Helping people self associate with P2PU

Hey everyone

I think we should provide some way to help people self associate with P2PU. There are lots of people that come and go, but I have a hunch that there are people around that would like to assiociate with us and currently we are unaware of them.

At the moment there are some ways of doing this - joining the conversation on discourse and google groups, liking the facebook page, creating a P2PU profile or bribing me with beer to put your picture up on or (I’m not joking about that, If you buy me a beer I will personally endeavor to get your picture up there).

None of this feels exactly right, anyone who takes a course on P2PU has a profile, discourse isn’t a profile and in general people tend to very easily +1 or like without really caring.

I’m not entirely sure what this should look like practically? Maybe an image/banner/piece of code that people could put up on their personal blog. Maybe badges? It should be something that we can also know about, so that we can communicate with people that wish to associate with us.

We had a good discussion about this during the community call and would love to get more feedback.

Also, @bekka @Erika @ahnjune, please help me to express what we discussed during the call.

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I quite like @ahnjune 's suggestion of having a simple piece of HTML to put on one’s website that just displays the P2PU logo, and says something like “P2PU Volunteer”, or something similar. The question was asked, I think by June as well, about levels of participation. I think a very simple way to solve this is to have the badge/bumper sticker/logo/pretty picture which is being embedded on the website/digital-car simply link to your profile page on P2PU, which shows what you are involved in: the courses you have created, the courses you are participating in, the badges you have created, the badges you have earned, etc…

Technically, you would not have to create any infrastructure to handle this solution. You would just need to generate the exact same HTML code for each user, with only the username altering:


You would also just need to host the image somewhere, and voilà! Technically trivial, provides a means of self association, is easy to implement for the user, and solves the problem of indicating level of participation.

What do you think?


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@dirk, @ralfe:

I agree with @ralfe (and apparently @ahnjune ) that a simple embeddable HTML code might be a helpful association tool, especially if it links to a person’s P2PU account. Also I thought it might be helpful to somehow encourage people to possibly provide more information about their (P2PU/peer-learning-connected?) online presence/activity outside P2PU (like blogs, Twitter, FB, etc.) in order to make it easier to establish the association in both directions.

Hi @ansakoy,

This is already possible. If you go to, then click on the drop-down arrow to the right of your profile picture in the top right-hand corner of the page. Then click on “My Profile”. This takes you to the profile which I am suggesting the embedded HTML link to. Then click on the “Edit Profile” button. This takes you to the edit screen for your profile. You will notice that there are various sections to your profile, listed on the left-hand side of the screen. The second section is “Links”, this allows you to add as many named URL’s to your profile as you want.

I assume this is what you were referring to?


@ralfe, yes, I know it is technically possible and I filled my profile soon after I joined P2PU. By encouraging I meant trying to get users to really fill their profiles. E.g. by providing from time to time pop-up prompts like ‘got a blog/twitter/facebook? Share it with peers’ or something like that. Or including an explanation of why it might be a good idea to share one’s connection into some fields description or even course descriptions. Because many people just don’t provide any information as to where they can be found outside P2PU. Some of them may simply not want to share their details, so be it, but I’m sure at least some would do it gladly if they realized that it might be a good tool for real communication, not just formality.

Hi @ansakoy,

I understand now. Something like how LinkedIn shows a progress bar indicating the remaining steps for completing your profile? I think it also nice to have this kind of feature for improving the “quality” of profiles in general.

What I think could also be useful is to improve the way information is shown on one’s profile page. For example, separating out the courses one has created, from those one is “co-organizing” and those one is participating in. Something else I might suggest is to include the badges the user has created and also the badges the user has achieved. Also, it might be nice to include the user’s project submissions.


@ralfe, yes, exactly, LinkedIn is a good example. And I totally agree with you that the profile page itself needs to be improved in the way you described in order to become more informative (and functional, for that matter: for example my following/followers links are not clickable).

Also, I’ve been recently toying with the idea of creating a special network building course aimed at creating a broader social network around P2PU, which could be another tool for community consolidation. (I realize, this is a bit off the topic, because the connection to self association in this case is not very direct.)

This is a great conversation, folks, and I’m really excited to see which way it might go.
I think one way to make associations meaningful is for people to be producers as well as just users of open educational content. I like the way that Creative Commons allows people to say “you can use my stuff for making your stuff” and I think a P2PU badge should do the same thing. It should mark content on blogs/sites as being explicitly useable as an OER.

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I like the idea of an embeddable code snippet. Currently Discourse profiles seem a better indicator of contributions than the P2PU profile (we could make the P2PU profile more prominent, but that would require significant work to both the profile UX and getting people to actively use it).

@bekka I really like your idea! Not only for self association, but for associating a course that is not on P2PU with P2PU. Peer to peer implies that anyone should be able to create a P2PU course anywhere, not only on p2pu’s platform.

Wrt profiles, I’m a little undecided about this. Personally I don’t believe you should leave your profile in someone elses hands, even nice people like us here at P2PU. Part of letting people self associate is to allow people to manage their own profile, but also allow them to make P2PU a part of their profile if they wish.

I’m not against having profiles, but our philosophy is that the web is the platform. Also, when it comes to profiles, we haven’t done a great job in the past.

What/where does everyone here consider their strongest web presence/profile to be? Blog, twitter,, G+, linkedin?

We seem to be talking about two things now.

(1) June’s suggestion for self-identification as a P2PU “volunteer” (e.g. “I’m a peer learner”). @dirk I agree that we should not tie this into identity management. I would like a banner I can put on my homepage, which points to my Discourse profile. People who visit my homepage can click on the banner, which takes them to P2PU (and will hopefully encourage them to join the conversation).

(2) Ability to mark content /courses as P2PU courses. This is a great idea. Would probably require some light-weight curation, so that anyone can put a banner on their course, but only courses we have reviewed get listed on the P2PU course listing.

I’ll stick to what we started talking about - (1)

What about linking to something like: "Philipp considers himself to be part of a larger community called P2PU. Here is what that means… Here is how you can participate… "

That seems fine. It would be applicable to more people (fewer people are part of a core community). It’s like wearing a t-shirt or putting a sticker on your laptop. If we are trying to get wide reach and have lots of people put the banner up, even if they don’t really contribute to our community, then pointing to a general page is probably best. If we are trying to build a strong sense of community, that rewards contributions over mere association, then pointing to something like the Discourse profile makes more sense. That’s more like giving someone a link to your github profile.

My preference would be the second option, but I see the value in both.

I don’t I agree with that. I don’t like profiles that I can’t control - that includes github. It makes me disassociate with the community in question. I’ve considered other git hosting because github slaps a profile on my account and quantify what they consider to be contributions on my profile page.

It leads to things like this:

I think we may be talking about a third thing now - (3) P2PU profiles :slight_smile:

I believe being part of a community requires participation, not just
wearing the t-shirt (or putting the image on your blog). That’s why I like
banners that point to personal pages, because they show contributions to
the community and build identity.

But I can also see how a general banner will be more popular and more
people might put it on their blogs.

I don’t agree with the control argument. In fact, you have more control
over what appears on this page (by contributing or not) than you would have
over a general static page:

Hi everyone,

I would argue that the Discourse and P2PU profiles actually show different types of participation. The Discourse profile shows participation in terms of discussions about P2PU, whereas the P2PU profiles show participation in terms of courses and badges. In my opinion, the P2PU profile is more valuable, as the courses and badges are the core of what P2PU is about; learning. Whereas the Discourse profile seems (to me) to display “meta-participation”, in that, whilst the conversations are valuable, they are abstractly removed from the content consumption and contribution which is more directly linked to learning.

@dirk, I don’t understand what you mean? Are you suggesting that because a user on the site does not have complete control of what others see when they look at their profile page, it is not a good idea? I think that the fact that content in the profiles is automatically generated and cannot be edited by users provides a validation on the truthfulness of the data portrayed in the profile. Thus adding weight to a user’s contributions and participation within the community. I think that if a user could have free reign to say “I did this, this and this” without verification mechanism, it would have less validity in the eyes of others. … Or am I completely missing your point (I feel I might be)?

I personally do not love that phrasing. “Philipp considers himself to be part of a larger community” : This phrasing highlights the subjectivity of the inclusion into the community. I would argue that the inclusion into a community is an objective certainty by virtue of continued participation within that community. Then “Here is how you can participate” seems to be an advert (well, maybe it is an advert).

I would like to offer the alternative wording of “Member of Peer 2 Peer University”. It is simple, easy to fit into a design, leaves no room for semantic misinterpretation (as I am guilty of with the above phrase), and the word “Member” has no implicit power relation, and is quite democratic. When placing text on other people’s spaces, I think less is more.

Perhaps a discussion of this would be better placed in a new thread. However, my ‘two cents worth’ is that approaching this as ‘allowing people to mark content as P2PU courses’ will be a technical nightmare. Perhaps a better approach would be to allow people to apply on the P2PU website to have content or courses listed in a community directory of learning resources. This can then be easily moderated, and the application process can allow for a standardized set of data to be provided for each piece of content being submitted. That is my suggestion regarding a technical solution. However, I would ask the question of what is it that makes a course a P2PU course rather than simply a P2P course?


Yes, that distinction is correct. We are in the process of moving (back) to encouraging people to run courses on different platforms, which means we will have less information about their learning activities to display. Also, updating the current P2PU profile would be a lot more work.

As part of the new P2PU strategy, the meta-discussion about how to organize learning online (on P2PU’s platform and others) is more at the core of what it means to be part of P2PU.

I moved a post to a new topic: What is the vision for P2PU?

I like the idea of embeddable code snippet or badge for general (visible) community expansion / identity-sharing / brand-awareness/pride/buy-in.

Profile discussion far trickier…Coming back to @dirk’s original post, ‘self-association’ is always fraught because ripe for abuse. No way to avoid that while maintaining true ‘self’ association - either you leave choice to associate 100% up to the individual (and just accept you may not like/agree with everyone who self-associates) or you act as gatekeeper (curate associations, maintain definition of what ‘association’ means, define content of the user’s profile), in which case it is no longer true ‘self’ association (so not what I understand the original request to be about).

So @dirk what do you want the purpose of the express association to be? (recognising you’re just voicing a conversation from the community call :smile:.) Your OP suggests it’s purely for us to identify silent members of the community (ie a traceability/discoverability tool?) That might help in answering your original request.

The role of profiles seems to feed into the bigger issue of community vs outsider - a far weightier topic the subject of massive ongoing debate that I suspect might overwhelm the original goal of this thread…

A few things

Another idea may be to ask people for donations and give them a custom image they can put on their website that says: “I support P2PU”. But I suppose that’s a different kettle of fish again :slight_smile: