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Posts Tagged ‘mit’

Have you ever wondered why it is so complicated to reach a global agreement on climate change? Or why an additional 45 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere makes such a difference?

Understanding what is necessary to achieve 80% reductions and finding a solution that works for everyone is difficult, to say the least.

Now, you can try your hand at understanding and negotiating such an agreement with the Copenhagen Climate Exercise, a role-playing simulation of the upcoming Copenhagen negotiations designed by MIT and Sustainability Institute. Set up as a highly simplified “Copenhagen-2009-like” U.N. meeting, participants play the role of delegates from three regions of the world and work together to reach a global accord that meets the group’s goal for CO2 levels. A ”UN Secretary General” receives pledges from three different “blocs”, asks her or his technical staff to simulate them in the “C-ROADS” climate simulation (or its simpler version, “C-Learn”), and informs delegates of results, often sending them back for another round of debate, strategy and collaboration.

xxDesigned for 10-60 players,  the Copenhagen Climate Exercise helps people quickly learn the policy-relevant science of climate change, viscerally experience the international dynamics, and succeed at crafting a solution to the challenges, while taking a realistic look at the scale of changes ahead as we shift to a low-carbon global economy.

Over the past year, Drew Jones of Sustainability Institute and John Sterman of MIT have run this exercise for European business leaders in Greenland, European Union government policymakers, oil executives, the US Forest Service, members of The Climate Group, and students at MIT and the University of North Carolina. The simulation debrief tends to cover multiple areas: international geo-political dynamics, the biogeochemistry of climate (oceans, plants, the carbon cycle, tipping points), cultural barriers to global agreements, managing hope and fear amidst an uncertain future, a “systems” perspective on complex issues, and the technological, legal, and behavioral changes that will help stabilize the climate.

Blog Action Day is about getting involved, so join in and share your thoughts here! Do you worry about climate change? Are you willing to make drastic changes to prevent it? Do think that we’re pretty much doomed already? Whatever your opinion, join the conversation now!

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For the last month, I’ve had a chance to extend the thought/work I started two years by organizing the GetPaid project to a new Plone product project, eduCommons (ifPeople‘s team is also working on Selenium tests and unit tests in the project too). GetPaid organizing led me to what I call “social sourcing”, or finding collaborative design processes for an open community, which became my way of conceptualizing open source organizing (for a non-developer). That was a topic of real interest for eduCommons, who is in the process of shifting from a centrally funded and developed project to a community supported project.

Background: eduCommons leverages Plone content management system to make an OpenCourseWare (OCW) system. If you don’t know OCW, you are missing out on a ton of free knowledge, made famous by MIT’s effort to put all its courses online, freely available and followed by many other institutions. So many institutions, there’s actually a consortium of over 200 universities around the world (of which about 80 use educommons!). A while back, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation recognized this was a big deal and stepped up to support a re-usable, open source platform for OCW. Thus was born educommons, which originally lived at Utah State’s Center for Open and Sustainable Learning. Personally, I was trying to collect all the (playing) cards of the COSL staff and am sad I won’t be able to complete my set now! Maybe enPraxis will do something similar…? Plonistas, note that these are the folks who brough us the Content Licensing product and other goodies!

Anyway, the current situation is that eduCommons, while having a substantial user base and a solid history of development, is now going social sourced. That is, the community will now need to step up to fill the needed roles to keep the project going, fund new work, and ensure the well-being of the project going forward. This means a whole new strategy of communication with all the users, and with it more tools (yes, more mailing lists!  I also prodded them into registering the #educommons irc channel in open source style).

The project has got some great tools, and now even uses a buildout to make it even easier to check out (also check out the demo). There will be some more changes getting organized over the next couple months, so keep your eye on educommons.com for the latest. Seriously…check it out!

Speaking of which…that’s what I need to be working on now. I am presenting about social sourcing at the Connexions/OpenCourseWare Consortium conference in Houston, TX on Friday (Feb 6 @11am) along with Tom Caswell, who is a project manager for the OCWC. Since it’s exciting work, I wanted to share it.

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