The Hyper-Learning Project

Poster Presentation

Barbera, Michele (net7) barbera@netseven.it
D'Iorio, Paolo (ITEM/CNRS) diorio@ens.fr

Contact Information recorded for this paper is:

Michele Barbera
Via Maffi 18, 56127, Pisa, Italy

Telephone: +39 050 552574
FAX: +39 050 552574


The equipment requirements recorded for this paper are:

Computer Requirements:
data projector, any Operative System, pdf reader, internet browser
Special Equipment:
(nothing recorded)

The Hyper-Learning project is an extension of HyperNietzsche that is online since 2 year and received the Sofia Kovalevskaja Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung. HyperNietzsche was also financed by:

The project team is composed by 20 persons (philosophers, philologists, computer scientists, lawyers, for further information see: <http://www.hypernietzsche.org/doc/committee/>).

The overall aim of the Hyper-Learning project is to create the model of an advanced research and learning infrastructure for the humanities. As a research infrastructure Hyper-Learning enables a delocalized community of specialists to work in a cooperative and cumulative manner and to publish the results of their work on the Internet. As an e-learning system unites research and education, and envisages not only knowledge transfer, but also the development and enhancement of critical thinking skills and of autonomous production of scientific contributions among graduate students and young researchers. In order to reach this aim, the Hyper-Learning project pursues the following three objectives:

  1. The final realisation of HyperNietzsche as a model of an IT research infrastructure. The development of the system will be accompanied by work on editions, transcriptions of Nietzsche's manuscripts and correspondence aswell as publication of critical essays and other scholarly contributions. Working simultaneously on these two tasks will produce on the one hand an IT infrastructure which responds effectively to the needs of actual users, and will on the other hand demonstrate to the community of Nietzsche specialists how this new work instrument can be used effectively.
  2. The development and implementation of a critical e-learning system for higher education featuring personalised logins according to level of competence, learning paths, dynamic learning contextualisation, virtual classes, mul-timedia lessons, contextualised forum/chats, etc... This system will be realised in the context of a new pedagogical paradigm based on a dynamic ontology and will set new technological standards.
  3. Preparatory work for the generalisation of the Hyper-Learning model to other authors. This includes the writing of a complete documentation of the procedures followed by the model, the organisation of conferences presenting theproject, brainstorming workshops with interested scientific communities as well as training for researchers beginning to apply the model to other authors. A design of the IT structure of a Hyper-Learning Network, which would enable the interoperability of the various Hyper-Learning Platforms, will complete the project.

Preparatory work for the transfer of the HyperNietzsche model to other authors was carried out inthe course of putting together a proposal submitted for an Integrated Project within the 6th Framework Programme of the European Union in 2003. This project, which was also called Hyper-Learning, examined for the first time the possibility of a twofold extension of the HyperNietzsche model, firstly by applying it to other authors and secondly by developing its poten-tial for distance education (e-learning). In order to reach this twofold objective we formed a prestigious consortium uniting 30 partnersfrom 12 European countries (i.e. universities research centres, a large company (IBM) and six small and medium companies). A detailed proposal of more than 200 pages was the result.12 Inthe 13 Virtual Collaborative Learning Communities which were to be created (and interconnected using specific and innovative technologies), the best specialists and scholars on the following 13 important European authors were represented: Mihai Eminescu, James Joyce, Aleko Konstantinov nov, Friedrich Nietzsche, Marcel Proust, Arthur Schopenhauer, August Strindberg, LudwigWittgenstein, Virginia Woolf, Euripides, Leonardo da Vinci, Giacomo Puccini and Fernand Braudel. Although the project was well received in the course of the scientific evaluation by inde-pendent experts (with 24 points ex-aequo the second ranked project and only half a point behind the best ranked project) it was, regrettably, not financed by the programme committee.

As a concrete starting point, the Hyper-Learning project will adopt the research paradigm, thesoftware infrastructure and the legal framework already initiated by HyperNietzsche. HyperNietzsche is not merely a library of well-indexed and searchable electronic texts and studiesmade available on line, nor an electronic edition made available to the public as a finished product. Rather, it is a kind of electronic research matrix that creates a virtual workspace with publicaccess to original sources for Nietzsche research, including works, manuscripts, letters and biographical documents. Beyond these original sources, HyperNietzsche contains an ever-increasing collection of scholarly essays that have been vetted for publication by an editorial board of leadingNietzsche specialists. From a methodological point of view, this enterprise transposes the concepts of Open Source from computer science to the Humanities. Computer science, for its part, had merely reformulated in its own terms the fundamental characteristics of scientific method and practice which hadbeen in place since the seventeenth century. Science is by definition an open source enterprise to the extent that it is an open, public discussion on accessible objects, carried out according to veri-fiable procedures. Indeed, scientific progress is not possible in conditions of secrecy, exclusivity, or restricted access to information. In the Humanities, working in Open Source means on the onehand being able to access the digital version of objects of study: books, manuscripts, archaeological objects, images, sounds, film sequences, etc., (Public Archives) and on the other hand provid-ing free access to the results of research work (Open Publishing). And the Internet is the medium best able to guarantee public access to cultural heritage and research work.

Hyper-learning also proposes an innovative technological structure based on a P2P network design and the use of functional languages to develop web applications. It also offers a new model to cache complex databases with low volatility using XML.