Distributed Infrastructure Development Studies


Building infrastructure for virtual learning labs and teams through workshops and virtual hands-on learning classes/projects.

We have lived in a culture and world in which, for the most part, people are employed in the cities where they live, and although they may work for a company that has ‘work from home’ days, most people in our world think about education and their working lives as something that needs to happen from a specific place.

This is becoming less and less the case, as out world and cultures continue to embrace technologies that enable us to connect in real time with one another, and perform work together from distributed locations.

There is an opportunity here that has not quite made it into the mainstream education systems in America. If we can build grow and maintain complex and variegated organizations over a distributed workforce, we can educate, train, and participate in educational projects with one another across the same lines of technology and communication.

This impacts the access we all have to education, resources and work profoundly. If education systems are no longer constricted by a geographically-based ‘critical mass’ of students, teachers and administrators interested in pursuing a particular subject, small virtual ecosystems of learning Labs can build that synergy over a distance.

What this means is that there is an opportunity to train and engage a workforce of learners who are no longer restricted by the fact that they must live and work in a small town somewhere in New Mexico. It means that Suzie Pacheco in Cimarron, New Mexico can engage at a high level with learners all over the state.

Once Suzie has built her portfolio of classes and experience, she will have been trained to work from Cimarron, NM, with companies anywhere in the United States, and in truth, anywhere in the world.  Not only would this reduce poverty, it would also reduce the dreaded brain-drain phenomenon where people feel they need to leave the state in order to find suitable employment.

Because the class is built for a distributed group of learners, the professional pool of volunteers who would be brought in to address the class as visiting professionals is enormous and straddles time zones and national boundaries.

The hands-on learning component of this ongoing series of classes is aimed at developing specific skills that are key for the remote worker, and also in developing a broad basis of knowledge of key tools and working contexts within the fields of the virtual arts with non-profit organizations. It will do this by engaging the students in assessing, planning and building technological infrastructure for their communities.

The initial pilot of this program would focus on infrastructure development for small businesses and non-profit organizations.


Directed Internship Program (DIP)

The students participating in the program would have the option to bring a project to the class that is related to addressing infrastructure concerns for the communities (non-profit organizations) that they are personally engaged with, be they virtual or local.

This approach is inspired by ‘Permaculture’, in that it enables universally accessible, high level engagement across socioeconomic and regional boundaries towards the building of technological infrastructure for non-profit organizations who are traditionally under-resourced in this regard.

These internships would be directed either by instructors, or by other professionals with experience in the particular realm of technology that is needed at the time for the project. The class will come resourced with a list of these types of professionals, and/or if the student has someone they would like to work with in particular, that person can apply to get involved as well.

This ensures that the student is well directed by someone with experience, and that the learning is directed in a way that is pointed, and that avoids hemorrhaging time/energy unfruitfully.

All of the classes will cover skills and technologies that are popularly in use and/or needed by non-profit organizations.


Sample Curriculum Outlines


Curriculum for classes, workshops and programs to teach geographically distributed project participation skills and website development in order to provide job-seekers with more ideas, understanding, and information about working on website projects with distributed teams.

1. Working on Distributed Teams 101: Creating and understanding a solid platform of working tools that exist online for distributed teaming. This will include reviewing and understanding the following:


  • Slack

  • Trello

  • StoriesonBoard/mapping tools

  • Project Management tools

  • Relearning when to email

  • Buffer and other Social Media analytics

  • Google Analytics

  • For each:

    • features

    • strategies for projects

    • strategies for culture

2. Infrastructure Assessment: a systems approach in which we assess program/project needs with an understanding of available options:


  • The Permaculture of data and organizations

    • understanding Permaculture

    • understanding organizations

    • understanding how to map information flows and assess needs/opportunities

    • understanding what tools are available for accomplishing goals including:

  • How to assess Web-based tools for organizations 

    • data mining

    • popularity

    • corporate alliances

    • interaction with other tools/platforms

    • social integration tools

  • Content Management Systems

    • Levels of complexity of various ones

    • Can require outside expertise

    • Powerful

    • How to assess

  • Constituent Relationship Management Tools

    • Levels of complexity of various ones

    • Can require outside expertise

    • Best when hooked into a Content Management System

    • Powerful

    • How to assess


3. Website Project Teaming 121: Understanding distributed teams, roles, and project management methods.

  • Understanding teams

    • Culture

    • Learning

    • Writing User Stories and Questions

    • Responding to Questions/Tickets

  • Understanding Roles

    • Different Methodologies have different roles, and some of them switch.

    • Product Owner

    • Project Manager

    • UI/UX designers

    • Graphic Designers

    • Media/Content curating and creation 

    • Developer/Engineers

    • QA Testing

  • Understanding different project management methodologies including:

    • Kanban

    • Waterfall

    • Agile

    • SCRUM

    • For each explore:

      •  Pros/Cons

      • Do’s/Don’ts

      • Cycles

      • How to choose

4. Virtual Website Development 101: Developing an understanding of how a website comes together by building one.  We will build several instances in a variety of ways to illustrate the different ways this comes together. We will also address the open-source options, and open-source aware service providers. Virtual Website Development 201: understanding programming and languages and when they are used.

  • DNS

  • Hosting

  • Website Files

  • Databases

  • Markup languages like HTML, XML, etc

  • Theming languages like CSS, LESS, SASS

  • Backend programming languages like PHP, Python, Javascript

  • Database languages like MySQL

5. Once students are trained, they can train others. Let’s explore how in a program/curriculum designed to create pathways and tools for students to co-tutor one another. This class focuses on training them, and providing hands-on learning opportunities to on-board and work with students coming into the project who are new.

  • What is the best way in different schools to get students together to tutor one another and learn from one another?

  •  Tools to use that will make connecting easier. See above.

  •  Building a list of available learning resources and continued learning resources.

  •  What are important skills for tutors to have?

  •  When the teacher is also a learner.

  •  Creating safe learning environments.

  •  The importance of good on-boarding