Sketching up new geographies: Open sourcing and curriculum development

William Boyd, David Ellis


The functionality of web 2.0 technologies has caused academics to rethink their development of teaching and learning methods and approaches. The editable, open access nature of web 2.0 encourages the innovative collaboration of ideas, the creation of equitable visual and tactile learning environments, and opportunity for academics to develop contemporary assessment tasks. In reviewing an example of a teaching tool based on Google SketchUp 3D Warehouse, we have had to consider social and cultural changes required by academics adopting and adapting such technology. In using open source and collaborative knowledge technology there is a risk of work – including the work of students and others – being seen to be plagiarised, and this coming into conflict with established rules of academic behaviour. We conclude that universities must not only be willing to invest in the educational infrastructure to avoid communication, ownership, and authority issues, but, more importantly, be prepared to examine cultural change regarding values and beliefs around ownership of knowledge and the roles of collaborative knowledge generation.


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