I attended the Scholar2Scholar conference at Drexel University yesterday: "How Web 2.0 is changing scholarly communication." Open source and open access were the words of the day. The keynote address, by Drexel chemistry professor Jean-Claude Bradley, had to do with "open notebook science," in which he makes his laboratory data immediately available for anyone to examine and critique or reproduce via a number of free and public online tools -- blogs, wikis, GoogleDocs, etc. A vocal attendee encouraged all faculty to get out from behind the barriers of course management software to make their knowledge and information freely available.
Bureaucracy and legal wrangling that this would necessitate aside, all this made me wonder how these things can be applied to art history instruction -- it's not as though we're working in a lab with these slides! But I've already created a GoogleGroup for my students for open discussion, and am hoping to get their input in using more publicly available sites, and social networks for learning about art history.