Friday, January 12

Web 2.0 from the other side of the desk

Yesterday was my return to lecturing in a classroom setting - this time, at Polytechnic teaching an new class, "Emerging Paradigms in a Web 2.0 Environment". The class is made up of 11 students coming from various walks of life and roles - from as lofty as a CEO of a small company to project managers of a major utility in the city to senior QA effort for a software concern. The class is also one of the most diverse I have seen since living in London - it made me wistful for the diversity of my Decom dinners back in London.

Our first class was on the definition of Web 2.0 - borrowing heavily from Web 2.0 by Tim O’Reilly as well as other sources including his blog and articles by other bloggers with articles like State of Web 2.0 by Dion Hinchcliffe. Since O'Reilly has not published a book as of yet on the paradigms of Web 2.0 (outside of the $400 PDF), we have been using "live" content fromt he web to inform our discussions. For the class last night, we had a number of interesting observations and one of the assignments is for the students to explain what they think Web 2.0 is. Instead of letting the cat out of the bag, I wanted to note a couple of interesting statements made:
  1. For all of the students in the class (and all had some level of technical expertise) - NONE of them had a social networking profile up. Not on MySpace, not on Friendster or FaceBook - not even on LinkedIn (but I have since asked them to create a profile in the near future). Why? The consensus was a concern about privacy - that privacy and blending in the crowd was important - especially when being considered for a job, a promotion, whatever. By exposing one's personal details on the Internet could result in a bad recommendation, bad comments, something that could hamper/hinder your chances of advancement.
  2. Web 2.0 as a "hubbub" - what was it all for? Why do we care about "web 2.0"? To that, I gave them O'Reilly's Why Web 2.0 is More Than a Buzzword as well as the deep link to Kathy Sierra's post of the same name.
  3. The evolution of technology seems to have something to do with the resurgence of interest in building web technology companies - and could we estimate the end of this cycle?
More to come - especially as the students begin to craft their blog posts and we will decide as to which to post that comes from this class. If you have any questions or suggestions for content, please send me an email.

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