In this 7 minute thought-leader mantra I will disrupt the monotonous droning of outrage culture that platforms like Twitter and their ilk cultivate when it comes to yet another announcement of big, serious edtech gone wrong. The last few days Twitter was abuzz with news that Instructure is being sold to a private equity firm for near on $2 billion, and before that is was Turnitin, and the list goes on and on. It will be the contention of this brief, yet remarkably illuminating, talk to resist the culture of complaint and engage in actual alternatives that provide a framework outside the logic of boom or bust that seems to feed on the reactions of complaint or compliance … drawing lines, and allowing the angry mobs and loyal fans to carry their water all the way to the bank. This is an alternative, this is a bonafide live free or die kinda talk … think Die Hard meets Erin Brocovich, with the stylistic panache of Do the Right Thing. Alas, I digress, this talk will essentially be a call to action more akin to Braveheart and The Gladiator, wherein we all can be Spartacus for a day! So, what’s the pitch, you ask? How can we reclaim the infrastructure? The issue we face as a small, education-focused web hosting company is that private equity buyouts are not limited to the edtech world, in the broader web hosting world companies like Plesk and cPanel are both owned by the same equities firm, and with the buyout of the .org domain name in a fairly shady acquisition, it’s readily apparent that much of the broader web is being gobbled up by the world of finance capital. One of the great , yet now seemingly lost, traditions of higher education in the field of the internet, and thereafter the web, was to develop and support a robust array of open protocols and open source initiatives. So, this talk will be a call to action to try and bring together various engaged actors across various sectors (including higher ed institutions, non-profits, and small businesses) to try and both fund and develop an open source, next generation hosting platform that is premised around the idea of preserving green spaces on the web that will ensure an open, sustainable, and affordable home on the web for future generations. Is that humble enough for you?
7-minute, slide based call to action for open source alternatives for
The open source project Manifold will be one reference I cite for an open source publishing platform, WordPress another, and CUNY’s Academic Commons a third, but the bigger question/call of this talk will be there are no viable open source infrastructure alternatives for next generation hosting not only for these various open source projects, but for the next generation of container based and serverless applications. This talk will make the case of why such an open source project is important, as well as arguing why the OER20 community is the right time and place to start building towards such a project.