As an experiment, I am organising a "weblab" on nanosyntax, ie a sort of online work group that meets regularly and works together on nano issues. The first experimental weblab will run for 6 weeks, starting on the week of November 5th and concluding on the week of December 10th, with weekly meetings. Space is limited, so if you are interested in participating, please contact me as soon as possible and no later than Wednesday October 17th. Here is some more info about organisation and goals:


The intention is to work together on some corner of the nano approach (rather than me lecturing or us having a reading group). This means that you will be looking at unsolved data, trying to extract a generalization and if successful, use tools such as phrasal spellout, the superset, spellout-driven movements, etc -- or some evolution of these concepts -- to derive that generalisation.


Given the goal to work out some problem, participants are expected to be active each week, digging at their problem and discussing it with others. Each participant will work together with me on their topic, and if we reach a sufficient generalization, it is expected that it will be jointly written up and submitted. This requires a significant time and energy commitment from both of us, and if you are interested in the weblab but cannot commit the needed time, there will be other weblabs in the future that might fit your schedule better.


Given the expectations, the topic you choose must be narrow enough for significant progress to be made during the timeframe of the weblab. In future weblabs, I will probably suggest a general domain of inquiry from which each participant can carve out a slice of for themselves -- but everyone is of course free to pursue a topic of their own choosing (for instance if you are already focused on some work, such as your dissertation, you might want to find an aspect of that topic which can be profitably explored during these meetings). For this first series, I will not set a general domain of inquiry, instead working out a personalized topic with each participant.


We will meet weekly, sometimes every two weeks, via the web. Ideally, meetings should be joint discussions with everyone participating (meaning not the usual presentations by a single person with only occasional questions). Each session should be led by one person, who either explains their ongoing work or introduces some external dataset or article. Each session should also have one "note-taker" so that we have a concrete record of the salient points of our discussion.


To attend the meetings, you need to register with me before the first session. Since participant are expected to contribute to each meeting, the dynamics will only work with a small group, and space is therefore very limited. Conversely, there is probably no point in holding such a lab with only 1 or 2 participants, so the weblab's taking place is conditional on enrollment.


Being a small group, we can work out the optimal meeting slot once we know who the participants are. As far as I am concerned, almost anything goes -- day or night, weekday or weekend.


Initially, we will probably use Skype for meetings, but finding the right tools for collaboration is something that needs to be investigated more (using free software as much as possible, unlike Skype, Google hangouts, etc). Each participant must thus have an internet connection sufficient for some form of online interaction, and be prepared to install and use new collaboration tools as we find them and experiment with them.