The TUSK learning system on mobile devices

TUSK is a system to collect and organize content assets for Tufts university. 

It has some cool affordances:

  1. A meta-vocabulary is referenced when a term comes up within any document. For example, “high blood pressure” might automatically link to the “hypertension” glossary even if the author doesn’t tag it.
  2. Vertical and horizontal of integration and reuse of information. This means information is not “silo”ed into courses
  3. Personal knowledge management
Tufts University’s mission is to support global health and internationalism. This creates challenges.
  1. Lack of computers in partner schools
  2. Students need content “on the go”


“I think it’s time that we recognize that for the majority of the worlds’ population, and for the forseeable future, the cell phone is the computer, and will be the portal to the internet, and the communications tool and the school book, and the ….” Joel Selanikio


  • 300 Million computers in the world vs. 3 Billion cell phones (metcalf)
  • Spending in the dev world in telecommunications is larger than other sections(Hammond)
  • Nearly 100% of partners have phones, less than 10% have computers


“The question we should be asking ourselves, then, is not “how can we buy, and support, and supply electricity for, a laptop for every schoolteacher” (much less every schoolchild), but rather “what mobile software can we write that would really add value for a schoolteacher (or student, or health worker, or businessperson) and that could run on the computer they already have in their pocket?” Joel Selanikio


My thoughts exactly.


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