There's lots of news lately about Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs). There seems to be a buzz about online learning in general lately that I haven't seen (or at least haven't noticed) before. The idea behind a MOOC is to offer your course up to the Internet world and let folks glean information from you.
If a student wants credit for the course, they'll need to pay fees. This makes sense in the fact that it takes an instructor's time to evaluate learning. However, if you don't pay, you can still do some information grazing on your own.
Entering into this fray are a bunch of companies offering their own specific flavor of MOOC. The one I found today on Forbes is Unishared. The difference seems to be that Unishared focuses on collaboration between students - real time collaboration.
This means, from what I can tell, that students share their course notes with the entire class. I can hear my middle school teachers balking at this. What about the process of taking notes enriching the learning process?
The idea here is that shared information in the form of notes allows students to produce a meaningful collaborative document that has contributions from everyone in the class. The shared notes allow for the concepts to grow and the notes also allow for students to consult with the teacher on deeper issues as opposed to the basics.
I like the idea behind shared notes and collaboration. Of course you've got to train the instructor to be on the look out for the weak link in the collaboration process. I can imagine a student with low motivation allowing a highly motivated student to do all the work.
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