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Cloudworks is a site for finding, sharing and discussing learning and teaching ideas, experiences and issues. More precisely, Cloudworks is “a social networking site for learning design, adopting a Web 2.0-based philosophy. The aim is to create an evolving, dynamic community of users, tools, resources, ideas and experiences associated with learning design” (Cloudworks: sharing teaching & learning ideas & experience, retrieved 15:05, 28 January 2009 (UTC)).

Cloudworks is implemented with a Drupal portalware. The project is alive (2009) and its funding has been renewed sometimes in 2008.


Cloudworks is part of an overall Open University Learning Design Initiative. Its “aim is to develop and implement a methodology for learning design composed of tools, practice and other innovation that both builds upon, and contributes to, existing academic and practioner research.” and the project stakeholders “are interested in providing support for the entire design process; from gathering initial ideas, through consolidating, producing and using designs, to sharing, reuse and community engagement.” ([1], retrieved 12:51, 28 January 2009 (UTC).) The overall project includes three strands of work:

Aims and functionalities

The site is based on the notion of social objects and object-centered sociality following (Yiri Engeström inspired by Karin Knorr-Cetina's work): “social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared object”. Indeed there is practical evidence for this claim. Social networking services that work best are the ones where people can share artifacts, e.g. YouTube, Flickr, learning objects (just joking), or services like Facebook that allow users to include such artifacts.

An entry in the website, is called a cloud. Cloudscapes are collection of clouds, i.e. a set of clouds tagged with the same keyword.

As of january 2009, Cloudworks includes several kinds of objects (clouds). A kind is simply defined by adding a tag in one of the tool, pedagogy, discipline, other input fields.

  1. Pedagogy Clouds: Pedagogical scenarios or smaller learning activities. E.g. Pedagogical patters, narrative case studies, pointers to learning objects such as LAMSsequences or Compendium LD diagrams etc. or just little snippets of practice, design templates, case studies, ideas and approaches, links etc. or simple teaching ideas.
  2. Discipline-related clouds, e.g. Mathematics, alg
  3. Tools: In particulr learning design tools that guide the user through the design process.

In addition, the website includes:

  • People and communities: Users have profiles. A profile displays all the social objects they put in (clouds and cloudscapes), as well as related people.
  • Comments that people can add to clouds

See also Cloudworks: sharing teaching & learning ideas & experience that presents a different picture (plans?):


The website
Official and semi-official introductions and reflections
  • Entries in Grainne Conole's e4innovation blog


  • Conole G, J Culver, P Williams, S Cross, P Clark and A. Brasher (2008), Cloudworks: Social networking for learning design, Ascilite 2008, PDF

Acknowledgement: This article or part of this article has been written during a collaboration with the EducTice group of INRP, which attributed a visiting grant to DKS in january 2009.