The Studyhall Template

Brad Collins


  • Today's Talk:
    • Challenges
    • Studyhall Template
    • Studyhall Components
    • Deployment
    • How to Contribute
    • Questions

2 CHALLENGES: Institutional Malaise (part 1)

  • Modern Universities are a core institution of any modern industrial economy that provide a nation state with:
    • Certified Educational Programs
    • Academic & Scientific R&D
    • A Repository (Library)
    • A Publishing Organ (U. Press)

3 CHALLENGES: Institutional Malaise (part 2)

  • The problem is, the industrial revolution ended decades ago.
    • Universities & libraries are slow to change.
    • The Curriculum is often out of date & obsolete.
    • University graduates have training, but no experience.
    • Degree programs in Developed Countries are expensive.
    • Academic & scientific funding hampered by politics & red tape..
    • Publishing is slow and too expensive.

4 CHALLENGES: Technology Transfer (part 1)

  • Traditionally technology is introduced in developed countries and trickles down to developing countries.
    • This worked when things changed slowly.
    • But now is broken by exponential change.
    • This means that developing countries can never catch up.
    • New technology changes in weeks & months, not years.
    • When technology does trickle down, it is already out of date.
    • There no time to train people before it is out of date.
    • Universities teach obsolete technologies.
    • No local qualified staff for new technologies.
    • No jobs for the best and brightest who do learn.
    • Local companies locked out of new technologies.


  • A Studyhall:
    • is a template for a new kind of educational and research institution.
    • is small and flexible.
    • provides the freedom to fail (aka. iteration).
    • is where learning and development is bottom up, not top down.
    • is both Federated and distributed.
    • is a shared Commons (library, processing, storage, tools).
    • is a concept inspired by StudyHalls found in traditional Chinese villages.


  • Traditional Studyhalls:
    • Found in prosperous Chinese villages.
    • Used to study for Imperial Civil Service Exams.
    • After WWII used as tutorial or classroom in Hong Kong.
    • At left: Kun Ting Study Hall, Hong Kong.


  • The Studyhall Template is designed to:
    • be built anywhere, inexpensively and quickly,
    • train local people who will bring new technologies to local universities, governments, and companies.
    • provide shared computing and storage services for local universities, government, NGO and local companies.
    • be a local research and technological development hub.
    • bring cutting edge technologies & knowledge to developed countries.


  • Studyhall Components
    • Tutorial & Apprenticeship Program
    • Research & Development Center (Skunkworks)
    • Sabbatical Program
    • Commons
    • Incubator
    • Storefront

9 STUDYHALL: Tutorial Center

  • Provide students with basic skills required to learn computer programing and system administration.
    • Learn how computers work, not just how to use software.
    • Develop the ability to learn how to learn.
    • Four month program:
      • Learn Unix, text editors, the bash shell, and English communication skills.
      • Similar to program at

10 STUDYHALL: Apprenticeship Program

  • Apprenticeship is the ancient practice of placing a trainee to work with a master to learn a craft or trade.
    • Graduates from the Tutorial Program can apply.
    • Learn by working with Masters on Skunk Works projects.
    • Two year program
      • Year One builds skills through directed self-study.
      • Year Two complete a project and build a portfolio.
    • Graduates will be provided with placement services to find employment.
    • Similar to program at

11 STUDYHALL: R&D Center (Skunkworks)

  • A SkunkWorks is a department or division (often secret) in a company that develops projects outside of the corporate hierarchy.
    • The Apple Macintosh and Volkswagon Beetle were both built in SkunkWorks.
    • Develop original software and hardware R&D.
    • Solve problems ignored by the government or private sectors.
    • Fellows (Students) from the apprenticeship program work with Masters from the Sabbatical Program and StudyHall staff.
    • Everything is added to the Commons under an Open Source Licence.

12 STUDYHALL: Sabbatical Program

  • A Sabbatical is a rest from work, or a break, often lasting from two months to a year work on original research or a project, often in a foriegn country.
    • Masters who are experts in their fields from around the world will be invited to live and work in a StudyHall for from 2-3 weeks to several months..
    • Gap Year students with technical backgrounds can join the studyhall for anywhere from two days to several months.
    • Local volunteers from the tech industry will help with students in the tutorial program, and act as mentors to apprentices.


  • Commons
    • Village Commons
    • Cloud Computing Cluster
    • Fab Lab
    • Scan Lab
    • Library

14 STUDYHALL: Commons

  • A Commons is property held in common, by a community. A Commons can refer to land, tools, natural resources, software and recorded knowledge.
    • Digital Commons for Content & Software
      • Wikis (eg Wikipedia)
      • Software Repositories
      • Open Source & Creative Commons licences
    • StudyHall Commons will include:
      • A Cloud Computing Cluster
      • Fab Lab
      • Scan Lab
      • Library & Long Term Archive

15 STUDYHALL: Cloud Computing Cluster

  • Studyhall will have a Cloud Computer Cluster providing:
    • Processing & Mass Storage for Studyhall projects.
    • Open source OpenStack Cloud Computing platform.
    • Big Data applications, using Hadoop, HBase and Cassandra.
    • Open Source hardware designs from Open Compute project.
    • Uses inexpensive, commodity hardware.
    • Green, uses 40-60% less electricity as most data centers.
    • No Vendor Lock-In.


A Fab Lab is a small-scale workshop equipped with computer controlled tools that can make "almost anything". Equipment includes:

  • Equipment:
    • Laser cutter, water jet cutter, knife cutter.
    • CNC machines: subtractive 3D milling machines.
    • Rapid prototyper: typically a "3D printer" of plastic parts.
    • Circuit board milling: to create circuit boards.
    • Microprocessor, assembly, and test stations.

17 STUDYHALL: Scan Lab

A Scan Lab is a workshop equipped to scan and convert books, magazines, newspapers, audio and video into native digital formats.

  • Equipment:
    • Book Scanner (see right).
    • Video Scanner and processing.
    • Flatbed and Slide Scanners.
    • Telecine converts film to video.
    • Audio Capture and processing.
    • OCR converts images to text.

18 STUDYHALL: Library

The Library will be at the core of each Studyhall Commons.

  • The Library
    • All items in the library will be available in different formats, pdf, html and ebook formats including mobi and epub.
    • Build up a free and open library of over a million books, papers technical documentation & standards.
    • Subjects will focus on programing & networking, engineering, biology, agriculture, math & science.
    • The Library will be open to the public and schools and Univerities will have the option of maintaining copies for their own students and faculty.
    • Translation of key documents and documentation be be made into Khmer and other languages where Studyhalls will be located.

19 STUDYHALL: Incubator

The Incubator program will help graduates who want to start their own Technology Startup, instead of getting a job.

  • Incubator
    • Applicants will form teams and submit a proposal for developing a product or service.
    • If accepted, the Incubator will provide enough money for the team to live and work for 3-4 months while they build a product demo.
    • Each team will attend a Startup Bootcamp to learn how to start their own companies and pitch their demo to investors.
    • The Incubator will partner with simular incubators in Singapore and Hong Kong and will introduce potential investors to teams who will pitch their demos.
    • The Incubator will take a small share of each company that it invests in.
    • Inspired by Y Combinator in Silicon Valley in USA.

20 STUDYHALL: Storefront

Every Studyhall will have a Storefront which will be a whimsical shop that students will have to pass through in order to enter the tutorial center.

  • Storefront
    • Inspired by 826 Valencia's Storefronts.
    • 826 Valencia is a writing tutorial center in San Francisco.
    • They run a Supply Shop for Pirates (see right).
    • The shop ensures that the tutorial center is different from school and other learning experiences.


  • Deployment
    • Phnom Penh Pilot Studyhall will the first prototype Studyhall.
    • We are in the process of inviting key people to join our board of directors.
    • The application process for establishing Chenla Cambodia as a registered not-for-profit NGO in Cambodia has been started.
    • The Search for a suitable location and building has begun.
    • The Storefront for the Phnom Penh Studyhall will be a Naga Supply Shop for reseaching Naga in their natural habitat in the Mekong and Tonle Rivers.
    • The Phnom Penh Studyhall will be a template for the Mekong^2 ASEAN Research Network.

22 MEKONG2: A Research Network for ASEAN

  • A Research Network for the Greater Mekong River Basin
    • Studyhalls will be established in Cambodia, Vietnam, & Laos along fiber-optic cables along the Mekong River.
    • Each Studyhall will link to local government and univeristies.
    • Computing and Storage of all Studyhalls will create a regional distributed Super Computer for research.
    • The Phnom Penh Studyhall will be the headquarters.


  • Government? We need letters of interest in our project.
  • Influential? Introduce us to your network.
  • Wealthly? Sponor a staff member, or piece of equipment.
  • Company? We need in-kind donations, of computers, furniture, even beer!
  • Have Free Time? We want to talk to you.
  • Blogger? or Tweeter? Spread the word, we give interviews.
  • Organizing a Conference We'll speak at your next event.


Brad Collins

Download This Presentation

Creative Commons License


This presentation was made entirely using FOSS Software:

Gnu Emacs


The Gimp