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Alan Levine's Presentation Showcase

Small Design Steps Can Go A Long Way For Open Community Tools (Domains 2017)

co-presented with Tanya Dorey-Elias at the Domains 2017 Conference (Oklahoma City)

Session Description

Twitter length: Small design steps can go a long way for open community tools. How might up front considerations affect design?

What does it mean to build tools for formal and informal learners as a whole “community”?

This presentation will challenge participants to engage with us on two broad themes:

(1) How can we use existing Ed Tech tools to support the needs of folks outside the “learning community”? Can you build spaces where the boundaries blur? What role does the wider use of these tools play outside of formal education? Do we have a responsibility (or the right) to think bigger? If Twitter is “bad” then are private spaces (e.g. Slack) really the answer? Or can we create pathways that allow people to start from a safer entry point into Twitter? How does social engagement differ in a space like Mastodon?

(2) How would tool development change if we focused more from the start on the needs of currently marginalized folks, e.g. beyond who we expect to show up? How might we need to rethink functionality, aesthetics, and security needs? How does anonymity impact safety and the ability to reclaim one’s identity? We will look at an application of the TRU Writer SPLOT ( that was developed as a means for rich media writing on the open web without the requirement of accounts and identifying authorship (that choice is left to the author). We will explore how the privacy points were expanded further (removing IP tracking and requirement for an email address to comment) in the use of this SPLOT for a site for abuse survivors to safely share their stories (

We will aim to make a case that by making these considerations up front, the experience can be better for all.

Active participation, disagreements and debate will be encouraged.

Presentation Materials

Available as an open, editable Etherdoc

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