Building a Community of Academics Using Multi-Sites & Multi-Networks – WordCamp A2 2014

I’m speaking this Saturday, Oct 4, 2104, at WordCamp Ann Arbor 2014.  Here’s the teaser from the schedule:

In developing an online voice, higher education faculty face many challenges and a distinct lack of institutional support. Yet there is an enormous opportunity to improve student learning, improve faculty productivity, and reduce costs for faculty through WordPress and related technologies.

Malartu Inc is a non-profit project launched in Michigan to help provide WordPress sites and technologies to higher ed faculty. After a couple of years of planning and experimentation, the project is launching its first sites in summer 2014 using a WP multi-site/multi-network installation. A BuddyPress/Commons-in-a-Box implementation is added to develop a social network space for collaboration within and between schools.

This session will explore the challenges, benefits, and risks of creating a multi-user / mulit-site community with social network features. The presentation is oriented towards: anyone in higher education and power users/developers interested in multi-site.

I’m talking about my recent experiences with my new project, Malartu Inc., a non-profit organization for creating social and web-based technology to help higher education professors be more effective and more productive – especially the legions of professors at teaching schools or that are adjunct.

Here are the slides:

Malartu, My Other Project

This is only tangentially related to economics, but I’m pretty excited about some coverage I got for my other project (besides blogging here and teaching at LCC).  If you teach in higher education yourself, you might be interested.  If so, contact me.  The article is from Converge Magazine yesterday:

Economics Professor Starts Designing Tools for Faculty That Meet Their Needs

By Tanya Roscorla
on November 21, 2011 Policy

While vendors make plenty of technology platforms and services that serve students, most of them don’t meet professors’ needs, according to the experience of Jim Luke, an economics professor from Lansing College.

They require a major time investment and make professors’ jobs harder, he said.

“Just in 10 years the amount of time and work it takes to be a good teacher has just really skyrocketed, and a good bit of it is because of the software and the systems. They are not friendly and easy to use.”

While billions of dollars pour into campus enterprise technology and services for students, few people look at the teacher’s job. And few people create tools for teachers that they need.

For these reasons, Luke decided to start a nonprofit called Malartu Inc. While projects exist in the early stages, he hopes that the tools he envisions will help professors be more productive and effective.

Please read the rest of the article here as it describes our plans for TheProfNet and Curriculum Intelligence.