While interconnectedness is clearly the key to tackling future challenges, even more important is our ability to filter and sort data generated by the resulting ecosystem that defies geographic, cultural, and even institutional boundaries.
Reaching beyond the institutional boundaries may prove critical to promoting the Virginia Tech campus as an academic nexus as well as to aid in recruitment beyond the University’s traditional sphere of influence. In this respect, one can envision ways to leverage online technologies to foster satellite grassroots campuses across the world with minimal cost and overhead.
Imagine a laptop orchestra class where, apart from the ensemble, student members physically present on the VT campus, there are several satellite locations currently participating in a telematic master class. Participants from across the world are given an opportunity to interact with a notable guest-artist-in-residence, asking questions and exchanging their performance data in real-time over high-bandwidth network streams. The satellite locations are nothing more than a set of location-specific groups linked to Virginia Tech and the laptop orchestra brand. Yet beyond the superficial extension/outreach shell of these interactive and immersive audio-visual chat rooms resides a more profound repository of laptop orchestra knowledge in a form of software code snippets commonly used and shared by intermedia artists. These code snippets serve not only as linking threads between Virginia Tech and virtual satellite campuses, but they also offer an evolving resource used and maintained by VT students and faculty, as well as those aspiring to join Virginia Tech, and/or engage in collaborative endeavors with the VT laptop orchestra.
As users post their code snippets or provide improved alternatives to existing solutions—using tag clouds and other supporting online technologies—the content is immediately cross-referenced by the central database maintained on the VT campus and represented by a location- and context-aware audio-visual web of interdependent learning modules. The ensuing improvements are then in turn discussed by the community-at-large, both within and outside of the classroom setting. The “class” (as a predetermined span of time) ceases to exist, and the faculty member is encouraged to assume a role of a facilitator and curator, rather than that of a traditional instructor. In this environment everyone is a master learner.
–Ivica (Ico) Bukvic