Webinar: Tuesday, July 29 @ 2pm ET | Higher Education as a Trusted Environment for Learning

Trust in research, public scholarship, pedagogy, and distributed learning environments. How are higher education institutions already embracing principles for creating safe, optimized and rewarding learning? View the webinar and join the conversation or follow along on Twitter using #dmltrust.

For the month of July, HASTAC teamed up with the Connected Learning Alliance (CLA) to produce a four-webinar series, stemming from the June 17 Aspen Task Force report, Learner at the Center of a Networked World. This series is part of the ongoing conversation around the Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments. The Trust Challenge funds successful collaborations or “laboratories” where challenges to trust in connected learning environments can be identified and addressed. Successful labs will create scalable, innovative, and transformative exemplars of connected learning that bridge technological solutions with complex social considerations of trust.

Join the Higher Education as a Trusted Environment for Learning webinar at 2pm ET, Tuesday July 29, 2014.


  • Jonathan Worth – Creator of the massive, open Photography & Narrative (#Phonar) course, and a renowned British portrait photographer
  • Audrey Watters – Technology and education journalist, and self-described “rabble-rouser & recovering academic”
  • Howard Rheingold – Author, virtual community expert, and self-described “online instigator & expert learner”
  • Sheryl Grant – Director of Social Networking, HASTAC

Webinar: Tuesday, July 22 @ 2pm ET | Social-Emotional Literacies and Digital Citizenship Best Practices

Join us Tuesday, July 22 @ 2pm ET to talk about Social-Emotional Literacies and building trust in connected learning environments. How can we encourage multi-directional trust (from platforms to people) and empower learners of all ages to use learning resources confidently, effectively & safely? 


How to Participate:

About the speakers:

  • Anne Collier – Youth/tech news blogger, and Editor of NetFamilyNews.org
  • Janelle Bence – Educator at New Tech High @ Coppell in Dallas
  • Jessie Daniels – Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY), and FemTechNet supporter
  • Anna Smith – Educational researcher, teacher educator & teacher; founder of #literacies chat on Twitter
  • Jade E. Davis – Program Coordinator, HASTAC and Digital Media and Learning Competition

Background reading: 

Today’s webinar is part of the Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning series, a collaboration between HASTAC and ConnectedLearning.tv. The Trust Challenge is the fifth open, international Digital Media and Learning Competition.

Webinar: Tuesday, July 8 @ 11am | Why Trust Matters in Connected Learning Environments


Interested in thinking how technology, policies, and practices could build more trusted learning environments? Join us to discuss Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments on Tuesday, July 8 at 11am PT (2pm ET), the first of a four-event webinar series about trust, privacy, safety, and learning in an open online world.

What technologies, tools, and policies do learners need to navigate, collaborate, and learn online with confidence? What solutions will foster greater civility and respect in online learning environments? How can open technical standards create more opportunities to share and collaborate online in a spirit of trust? What role do badges play in conversations about trust in connected learning environments?

Guest speakers will dive deep into these questions and the principle that “students should have safe and trusted environments for learning,” one of five principles for creating safe, optimized and rewarding learning experiences described in the Aspen Task Force on Learning & the Internet report: ‘Learner In The Center Of A Networked World.’

More webinar topics this month: 

Our webinar series is part of the fifth HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition’s Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments, a call to action based on findings and recommendations issued by the Aspen Institute Task Force report.

The fifth open international Trust Challenge will award $1.2 million to institutions and organizations that tackle challenges to trust in real-life learning contexts. The Trust Challenge includes a call for proposals that will fund successful collaborations or “laboratories” that create scalable, innovative, and transformative exemplars of connected learning that bridge technological solutions with complex social considerations of trust.

More information about how to apply can be found athttp://dmlcompetition.net/building-trust/

Connect with the Trust Challenge:

Web: www.dmlcompetition.net
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/dmlComp and #dmltrust
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DMLcomp
Listserv: To receive notifications about the Trust Challenge, including reminders when the application opens, send a message to  dmlcompnews-request@duke.edu with “subscribe” in the subject line.

Trust Challenge Webinars: Responding to the Aspen Institute Task Force Report

Reading through the Aspen Institute Task Force report, Learner at the Center of a Networked World, I came across a fascinating open-source software project called Open Mustard Seed. Designed by ID3, a research and education nonprofit, Open Mustard Seed is part of the organization’s mission to “develop a new social ecosystem of trusted, self-healing digital institutions.”

What does this mean? It means that even though we have entered an era in which, ” the coordination costs for collaboration are nearing zero and unforeseen opportunities for collective action at enormous scales are now tenable,” the same technologies “come freighted with worrisome surveillance and data-mining powers.” I interpet “trusted, self-healing digital institutions” to mean open data platforms that allow communities to “mash up” their own customized, private data services and policies tailored exactly to their needs. Having control over your own data is important, but so is sharing your data in an open and safe digital space that is part of an ecosystem of similar networks.

I came across Open Mustard Seed while reading the Findings and Recommendations for trust environments in the ATF Report, in addition to a set of high-level principles intended to “guide the process for developing a trusted environment”:

  • Transparency and Openness. Require easy-to-read disclosures to enable learners and other stakeholders to clearly understand who is participating, what the norms and protections are, what data is collected and how it is used.
  • Participation. Provide opportunities for individual and interest group participation in decision making and policy making related to the development and deployment of connected learning solutions.
  • Data Stewardship. Find ways to protect data that may include mechanisms to reduce the risk of harm, such as clearly delimiting the permissible uses of data, de-identifying sensitive data and/or deleting data once it no longer has value for learning. Data can also be used to provide feedback about what works, thereby shortening the cycle to improve the ecosystem of learning networks.
  • Technology Innovation. Create and deploy technologies that support a trusted environment, such as the use of metadata to convey and enforce data policy or privacy dashboards that indicate what information is shared with whom.
  • Accountability. Adopt policies and procedures or a code of conduct that support responsible learning environments.
  • Oversight and Enforcement. Establish regulatory arrangements to protect the integrity of learning networks with competent and appropriately-resourced bodies in place to enforce these principles.

This folds into my own thinking about “trust networks” and badge systems, especially when it comes to coveillance and privacy measures, two aspects of badges that don’t get nearly as much attention as assessment and motivation, but that’s a topic for another blog post. It strikes me that “trust” brings together what may seem like unrelated topics into one interlocking conversation that puts learners at the center. Learning analytics, data mining, privacy, interoperability, safety, access, surveillance, cloud computing, badges, and other related topics are as much a part of our 21st century learning landscape as pedagogy, assessment, motivation, curriculum, standards, and socio-emotional digital literacies. The trick is that it takes many different perspectives, roles, backgrounds, and skills to have a conversation about solutions to something as complex as trust in connected learning environments.

So that we have a gathering place to have that conversation,  HASTAC and ConnectedLearning.tv will be hosting a series of webinars throughout the month of July,, starting with Trust Challenges Across Connected Learning Environments on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 11am ET. Our all-star line-up will feature:

  • Cathy Lewis-Long - Founding Executive Director of The Sprout Fund in Pittsburgh
  • Nichole Pinkard - Co-Founder of the Digital Youth Network, and Co-Founder of YOUmedia Chicago
  • Carla Casilli - Director of Design + Practice at the Badge Alliance
  • Barry Joseph - Associate Director for Digital Learning at the American Museum of Natural History

The month-long webinar series is also a great opportunity for potential applicants to this year’s Digital Media and Learning Competition to get involved in the broader conversation about building trust in connected learning environments. The Trust Challenge opens on September 3, so warm up your brains over the summer and look for connected learning environments, including institutions, partners, collaborators, or alliances willing to apply with you and together rise to the challenge.

Remember to tweet your heart out at #dmltrust and if you join our webinar live, ask our guests lots of questions through Twitter and the ConnectedLearning.tv platform.

Digital Media & Learning Competition responds to Aspen report: $1.2 Million Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments

What could be more important than trust? Trust is at the heart of every meaningful learning experience, whether it’s between educator and student, mentor and learner, peers and their learning networks, or between learners and the technical platforms with which they interact. As learners become more immersed in digital learning experiences, trust has become an increasingly critical aspect of connected learning environments. The press release announcing the Trust Challenge, the fifth Digital Media and Learning Competition, details how the MacArthur Foundation and HASTAC are responding to the Aspen Institute Task Force’s report about Learners and the Internet, and to the specific challenges facing trust in connected learning environments. 

The $1.2 Million Learning Challenge: Building Trust Online 
Fifth Digital Media & Learning Competition responds to Aspen report citing the need for a safe and open internet to foster learning
WASHINGTON – June 17, 2014 – HASTAC and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, responding to a landmark Aspen Institute report, announced a $1.2 million challenge to foster trust in online learning environments and help educators harness one of the most powerful tools of the digital age—online networks.

The 5th Digital Media and Learning Competition, dubbed The Trust Challenge, will offer year-long development grants of up to $150,000 to teams with the most promising innovations for fostering trusted learning environments online. The open invitation for proposals is supported by the MacArthur Foundation through a grant to the University of California, Irvine, administered by HASTAC, an alliance of more than 14,000 humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists and technologists working together to transform the future of learning.

The Trust Challenge is a response to a new report by the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet that called for innovations that enable people to pursue learning experiences online in an environment that is safe and private. The task force focused on American education, but the Trust Challenge is an international competition because the challenge is global.

“The Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet has highlighted the transformative role that digital media can play in helping every learner to reach his or her full potential,” said David Theo Goldberg, a HASTAC board member and the director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute. “Our competition seeks to advance solutions that build the trusted environments learners need online so they can safely and confidently access the rich learning opportunities the Internet affords.”

In the Task Force report, Learner at the Center of a Networked World, also made public on Thursday, Honorary Co-Chairs Jeb Bush and Rosario Dawson argue a trusted online environment is necessary for effective learning. “Technology should revolve around the learner, not the other way around,” they wrote.

“And the learner should possess the digital age literacy tools to use and understand the media in both the virtual and physical worlds.”

The Aspen Institute report envisions a future of openness and innovation in education if America can shift away from a fear-based approach to using the Internet that unwittingly blocks access to valuable learning resources.

“Just as the digital revolution changed many industries, its promise is now being realized in learning environments inside and outside schools,” said Connie Yowell, MacArthur’s Director of Education and a leading proponent of Connected Learning. “The Internet is a vital link, and innovative educators are helping learners create unique and personalized learning pathways as they follow their interests online, connect to supportive peers and mentors, and become the creative makers and producers today’s economy rewards. Our goal is to support this explosion of interest-driven learning by ensuring all learners can safely and confidently leverage these rich digital resources.”

The Trust Challenge is open to museums, libraries, school districts, schools, higher education institutions, community organizations, developers, researchers and others committed to creative, open connected learning. Successful projects will develop digital projects and tools designed to build privacy, security, and safety into its digital offerings and build awareness around data and trust. Projects might include web or online applications, digital badge systems, data management platforms, online learning content or other innovations.

Winners will receive grants of $10,000 to $150,000 as well as a year of programming designed to support successful project development. Grantees will be networked with each other and more broadly into a highly innovative, cross-disciplinary community of technologists, educators, scholars and leading thinkers.

Organizations and institutions can also win three $5,000 People’s Choice Awards that will support the purchase of approved technology. People’s Choice Winners will be determined by an online vote.

For more information about the Trust Challenge, visit www.dmlcompetition.net.


Sheryl Grant
Director of Social Networking, HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition

Useful Links:

Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments: www.dmlcompetition.net
MacArthur Foundation Digital Media & Learning Initiative: macfound.org/programs/learning/
HASTAC: hastac.org
Connected Learning Alliance: CLAlliance.org

About the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand  how technology is affecting children and society. More information is at www.macfound.org.

HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory; “haystack”) is an open alliance of more than 14,000 humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists and technologists working together to change the way we teach and learn. Since 2002, HASTAC has served as a community of connection where members share news, tools, research, insights, and projects to promote engaged learning for a global society. Issues of access and equality are as important to HASTAC’s mission as the latest technological innovations; creative contribution is as important as critical thinking.

Infrastructure and administrative support for the Digital Media and Learning Competition is provided by HASTAC teams based at the University of California Humanities Research Institute and Duke University under the founding leadership of Cathy N. Davidson (The Graduate Center, CUNY, and Duke University) and David Theo Goldberg (Director, UCHRI) through a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional support for other HASTAC initiatives is provided by Duke University, the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), the Graduate Center, City University of New York, the National Science Foundation, and other member institutions.