Developer John Britton hosted about a dozen guests last weekend at his Brooklyn apartment, the site of the official Peer 2 Peer University hackathon, NYC edition. Guests traveled from New Orleans, Boston, Canada, South Africa and elsewhere to participate in a grueling schedule of coding, talking and planning the next iteration of P2PU.
P2PU is founded on the idea that the internet can provide educational opportunities that are more accessible and of even higher quality than what’s on offer at brick-and-mortar universities. We’ve seen this kind of thing in action before, with initiatives like OpenCourseware at M.I.T. and university channels on YouTube.
The sundry volunteer group behind P2PU, many of them heavily influenced by Creative Commons, is building a platform that makes people as available as information. P2PU lets anyone create a class — say, Entrepreneurial Marketing — and receive guidance on how to administer it and create a syllabus. The resulting six-week online program works more like a study group than a class.
P2PU has run three cycles of courses so far, with a new round of courses starting on Wednesday. One of P2PU’s most successful initiatives so far has been the P2PU/Mozilla School of Webcraft, for training and certification in Web design and coding. It’s supported by grants from The Hewlett Foundation and The Shuttleworth Foundation, among others.
Thanks to the work of volunteers, P2PU hopes to launch a website redesign soon to make the platform prettier and more usable, as well as a comprehensive badge system so students can get college credit for classes or have a certification to show a potential employer.
The grueling schedule of a proper hackathon:
5:00PM – 7:00PM: Arrive
7:00PM: Dinner – Round table discussion
11:59PM: Sleep – Rest if you need it or keep working late, going out is highly discouraged (we’ll do that on Saturday)
?: Wake Up – We’re here to get things done, you are expected to be up for breakfast
9:30AM: Breakfast – Round table discussion
1:00PM: Lunch – Round table discussion
5:00PM: Snack – While we work
8:00PM: Dinner at an awesome restaurant
10:00PM: Night on the town commences
?: Return Home – Whenever you like
?: Wake up – You deserve to sleep in if you want
9:30AM: Pre-brunch snacks – Light and asynchronous
11:30AM: Brunch – Somewhere nearby as a group
4:00PM: Closing circle – reflections, report back to p2pu-community list
7:00PM: Dinner – for people who are still around
Pretty impressive for a volunteer effort.
ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries