Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0


Brown, J.S. & Adler, R.P. (2008). “Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0”. In Educause Review, January/February 2008, 43 (1), 16–32. Boulder: Educause. Retrieved January 20, 2008 from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERM0811.pdf

Work data:

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Learning and Instructional Technology | Education | Open Access | Social Media & Social Software


The term is audacious: Web 2.0. It assumes a certain interpretation of Web history, including enough progress in certain directions to trigger a succession. The label casts the reader back to Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s unleashing of the World Wide Web concept a little more than a decade ago, then asks: What forms of the Web have developed and become accepted enough that we can conceive of a transition to new ones? Many people—including, or perhaps especially, supporters—critique the “Web 2.0” moniker for definitional reasons. Few can agree on even the general outlines of Web 2.0. It is about no single new development. Moreover, the term is often applied to a heterogeneous mix of relatively familiar and also very emergent technologies. The former may appear as very much “Web 1.0,” and the latter may be seen as too evanescent to be relied on for serious informatics work. Indeed, one leading exponent of this movement deems continuous improvement to be a hallmark of such projects, which makes pinning down their identities even more difficult. Yet we can survey the ground traversed by Web 2.0 projects and discussions in order to reveal a diverse set of digital strategies with powerful implications for higher education. Ultimately, the label “Web 2.0” is far less important than the concepts, projects, and practices included in its scope.