What You Call Self Plagiarism I Call Syndication

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Just as researchers do not present the work of others as their own (plagiarism), they do not present their own previously published work as new scholarship (self-plagiarism)-APA Manual

Who is best served by our policies of self-plagiarism? Is it the scholars who conducted the work? Is it the public whose tax dollars fund the research? The same public  who then must spend tax dollars to read the research in over priced journals? Most important is it knowledge itself?

shaking head no

No. Policies of self-plagiarism serve publishers not science. In fact  the APA code of ethics states “authors should not submit manuscripts that have been published elsewhere in substantially similar form or with substantially similar content.”  This is a mistake. The Web has unleashed an ability for science to leave the cloistered halls of academia. We need to syndicate our results to the general public.

Furthermore the problems the world faces are too substantial for anyone discipline to solve. Why should years of research have to be retooled to be cross-posted in journals from vastly different fields. We should be disgusted.


Researchers often (almost always) sign away their copyright when publishing their articles. So when you syndicate YOUR ideas you are infringing on the copyright of stakholders who seek to profit from your efforts. In fact according to the APA 6th edition manual (2010):

The general view is that the core of the new document must constitute an original contribution of knowledge, and only the amount of previously published material necessary to understand that contribution should be included, primarily in the discussion of theory and methodology. When feasible, all of the author’s own words that are cited should be located in a single paragraph or a few paragraphs, with a citation at the end of each (pg. 16).

So what is the solution? First you must respect copyright. If you sign away your work to publish (and as junior faculty I do it often) respect it. You can release pre-draft version to elicit “feedback,” but many journals frown on this.

They want to horde your treasures. It makes sense. Publishing is big business.

old printer

You could also publish in open science journals or simply on the Web. Though these journals may have lower impact values or be financially closed  ( such as the AERA “open” journal chargin $800 an article).

We as researchers also need to push back against policies that protect publishers and not science.

Some simple guidelines to follow:

  • Include a link or citation back to where the work was originally published.
  • Work in the open. Explain to me why exactly we need the publishing industry.
  • Borrow from the #indieweb movement. Publish on your own site and syndicate elsewhere (POSSE).
  • Create new publications. Many of our organizations are dependant on publication revenue and therefore are not incentivized to support a POSSE model.

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An English Only Web is Not an Open Web. #TeachTheWeb in Your Tongue.

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To help fuel  the next wave of open we must recognize that cultural hegemony threatens the web as much as any content silo or data surveillance programs. When languages are lost cultures are silenced. As part of our  mission of keeping the Web open we must empower  missing voices.

Localised Content

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We have received feedback on the Participation team’s recent efforts to have leaders share their story of the Mozilla Festival. Many people noted that they did not complete the #mymozfest challenge because they were uncomfortable writing in English.

You should be uncomfortable. We need efforts to diversify the web content and not greater efforts to conform. English is the default setting of the Web. It is up to people like you to ensure that global citizens who share your history and culture can read, write, and participate on the web.

Local content will lead local opportunities to #teachtheweb. Localised web resources will be an economic engine.

As participation leaders we want to increase involvement across all of Mozilla. Know your audience. If you will draw more volunteers in different languages please do so. The Open Web has to have linguistic diversity.

Use Pictures

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Some people noted they are excited to try blogging to practice their English skills. Others, as stated avoiding English because of their skill level. My first tip is to think about avoiding words all together. A photo montage, with a caption or two in your language of choice can tell any story.

It is Your Web

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We get the Web we help to build. If you want a Web full of content your grandmothers, cousins, Moms, Dads, and friends can read than help to create content in your first language. Most importantly to help draw in leaders who will ride the next wave of open we need to recognize an English only Web is not an Open Web.


Reflecting on #MyMozFest

I learn so much by volunteering my time as a teacher for Mozilla. This year I attended my first #MozFest.  As a participation leader I want to help my team. We want to get you more involved as a contributor to Mozilla.

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Being a Better Teacher

MozFest is like no other conference you have attended. Its hackability becomes apparent as soon as you walk into Ravensbourne College. We power our sessions with post it notes not Powerpoint.

Products are perceived, prototyped, and pushed in days. That is what struck me most. I watched Matt Thompson, Phillip Smith, and Darren Mothersele push GitDone from just an intro session on project management with Git. More so I participated in the design.

To me that is #Mozfest. We (re)Design future possibilities.

GitDone is a project management tool. I must admit I was a GitHub naysayer when MoFo (Mozilla Foundation) transitioned that way last year. I work with teachers who volunteer for Mozilla. Our time is limited. I want any time educators have to offer to be remixing curriculum not trying to figure out what a repo means.

Yet what I saw were developers recognizing a community need and solving the problem for non-developers like me.

This experience made me a better teacher.

Open Teaching

I was also presenting for the first time at #Mozfest. I and a group of open scholars tried to hack together what it means to play in open spaces as teachers and learners.

It started with a PechaFlickr session. Slidedecks are so much better when you have no idea what will come next. Then we did a live demo on how not to make awful instructional videos.

So we tried to brainstorm what instructional design means from a #Mozfest perspective. This is what we determined would be relevant.

We first started with a discussion of traditional instructional design:


We then examined a bunch of Open classrooms such as #ds106, #walkmyworld, #rhizo15, and #clmooc. That lead us to this:


We took the lessons learned (such as RSS being the backbone of push/pull learning) and then tried to apply a #MozFest lens. This is what we came up with:


Passion. That’s the key difference with Mozilla. We want production based learning that drives people to the web because it is a place of passion.

Participation Team

My goal as a participation leader is to help improve the professional development and leadership training offered by Mozilla. This is a goal of both the Corporation (MoCo) and the Foundation (MoFo).

Step one is helping people tell there #MyMozFest story. We learn and teach best when we do it in the open and our open course safari noted that the most successful online classes empower people to learn on their own space and then they push/pull the participants across many different Web.

Step two (scratch that making this step one) is thanking the amazing people who made MozFest possible for the Participation Team.

Thanks Francisco!

I just met so many amazing people who want to change the world. It will take me quite some time to say thanks to them all.

Want to help?

Whether you were a remote or on the ground attendee tell your story about MozFest and share across the Web using the #mymozfest hashtag.

Heading to #Mozfest and thinking about leadership and advocacy

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We will come together at #mozfest to celebrate the new mission of Mozilla.

Unleash the next wave of openness and opportunity in online life — where people are empowered, safe and independent even as the complexity and scale of the Internet grows around us.

I am excited to cross the pond and join so many people who want to help build a better web. As the Internet as matured traditional power strucutres have arisen and networks have been closed off. I was selected as a Participation leader to help ensure that new doors open for the next billion to come online. Our goal is to increase the contributions people make across Mozilla. My specific focus as a participation leader is to think about leadership, learning and advocacy.

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Building Leaders

Learning is leadership and we lead best when we teach well. Mozilla, given a revitalized charge charge of fueling the next wave of open, need to think deeply about the relationship between leading, learning, and advocacy. This will take a collaborative effort between those who tinker on the web and those who teach the web. Those who do both will lead.

Thus leadership and advocacy require a global classroom. Someone asked, it was in some slide deck I think, “Do we want to turn teachers into Mozillians or Mozillians into teachers?” The answer is clearly both.

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I want to bring things skillsets together. To open new doors. Mozilla is a philanthropic entrepreneurial activism engine, and we need to fuel the Open web through leadership and advocacy. We need people to level up their technical abilities while they sharing the lessons they have gleaned about learning. Meanwhile developers and self-taught programmers can share cool tools and tricks while learning to teach. Data from the #teachtheweb campaign, clearly indicated people turn to Mozilla for professional development. We can learn together in the open.

Building Learners

By creating a distributed learning network we create incidental moments of learning that cut across time and spaces. When you #teachtheweb you empower others to learn for themselves. You design opportunities for community members to level up as self-programmable learners. I have never taken a web design class but I can mark up my way into new problems all the time. I can’t code but I have taken apps from paper prototype to the production server. I have done this because I turned to Mozilla to #teachtheweb.

We need to offer programs on designing these spaces. There are enough case studies of successful open classrooms for us to design content. We can support professional development across Mozilla. Teams can create and run programs on basic instructional design. ..so we can learn to hack them in fun and interesting ways. For example let’s take principles of multimedia learning and turn it into a puppet show. In other words lets remix the lessons we have learned about how to #teachtheweb and share with the next billion coming online.

Sometimes the hardest part of joining the open web is finding something to say. We need to run programs that lets the art of the web flourish. We want to push the boundaries of how we express ourselves, our learning, and our values on the web. Mozilla builds must offer creative pathways in their spaces of learning. The data from the recent webmaker study in Chicago illustrates this point clearly. The majority of the mobile generation sees themselves as digital artists not as coders.

tool shed
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Building Tools

In order to be a global classroom Mozilla needs to create a federated learning space that would be distributed across the web. We need to connect advocates for Open Education Resources with Developers of the Open Web. Mozilla is the natural synapse. In fact Mozilla just announced a million dollar initiative to support the development of open source and free software. The global classroom needs Mozilla to support efforts to stop the deprecating of RSS.

RSS powers the best learning spaces on the web as it allows learners to be empowered to own their domain. In fact the best open courses on the Web run on RSS and it feels as if content silos are deprecating a basic and fundamental feature of the web. I fear a future where teachers can not pull content into a class hub and learners can push it out into the world. We need someone to build an RSS reader with learning as the essential design feature.

Mozilla’s open source tools also needs to focus on Digital Media. The loss of Popcorn, while understandably necessary, was devastating. Just when the Webmaker program was scaling up it was rebranded and favorite tools disappeared. Mozilla felt like any other edtech content silo.

The pain of losing Popcorn was also because of open wounds. A few months earlier the developers of Zeega were bought out by Buzzfeed and the tool was shut down. We found ourselves lost creatively. No tools to remix audio and video. The recent webmaker data from Chicago and New York illustrate that video matters. First time web users want virality not code. I hope some money flows to someone trying to solve this problem.

Mozilla needs to help build tools for learning and creativity. I hope to offer some perspectives on this issue. People find agency through artistry.

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My Plans As a Participant Leader in 2016

I want to create a course module that can be hosted on Thimble and Github. Much of this already exists and a design effort was launched by MLN. We need to continue this work and bring it across Mozilla.

I want to build a global learning experience focused on judging the credibility of web resources. I have piloted and tested a program of credibility with the Mozilla Web Club I facilitate, the Elm City Webmakers. I want to scale this up and run as a distributed networked class.

I want to run a global Pechaflickr challenge. I would love to have some fun, and discuss the similarities between open learning and improv, by having the crowd choose a key term for a random set of Pecha Kucha slides using Alan Levine’s pechaflickr tool.

I’d also like to sit around with a group of people and hack together a Mozilla Web Club kit on Thimble. This could be a template website that clubs could remix on Thimble and then export to their own site if their skills and members level up.

I want to think about the types of professional development opportunities Mozilla should offer. Here we should simply reach out to those surveyed and ask, “What kind of professional development do you want?” Then we should take those answers, embed lessons in web literacy, and design programs built on the values of Mozilla.

Finally I want to continue working with Chad Sansig, Robert Friedman and hopefully a robust MLN mentor community to keep cranking out curriculum.

UX of Parenting

mcverry boys

In designing our parental services I often think about the user experience I provide to my children. Unlike many start-ups the overall health of the network matters more than the individual.

Our user experience is family driven.

Terms of Service Constantly In Flux

All users agree to a non-revokable license of “I own your ass, with all my heart, for time eternal.” The ToS are pretty strict here.

As a network administrator I reserve the right to alter the Terms of Service without notice. We want our users to grow and we will provide a sense of agency across the network but we reserve the right to revoke or change any condition of the system at any time.

Take electronics, for example. I wish I could say I have and enforce lofty standards. We try to say no electronics when you wake up. Another common rule is an equal amount of educational play or board games before electronics. Admins may also enforce the call for social electronics such as the Wii versus tablets.

Yet at other times we need to enforce the STFU protocol in order to complete parental duties. At these moments, which can happen at any time, the rules around electronics maybe altered.

Accessibility for Users is Key


All activities in the system have to be adaptable to the needs of individual users. This causes the resizing of features and tools across the network.

As the admin of three male users varying in both height and age we have to constantly adjust our system to ensure everyone stays happy.This usually means all user engagement sessions have to be inclusive. Accessibility is the heart of UX.

Times do arise when system admins may want to engage with a specific user. This is encouraged but should be taken under caution. Alternative spaces should be provided for other users or a strict NDA should be agreed upon between the system admin and a particular user.

Throttling of Traffic Allowed


There are specific bottlenecks in the system that must be dealt with in order to ensure a pleasant user experience. In order to maintain overall network health we often demand all traffic be treated the same.

There are many places in the house where users are willing to compete for a better position in the stack. Packets pushing for position. Nuetrality has to be enforced at the system level.

To combat this natural tendency among our users we have designated spaces where games, racing, or passing are strictly forbidden.The health of the system matters more than the happiness or competitive drive of any one particular user.

Assigning Clear Roles


Users, in order to have a happy experience benefit from clearly defined roles in the most public of forums.We strive for a democracy by design. We want our users to arrive at the choices that best serve the network.

We do allow some choice in determining roles. Such as a unique UI for toothbrushes. We even allow our users to connect to other networks, and through our very Open API they can bring in pop-culture elements.

Every boy needs a hero. Our mass culture is no different than those in the past. Diego shares much in common with Thor.

While other sysadmins may balk at the commercialization of childhood we posit it comes down to picking your battles. The bathroom, like other common forums in the system is already a frontline of frustration. Yes users can pick a commercial toothbrush but once your role is assigned you must stick to it.

Limiting Choice


In fact limiting choice in public forums improves the UX of parenting. A common mistake we learned early on: offering choice leads to conflicts and down time. When options were baked into the UI we often had to reconfigure our servers in order to complete a user interaction…or worse. Founders spending valuable time settling disputes among users.

For example the small issue of purchasing cups of different colors can lead to great tension among users. They will constantly cycle through the files until they find the color of choice. Furthermore the users decision may change based on the influence of another user. Sometimes users will troll each other and demand they have different colors. Other times they complain to admins that the colors do not match.

Limit choices in spaces where all the users gather.

Offer Mass Storage

There has to be room in your heart for every user. They are each unique and bring a different persona and will require their own pathway through the system.

As admins of the network we often find we need to offer opportunities of mass storage and allow all the users to gather. This often occurs at odd hours of the night.You can see a sudden spike of traffic in the wee hours of the evening and a place designed for two users. This leads to congestions, specifically for the admins. They get overcrowded by your users. Embrace this. Plan for mass storage.


Not every network has the space or means for a king size bed but a group hug or a family walks is a sufficient space. Love isn’t physical. Its an energy that flows through parents and users at any time.

Humanize not Disrupt: Misadventures in 21st Century Skills

What about Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)? She helped create the analytical engine. Commonly recognized as the first computer. She wrote the first algorithm.  Could she not problem solve?

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

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What about Mahatma Ghandi (1869-1948)? He lead India to independence, and fought for civil rights world wide. Could he not communicate?


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What about George Washington Carver (1860-1943)? He invented crop rotation and changed agriculture forever.Was he not creative?


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What about the pre-Clovis cultures of North America (14,000 years ago)? They made hunting weapons and worked together to take down large, now extinct, mammals such as the Mastodon. Could they not collaborate?

American Mastodons

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What you call 21st century skills I call being human.

Our schools do no need disruption. The need humanity restored.

UX of Parenting: So You Want Your Kids to Code

So You Want Your kid to code?
Read them literature.

Code is copy pasted,
It is taught,
Beauty is learned,

So you want your kid to code?
Let them play.

Friendship bracelets
music, chess,
puzzles and patterns
Passion designing passion

So you want your kid to code?
Let them lead.

in who they are
in what they care
then others will follow.
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