an outstanding amount of help between our classmates. This is a new kind of learning that is expected in an AP course.

Tyler August 12, 2014 at 9:48 PM

I still have a few doubts about open source learning, but I believe that’s mostly because it’s so different from the norm. When you spend 3 years reading from textbooks and only using the internet for reference, it makes it feel a little odd to have a class structured like this one. I do see the benefits in it though, and I personally can’t wait to try it and see how it would change me. The premise behind it is really interesting and I agree with the points made about its benefit. Books are heavy and they don’t have ctrl+f, so I much prefer using the internet to my fullest advantage anyway.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 9:57 PM

The whole idea behind open source learning seems like a very solid yet amorphous program. I see it as something i can mold to my own liking, learning about things of my own interest while expanding my knowledge of subjects in the interest of others. It not only utilizes the technology at our fingertips, but also the collaborative and network-style society we live in. I’m very excited to see how our senior class will shape it.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 10:06 PM

As being a kid who never really like structure, one way learning, I am ecstatic to try this new way of learning. To me it seems like this is truly a education that you get the amount that you put in, making it a way where you can shape your education and learn what you desire to learn. I am very excited to see what this class can offer me, as I it.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Open source learning seems very awesome and I am excited to be apart of it. One plus I see in it that applies to me is that it forces you to do your best work, because you put it on the internet for everyone to see, and when I write something that is going to be accessible by everyone I want it to be done to the best of my ability. In a normal classroom on the other hand I might not write as well as I’m capable of because only my teacher will see it not my peers. I’m looking forward to the rest of this year and open source learning!

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 10:39 PM

Open source learning sounds like something very different and a little it scary. I think this type of learning frightens me because through the thirteen years of education that I’ve had, there has always been structure and textbooks. At this moment I would prefer the structured learning with textbooks but I’m sure that as the school year goes on I will be more comfortable with this style of learning and probably prefer it over the traditional learning. This type of class seems more fair than what we are used to because it is basically whatever you put in, you will get out. There is not any room to slack off.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 10:40 PM

I am not entirely sure what I want to get out of this class. I know what lengths I will go to for success so I think this new experience will be more beneficial compared to other classes (working mostly for the teacher, where this one is the opposite and you are working for you). If anything other than mastering the ever daunting essay and passing the AP test, I would hope to make connections with people in the community who can help direct me in the right direction for my career path. Thank you for making this an opportunity for us.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 10:42 PM

I’ve never had a problem with the traditional learning style, though I’m open to new ideas and I’m eager to begin this new learning process.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 10:57 PM

Although I’m still grasping the whole open learning style, i find it to be not only interesting, but a much more constructive approach to teaching in the classroom. I think it’s a great head in the right direction of a new and improved system directed to the students of this current generation. After starting to understand it better, I really believe it produces much more positive effects on students in the classroom as well as in the real world. I’m looking forward to being apart of this great opportunity and hope to gain much success as well as a new perspective for the world around me.

Sbettsiee August 12, 2014 at 11:01 PM

When reading about this Open Source learning I can say I’m more than excited! I can honestly say I’ve never been real good and on top of “journals”. Sitting down every day and answering a prompt in a notebook, which I most likely don’t fully understand the topic, is not one of my strong points but with this new way of learning I feel like it’s going to be different. Technology has been a huge part of my life socially and educationally so that’s another plus. I love that I can be doing whatever and wherever and I could be on my blog. Voicing my opinion with my peers is something I’m looking forward to most, I love hearing about and understanding different views to given situations. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things from your class and your teachings on life so I cannot wait to get started. Being treated like an adult is a privilege so when I read about this type of learning and understanding your persona you give off, you cant help but to think positive about it all!

Noah August 12, 2014 at 11:07 PM

I am opened to new ideas. I love the inclusion of modern technology and connectivity into the classroom. I am cautious on how well this will work for my particular work habits. I am very strong headed on ideas sometimes but i think it would be a good experience to collaborate more often.

UnknownAugust 12, 2014 at 11:27 PM

This comment has been removed by the author.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 11:30 PM

I feel somewhat uncomfortable with this whole Open Source Learning but I will learn to get comfortable with it. There are some pros and cons to this Open Source Learning but I would have to say that the pros dominate the cons. This new type of learning helps me write to the best of my ability because it is being shared with others. Also, I can see other people’s thoughts and ideas which actually helps out a lot. Other people’s thoughts and ideas can sometimes help me get started on something while improving my way of thinking as well. Overall, I think this new source of learning is one that will actually benefit me in.

Unknown August 12, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Open source learning will be a new thing for me but I am willing to try it with an open mind. I think that it will be helpful hearing others thoughts because it can give us whole new perspectives that we had never noticed before. Who knows maybe well have Socratic seminars halfway across the world

Unknown August 13, 2014 at 12:12 AM

To be honest, I’ve never had open source learning, so I’m excited to try it for the first time. I’m used to just learning the cliché way in which he take notes and study from the textbook but I’m looking forward to change. What I like is that we get to learn about what we want to learn about at our own pace, which I think will be beneficial to all of us.

lol no August 13, 2014 at 1:07 AM

I’m excited, because it will be interesting to learn in a new way. It makes me nervous that we have to share everything, though.

Unknown August 13, 2014 at 1:17 AM

This semester, I hope to open up to this new idea of Open Source Learning and learn to collaborate well with my classmates. While this seems like a great way to learn and communicate, I am not too comfortable with it yet as I am used to the traditional book-and-pencil way of learning. But I am always open to new things and hope to benefit from this program

Unknown August 13, 2014 at 1:34 AM

I’ve heard all my friends who graduated already and my siblings talk about “open source learning,” how it was so strange for them. The concept is interesting, to say the least, nothing I’ve heard before. I can say that I’m tentatively excited to start open source learning. These days, technology is everything and everywhere, making its way into everyone’s lives. So what better way to keep up that trend and get the “open source learning” ball rolling?

Unknown August 13, 2014 at 2:12 AM

I’m excited to learn more through my peers this year and myself than relying on teachers for assistance and a curriculum. I want to create my own curriculum driven by my passions and hopefully inspire others with my individual interests. Open Source Learning, I believe, is a great tool to make this dream happen.

Unknown August 13, 2014 at 5:39 AM

A new and interesting way to learn sounds so much more interesting than reading straight out of a textbook. In all reality no one likes that and whoever says they do are liars. This homework we are doing, posting it out on the web, everyone can see it. It doesn’t just affect the teacher and student, but everyone who can come in contact with it. New ideas help sprout newer ideas and this idea, I think, is so different than traditional ways of teaching that it just might work.

Unknown August 13, 2014 at 7:26 AM

Wow this looks so interesting and I can’t wait to start. It will be really cool to not have to deal with textbooks and all the other monotonous things we have been dealing with these years. Being able to decide where we go from now is so liberating.

Jeff August 13, 2014 at 8:42 PM

At first, Open Source Learning seemed odd, but mostly because I have never been opened up to teaching like that before. From the get-go I thought that I probably wouldn’t like it, but after thinking about it for some time, I realized that I will in the end regret thinking that I wouldn’t because why make up my mind on something that I haven’t given a shot yet? I am pleased to be a part of the class and to be a part of Open Source Learning.

Unknown August 13, 2014 at 11:26 PM

Yes this blog and hopefully the ideas about it will not only survive the test of time but become more widespread as a tool for learning. This is the method that gives the students the most freedom and the teacher less busy work to grade so we can all get to the real deep and important matters everyone thinks about but few mention. Technology can unite a people in the common goal of learning and sharing knowlegde.

Anonymous March 18, 2015 at 2:12 PM

its difficult for me to share my thoughts to others.
the concept is interesting, i can say that i am tentatively excited to start ‘open source learning’

and ideas? I think the reason we all weren’t too sure about it is because Open Source Learning takes the “bad” things and uses them as benefits towards our learning.


You can learn more about ways to introduce Open-Source Learning in Academy of One – available wherever you like to buy your books online. To receive a discount of 20% click on the image below & use code RLEGEN20 to order directly from the publisher.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is academy-of-one-r-and-l-site-2-scaled.jpg