Finding Your Element (aka niche)

No, the first thing students will see is not this picture of my significant other standing on a framing structure for a curved roof. Those are just my passions.

One of my major goals for the Online Progressive unSchool (OPuS) is that it help students to discover their element, or what we sometimes used to call, their niche. For most of us a little exploring is needed to discover our element and OPuS should be designed to facilitate this quest.

I spent some time yesterday trying to imagine what a student would see when first encountering OPuS. I hope the Drupal community can step up and help turn this vision into reality.

•A student will first see a map, a landscape of objects each representing a Community of Practice (CoP).

•Each object has visual clues/attributes which convey information about the internal state of the represented CoP. Variables like size, activity, rating, value of work produced, etc..

•The objects can be searched and sorted based on their name, subject, attributes, tags, etc..

•Clicking on an object opens a window with more details about the CoP. A brief description of the community and links to the CoP wiki and the blogs of the CoP members would be displayed in this window. There would also be a contact link for the CoP's guide/teacher.

•However, the CoP's forum would not be accessible at this level. Access to the forum, where community members share their thoughts with each other, would not be accessible unless access is granted by the CoP's leader.

•You have to knock! The CoP guide needs to be approached for permission to join the CoP.

•Protocols are followed for protecting existing CoP members and the potential member.

•If the CoP appears to be a good fit for a potential member the new member is admitted on a trial basis.

If you have any ideas about this approach please feel free to share!