Landing : Athabascau University

Speculating about permaculture design principles and their use in online community development

  • Public

Speculating about permaculture design principles and their use in online community development

Started by Michael Cenkner July 26, 2012 - 12:43pm Replies (17)

Since permaculture is an established methodology that brings together the notions of yield, ecosystem, edge, energy, and resources in terms of specific practices, as well as principles and approaches in an overall practical, design approach, I want to think about how it could be applied to online community development.

I hope this in turn this may be of some use to the Landing initiative and of some interest to Friends of the Landing.

Full disclosure: I am only a newbie in permaculture, having completed a 2-week intensive in a rural setting last summer and earning my Permaculture Design Certificate, PDC. However I find the design thinking of great interest and potential applicability to me in my capacity as a learning designer.


  • Billy Cheung August 16, 2012 - 2:39pm

    I'm in this forum, as Michael asked me to.

    I need to login before getting in.


  • Jon Dron August 16, 2012 - 3:15pm

    @Eric - sounds like you mean a computer-supported collaborative argumentation tool. These were popular in the late 90s and early 2000s and many people (including me) tried to make them. As it turned out, it was quite hard to create a usable interface and even harder for people to classify their posts in ways that made linking meaningful. See for an elderly page on the subject. My favourite was D3E. It used to support JIME, a neat peer-reviewed journal that encouraged pre-publication and discussion via D3E. Its biggest plus was its simplicity. I'd be interested in any ideas for similar things we could do with the Landing. I think tags can play a useful role here, as can the recommendations (AKA likes) that we will get in the new version. I've also had a project that has never quite got off the ground for about ten years that represents discussion messages as place-able sticky notes, thereby showing their relationships with one another. Several proofs of concept suggest it might work.

    @Billy - turns out that the Landing is smarter than we knew! Michael changed permissions for his original post to public but that didn't change the permissions on existing replies, which is good because it accords with their posters' original intents. Unlike almost all other things on the Landing such as blogs, wikis, bookmarks, files, photos, etc, that support groups, networks and sets of people, the discussion forum is exclusively a group-based tool, that means you must be a member before you are allowed to participate - others can only watch, if permissions allow it.


  • Michael Cenkner August 16, 2012 - 3:26pm

    @Jon, Oh! That answer the question in my email of five minutes ago. So how best to deal with this situation? My friend (Ron Berezan, the one whose website it cited above) is interested in this strand, but presumably not in other strands of this group, and, you and Eric said OK to making it public (and Daniel was silent so I'm assuming it's OK with him too), but that seems not very relevant without checking with everyone else in the group, which is not something I would take on.

    So as a case in point regarding Landing functionality, can you bring in someone outside a group in media res? Maybe not?

  • Michael Cenkner August 16, 2012 - 3:46pm

    Thanks Jon for the link and moniker of computer-supported collaborative argumentation tool. There was one whose name I'm trying to remember that had a bit of traction in Canada in K-12. They had conferences at one time and used it with some Northern communities.

    I think as the discussion on the linked page notes that thinking accurately about one's own thinking is hard work, and maybe the prime reason these didn't catch on. 

  • Eric von Stackelberg August 17, 2012 - 9:50am

    Yes, our previous discussions on CSCA over the last couple of years plus how I have used the concept maps in Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) contributed to my comments on the permaculture flower with petals tailored to online issues. I interpreted it as the petals being very close to supported a specific concept or question that is in the middle while different colored flowers demonstrate the differences between ideas and I would expect through discussion the petals would be filled in. This could also be done with a network diagram with two types of relationships (dependent | independent) and colouring of primary nodes to expose the thinking but that does not get to a decision unless you allow some sort of polling on each flower (where "next steps" is actually one of the petals)

    I would venture that it is less about accurately thinking about the work and more about exposing oneself when putting forward ideas that are still forming. The desire to put forth a finished product is pretty strong.

  • Jon Dron August 17, 2012 - 11:08am

    @Eric - yes, but Michael's point is correct: it is actually difficult to a) do the metacognitive thing and b) make an interface that is simple and intuitive. My own solution in the late 90s / early 2000s was to provide three buttons - post, shout, post with feeling, and to provide a simple 'like' button that could be applied to any post. Different posts were shown with different emphases depending on the expression of feeling that people used and how much they were liked (indicated using a weighted list that changed font size). It could easily be adapted to something like D3E, which allowed you to indicate comment, disagreement or agreement. However, though as simple as I could make it, it was still more than most people found easy.

  • Eric von Stackelberg August 18, 2012 - 11:55am

    I would find changing font size difficult to work with. Interesting to see a couple of variables coming out here, one which is agreement and a second which strength in supporting the topic. While I prefer the visual of flowers or concept map it might be useful to have dropdown buttons for agreement (-5 to +5), relevance to question (-5 to +5) or something similar to the Wikipedia approach of Trustworthy, Objective, Complete, Well-written with five stars. (but with categories relevant to us).

    Are we going to move this discussion to make it easier for Ron to participate?

  • Michael Cenkner August 20, 2012 - 7:23am

    Hi Eric,

    No, I'm going to ask Jon to add Ron as a user, which seems to be the only way for an outside user to access a forum.

    In the meantime I'd invite consideration of how the current topic as identified by Jon of "computer-supported collaborative argumentation tools" may or may not relate to permaculture principles, which I have pasted below as presented by Ron. 

    Perhaps "the problem is the solution" (#14, below) could be an entry point, if the problem is "people/students/we all write things without metacognitive awareness, i.e. get off-task or present inadequate argumentation" or maybe "in a system with a lot of entries it is difficult to keep track of themes." Since this strand is about design, we should ask what problem(s) we are trying to solve as a starting point. Maybe I'm off in my definition of the problem, how would others define it?

    Personally I don't think from the technology standpoint metacognition along these lines is much of an issue since Google, because it is so easy to search and with formal tagging it became that much easier. However it is an issue from e.g. a pedagogy point of view. I advocate the use of de Bono's Six Thinking Hats for this. I have often thought of some kind of "mask" that would be a kind of form that students would enter answers based on the six thinking modalities in de Bono's model (information, feelings, metacognative, logical positive, logical negative and creative).




    1. Protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour.
      Developing a thorough understanding of the design site including its history, topography, functioning ecology, soil conditions, sunlight patterns, movement of water, human engagement in the space, wildlife patterns, etc. is a critical step in preparing to make any changes. Sometimes this is referred to as “sector analysis.” If the site is not properly understood, a variety of errors in the design can occur.
    2. Start small. Make the least change for the greatest effect.
      The best permaculture designs begin small and are scaled-up after positive affirmation or feedback from the design system itself is received. In practical terms, we need to learn our lessons and make our mistakes on a small scale rather than a large one. This saves time, effort and money. Sometimes a simple intervention or change or will provide greater results than a larger, more expensive one.
    3. Obtain a yield. The yields of a system are theoretically unlimited.
      In technical terms, a “yield” is any product of the created system that can meet a human or non-human need. Some yields will need to be invested back into the system (i.e. biomass into soil) while others can be enjoyed by the people who are engaged with it. Examples of potential material yields from a system include food, water, energy, medicine, fibre, building materials, bio-diversity, soil, bio-mass, etc. while non-material yields may include beauty, learning, wisdom, solitude, recreation, community, income, etc. The nature of nature is that it becomes increasingly productive over time (i.e. cleared land eventually yields a forest), and the yields of a well designed system will eventually generate a surplus.
    4. Stacking Functions #1 – All elements in the design should serve multiple functions.
      All things in nature do more than one thing- they are imbedded in a myriad of relationships performing a variety of services for the life community in which they reside. So too does each element in a permaculture design play multiple roles and offer multiple yields. A well chosen and placed tree can provide food, shade, cooling, bio-mass, beauty, building materials, a structure for other plants to climb, habitat for many species, recreation and many other functions. A fence can be made of plants that provide privacy, food, habitat, beauty, and bio-mass. A water cistern can also store heat for a greenhouse or function as a structure as part of a building.
    5. Stacking Functions # 2 – All functions in the system should be served by multiple elements.
      This principle is essentially one of planning redundancy into the system so there is less fragility and more reslience. We may have a variety of strategies to meet the water needs of the system including household grey water use, roof-top catchment, high soil organic matter, landscape contours such as swales or ponds, in addition to the conventional water sources available to us. In order to support the key element of food production we may employ a variety of food growing models including annual vegetable beds, edible perennials, edible forest gardens, mushroom cultivation and small livestock such as bees, rabbits or chickens. In short, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
    6. Stacking Functions # 3 – Stack elements in vertical and horizontal space as well as in time.
      Particularly in smaller urban lots, we want to be able to grow as much as possible in a vertical plane to maximize the amount of bio-mass we can generate and the food and other yields we can create within the system. This might include multi-layered growing areas, espaliered fruit trees, wall mounted systems, and green roofs. Similarly, we will design the space along temporal lines, ensuring that the annual vegetables are planted in succession or that perennial systems are evolving towards a state of succession in which they are at maximum productivity, and that there are younger plants prepared to replace older ones. Edible Forest Gardens are a good example of permaculture systems that are stacked in both space and time.
    7. Maximize diversity. Diverse elements with diverse functional relationships create resiliency.
      Most natural systems are highly diverse and they derive their resilience through the multiplicity of synergistic relationships occurring among diverse species. WE can observe this same dynamic in human communities. Where there are people of diverse points of view, skills, resources and interests, and when these people are able to form effective partnerships with each other, we create resilient and highly functional communities. Designing diverse elements and relationships into a landscape takes a great deal of knowledge, patience and effort and it is not an exact science. Some of this is experimental and we will never achieve the level of elegance and efficiency embodied in nature’s own designs, though this is the goal we are striving towards.
    8. Catch and store energy. Cycle resources through the system.
      Energy is constantly flowing through our universe, flowing through all matter and through all living things including ourselves. A permaculture design seeks to catch as much energy as possible (through plants, thermal mass, and perhaps simple technologies such as cold frames, solar greenhouses, and more complex technologies such as photovoltaic panels) and to recirculate it through the system as many times as possible before it finally flows outward. We can think of the energy of the sun becoming embodied in a tree. The leaves of the tree can feed a cow or a goat, the manure can be processed through a bio-gas digester, the slurry from the digester can be used in creating worm compost, the excess worms can feed fish, the worm compost can be used to grow plants, etc., etc. With each transaction, some of the original energy captured in the leaves of the tree is cycled yet again. Energy animates the system and over time, as the system matures, it will be capable of catching and cycling more and more energy.
    9. Use local, on-site resources and biological resources.
      From repurposing and reusing materials like broken concrete, tires or bricks to growing our own fertilizers (special plants that build soil fertility such as legumes and other “dynamic accumulators”), to using living systems such as “rock and reed beds” to treat household grey water, our goal is to bring in as few outside resources into the system as possible. Most systems will require some outside in-puts in the initial phases but this should decrease over time. In urban areas, there is an overabundance of “waste materials” that we can capture and use in our system.
    10. Produce no waste. Pollution is an unused resource.
      Waste is a uniquely human phenomenon. In natural systems, the output of one organism becomes food for another organism. A permaculture design seeks to connect yields from one element in the system to the needs of other elements in the system. Minimally, all of the organic material generated on site can be easily absorbed back into the system to feed the soil and ultimately the plants, animals and ourselves. Some permaculture designs will consider safe and appropriate ways to utilize human wastes (urine, feces, hair, etc) rather than using a limited and valuable resource such as potable water to flush them “away”.
    11. Relative location. Create functional relationships between diverse elements in the design. Integrate, don’t segregate.
      This is the heart of the permaculture design process. Rather than a bunch of disparate elements that have no functional relationship with each other, we want to chose and locate all elements so that they are performing meaningful services to each other. In this regard we must consider all of the key elements of water, soil, energy, plants, animals, fungi, appropriate technologies and people in the equation. For example we have a randomly placed a greenhouse, a chicken coop, a tree, a garden, and a pond on our property in which case they provide few services for eachother. However we can situate these elements so they compliment one another: the tree can cool the house, shade the greenhouse, provide forage for the chickens and biomass for the garden; the greenhouse can help heat the house, clean household grey water and deliver it to the pond; the chickens can weed the garden and keep down the slugs in a moveable pen (“chicken tractor”); the pond can be a source of nutrient and irrigation for the garden and beauty for the people in the house; etc., etc.
    12. Law of Return: Whatever we take, we must return. Do not export more biomass (carbon) than can be fixed within the solar budget.
      In order to ensure that a system can thrive, we must be sure the needs internal to the system itself are being met. If we harvest out all of the bio-mass all of the time, the soil will loose its complex microbial life and eventually its fertility. Natural systems build up carbon over time where as human systems remove carbon from the soil and from biomass resulting in excess carbon in the atmosphere.
    13. Maximize edge.
      “Edge”, in ecological terms, is the dynamic place where two different eco-systems meet, i.e. a meadow and a forest, mountains and ocean, prairies and foothills. These “edges” tend to have the most ecological diversity and the most productivity. It is no surprise that most early human settlements occurred along “edges” as the availability of resources if very high in these zones. Our designs can mimic these ecological edges with both increased productivity, bio-diversity and aesthetic interest. Furthermore, permaculture designs can create “social edges” – places where dynamic human interactions can occur. This may be a front yard edible forest garden that attracts the questions, and arouses the curiosity of neighbours and opens the door to collaborative possibilities.
    14. “The problem is the solution.”
      Very often we encounter a “problem” in our landscape or our community as an entirely negative phenomena. Permaculture would have us reframe this conception, suggesting that within the heart of the “problem” itself, if well understood, lies an opportunity or even a little bit of gold. An old tree stump that continues to sucker up can be considered a “bio-mass” factory for the compost pile; that area that is always wet or tends to flood might be begging for a pond; our cranky old neighbour might be sitting on a wealth of experience, wisdom, or energy that we just haven’t yet figured out how to tap into.
    15. Plan for decreasing intervention over time – “the designer becomes the recliner”.
      Bill Mollison was fond of saying that “work can be considered a failure of design.” While all systems do require some work, good designs will require less as they are following nature’s rules rather than our own impositions. Any landscape will constantly try to revert back to what its natural state was. By designing a system that mimics that “natural” state while also providing yields that we need, we are taking much of the work out of the equation. Indeed, our greatest role in the system may become harvesting those yields and admiring the beauty and the bio-diversity that is around us.
  • Jon Dron August 20, 2012 - 4:02pm

    Many of these ideas translate into design principles on which the Landing is based: diversity, scale, parcellation, connectivity (and interrelatedness), borders and border-crossing, adaptation to external inputs, etc. Not too surprising as some of the main design patterns that have fed into it are based on ecology and city planning, which have more than a few parallels!

    There are some important differences, though. Geographical and virtual distances are different in kind, not just in scale and dynamics. Distance in a hypertext is measurable in two dimensions: the first is the degree of separation in a network (ie how many clicks does it take to reach somewhere and where do you pass through along the way). However, that has to be treated with caution as the network is fluid. People can, for example, bookmark things, search for things, and may have multiple windows on different parts of the space open simultaneously. The Dashboard, in particular, is not just an ever-shifting map to the river of activity on the site but also a direct portal into it. The second kind of distance is broadly physical: how things are laid out on a page, whether you need to scroll to get to them, etc. This too is highly contingent depending on how people are looking at it. On my 23" monitor things have a very different relationship with one another than they do on my iPhone. Because distance is different, that means that the dynamics of scale are also different. Starting small is one pattern, but it is also virtually impossible not to occasionally start big, because more is different and, on a site like this in particular, everything is connected not just rhizomically like a physical space but instantly like a set. For instance, if I make a change to the site colours, everyone sees them at once; a search shows everything (subtler actually - it uses a relevance metric, currently very simple and based on time, but will one day be smarter). And that's barely even scratching the surface - the differences run deep and broad, in dynamics, social facilitation, logic, physics and more. Things like teleportation and the ability to occupy multiple spaces at once make quite a big difference to the ecology!

    I'd be interested in your thoughts on which of these 15 principles are translatable and how. I can see how some make sense, but others are harder to imagine.

  • Eric von Stackelberg August 23, 2012 - 10:46am

    Depends on whether the intention is permaculture to describe the system from a holistic perspective or only specific components of the social networking system. I believe if energy is equated to intellectual capital then it works quite well for describing the nested communities or ecologies in a rich social network system with them. I think this works less well for computer-supported collaborative argumentation tools (CSCA) because it encompasses only some facets of permaculture. From a CSCA perspective I think we are attempting two things

    1)Facilitiating communication to offset the loss of body language and tone.

    2)Keeping conversations on track recognizing that off-track conversations may generate useful threads.

    and as such it is only part of what permaculture could address.

  • Michael Cenkner August 24, 2012 - 9:28am


    Let's say the focus here is not in finding parallels with permaculture nor in using permaculture to describe online community, but rather with possibly identifying how permaculture principles may inform online community design.
    From there, let's say design by definition works within constraints and with resources to address a "problem" (e.g. "find a way to…"). Design is intentional and goal-oriented. Analysis without creativity and execution is not design, but just analysis. So for example Jon mentions parallels with ecology and urban planning, and I would argue the first is not design but the second is.
    Design doesn't have to be sophisticated. Writing a to-do list is design, also with underlying principles ("use time efficiently," "prioritize" and so on). There are constraints, goals, decisions and follow-through.
    Coming back then to the notion of "design problem" then, I'd like to ask Jon what are some challenges within the Landing he is facing as its primary architect?

    Also an observation, I notice how this venue allows me to express ideas freely in a way I don't have in other venues open to the AU professionals, the AUFA list or other lists, or All Staff messages. I value the venue very much, although still don't feel entirely unfettered. It really is the place where we get to mix it up, if we want to. What about a facilitated area where avatars describe specific opportunities for improving anything and everything at AU? I'm thinking of the kaizen concept of continuous, daily improvement (see Potentially that could address the design problem of increasing usage of the Landing.

  • Michael Cenkner August 28, 2012 - 6:58am

    Jon I'm coming around to agreeing with you that designing an online community i.e. with technology is fundamentally different in some ways from permaculture i.e. with living things. The thing is, living things grow all on their own, "nature abhors a vacuum."

    gary larson, nature abhors a vacuum

    Whereas technology doesn't reproduce and do things on its own. So the first principle, observe, doesn't quite apply since with technology before putting something in place there isn't much to observe.
    You alluded to a parallel with urban planning. These days here in Edmonton the LRT (mass transit) system is peripherally on everyone's mind, beccause there is so much more traffic on the major thoroughfares even than usual ("winter and construction"), but also because of a recent death in the system.
    I think what you are doing and trying to do with the Landing is more like a mass transit system than a garden. You put an infrastructure in place and then people interact with it. I'm sure you might come up with many, many points of comparison along these lines.
    I can still see permaculture design principles being very relevant to the "soft" side of these systems, where users interact with the technology rather than in designing or implementing the technology itself.
    Also the political side. I attended a public "consultation" and there is a fight brewing in that the affluent folks in Glenora don't want trains in their neighbourhood for some reason.  Some citizen was presenting a bus option. Since the consultation agenda for the meeting involved discussing colours and textures of interior design in the stations (literally), not how or where the tracks would go, the mood was rather ugly. Unfortunately the overall design appears to be headed to make street traffic worse along Stony Plain Road, as it has on 114 Street on the south side. So perhaps, somehow, there was a lack of careful observation as a first step. Also using buses better rather than laying tracks would be an example of "starting small." I don't profess to understanding all the design parameters however and maybe these are just "wicked" problems (i.e. without satisfactory solutions).
    For some reason reflecting on how permaculture design is not like technology implementation, I'm inspired to share this classic permaculture video, Greening the Desert. It describes a land reclamation project started in 2001 in Jordan.
    Although inspiring, I also find it fascinating how what we perceive to be "empty" and worse yet, "waste" is actually full of life and potential.

  • Eric von Stackelberg August 28, 2012 - 10:43am

    I would argue that the relevance of permaculture to social networking systems is actually based on the social complexity in the system. Increased social complexity can act as a value mulltipler for the individuals and groups in the system. Observe is a very important factor in success, because you might observe higher transaction rates with course (groups) while greater depth of interaction with communities of interest (groups). You might develop several communities of practice to increase engagement and discussion (eg. around AU process improvements). You might desire to increase retention and engagement with Alumni to support continous learning. Relating back to permaculture this seems to me like saying the soil is the permaculture, from my understanding the soil is just one aspect of the permaculture just as with the Landing the technical functionality is just one aspect of the social networking system. While I expect the characteristics of you soil influence a permaculture implementation, the technical functionality can influence the social networking system.

  • Jon Dron August 28, 2012 - 1:23pm

    @Michael - yes, this is infrastructure and, like transit systems, it has to interact with other systems and constraints and, like infrastructure, the small and large decisions we instantiate make a huge difference to behaviour. I think that there are two important things about technology that are worth knowing, however:

    1. It doesn't exist in isolation from its uses. W.Brian Arthur's definition of technology as 'the orchestration of phenomena to some use' is the best I've come across because, when you unpack it, it helps to understand how people do not just 'interact' with technology: they are, literally, a part of it. I often use the example of a stick lying in a forest to explain this. When it falls from a tree it is not a technology. However, if we pick it up and use it to scratch an itch, pick ants from a nest, point at something, make noises, stir paint or whatever, it becomes a technology. The stick itself doesn't change so that is not the technology. The difference is entirely in the process and each different process (and the phenomena about the world that it utilizes) leads to the stick being part of a different technology. This means that we cannot divorce users and technology: the users are what make it a technology in the first place. The Landing is not a technology in itself, nor is it one single technology. Like the stick, it can be infinitely many technologies, depending on the phenomena that are being orchestrated and the  purposes to which it is being put.
    2. While technology needs a human vector, there are very good reasons for thinking that it follows a pattern of evolutionary growth that closely resembles natural systems in its dynamics. As each new technology emerges it reveals new adjacent possibles that mean further developments are more likely to occur: witness the almost simultaneous development of every major technology, for instance, to see this in action. The mechanism is one of assembly rather than mutation, but the dynamics of change and the evolutionary mechanisms are the same.

    For more on this, I highly recommend three brilliant books:

    W. Brian Arthur, 2009, The nature of technology: what it is and how it evolves,

    Kevin Kelly, 2010, What Technology wants

    Steven Johnson, 2010, Where good ideas come from: the natural history of inovation. 

  • Daniel Bashaw August 28, 2012 - 6:51pm

    This is a rich conversation to just drop into occasionally -- it really deserves more focus, but then so does my badly neglected course, so I am rationing my participation... :)

    We tend to see permaculture from the perspective of the nominal Designer, though it is interesting to see that the 'things' we think we are designing are also designing -- or at least creating emergent behavior and structure -- in their own way, as in this link: "Stanford researchers discover the 'anternet'"

    This kind of unexpected insight is derived from deep observation, and I agree with the comments up-thread that the social side of systems design is an area where slow and careful contemplative observation as practiced in permaculture is most needed.

    It might be interesting to consider each of Holmgren's design principles (from Michael's list above) individually, and consider how they may or may not yield useful analogies and insights in online system design.

    Stacking, for example is excellent permaculture design, especially when combined with redundancy of organisms performing similar functions in the system, but runs very counter to a lot of good programming practice, where concepts like DRY (Don't Repeat Yourself) and good coding practices heavily discourage combining multiple purposes in a single function.

    One reason for this striking difference may be in the intrinsic goals of the two kinds of system. An online system is designed to 'succeed' in a maximalist way -- it is supposed to constantly optimize and gain efficiency as it evolves, with a goal of 100% perfect functionality. A permaculture or a natural ecosystem on the other hand, is designed primarily to 'not fail' catastrophically, which is a very different thing, and is often achieved by eschewing efficiency and encouraging layers of redundancy.



  • Michael Cenkner August 29, 2012 - 3:08pm

    Soil then perhaps is analogous to design intelligence itself, where Jon plays the role of nature-God-evolution. Permaculture practitioners say, "Feed the soil, and the plants will take care of themselves." As complex as the myriad interlocking and overlapping layers of technology Jon refers to, soil is however a living substrate comprised of thriving interlocking and overlapping layers of organisms, which allow for interactions at other levels, for example, the formation of the tubers we know as potatoes. Not soil as in a commodity but as an environment taking time to develop. I can think of no other analog except "intelligence." Because it is from the "soil" that the plant forms develop and so is the source from which everything (other plant and also animal forms) spring from.

    So in our social environment online "feeding the soil" is creating the respectful, interactive rules- and custom-based environment, the values of the space discussed originally in this strand, that allow for ongoing growth.


  • Eric von Stackelberg August 29, 2012 - 4:37pm

    I would have said the design intelligence is in identifying what plants are appropriate as well as the mulching processes and water sources that can work with the soil available. Effectively designing the permaculture plot is a result of design intelligence. When unexpected plant mass results (weeds) it is a question of identifying the opportunity rather than percieving the unexpected results as pollution (waste).

    When applied to a social networking system like the Landing I see both the technical and social infrastructure as components of the whole system where the social components are subject to evolution and growth and the technical are subject to assembly and replacement. I do not believe we do that much with social structures (which is why I wrote my paper on it :-)) but I thought some of the papers George pointed to in Managerial and Decision Economics on teams and productivity were quite appropriate on why inclusion of the social side is appropriate for productivity.

    So "feeding the soil" might be;

    - social norms (eg., respect)

    - technical features (eg. exposing or hiding tagging)

    - techincal functionality (eg. polling plugins)

    but would also not negate the desirability of

    - Identifying yields (eg. stakeholder value)

    - Stacking (eg. social structures such as teams, groups, programs, communities of practice, communities of interest)

    Of the 15 points Michael mentioned the one I am most unsure about is "energy" in that I am unsure if the Landing objective is energy and commitment or knowledge exchange. If it is knowledge exchange perhaps that should be exchanged for the  energy" point.








Featured groups

Open Source Software

Open Source Software

A place to exchange ideas about free and open source software.
Athabasca University Faculty Association (AUFA)

Athabasca University Faculty Association (AUFA)

A Landing site for the Athabasca University Faculty Association
Accessibility at AU

Accessibility at AU

accessibility, universal design for learning, and inclusive design group
Teaching and Learning at Athabasca

Teaching and Learning at Athabasca

A Community of Practice for Learning Design
Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

OER resources, support and discussions
AU Students' Union

AU Students' Union

Athabasca University Students' Union
Study Buddies

Study Buddies

Find a study buddy in your course.


A group for the Athabasca University Graduate Students' Association (AUGSA).
Friends of the Landing

Friends of the Landing

The Landing Advisory Network
The Landing Help Community

The Landing Help Community

Help with using this site