“The Knowledge is Free, The Degree Will Cost You Money…”

by Sachin Balagopalan on August 12, 2008 · 1 comment

When you think of college professors (with the exception of my lovely bride of-course ;) ) the adjectives that typically pop up are “frumpy”, “drab” or “outdated” and I’m not saying that to be insulting. That’s just the way it’s always been - anyone who appears slightly Einsteinesque, seemingly intelligent or bookwormish we tend to club them into the “non-hip” category.

Well you might change your mind after reading this Chronicle of Higher Education post where one professor seems to have his finger on the proverbial pulse.

These days many professors make their lecture materials — and even recordings of their class sessions — free online for anyone beyond the campus to learn from. But a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas hopes to try to offer even more of his course to a wider audience this fall by allowing outsiders to participate in course discussions online.
“Serious, you can just take this class for free,” wrote the professor, David Parry, an assistant professor of emerging media and communications at the university, on a post on his blog AcademHack. The course is a graduate seminar on “Networked Knowledge,” and Mr. Parry had already planned to make recordings of class sessions available online. But he’s now offering to hold a weekly online discussion group by video chat for those tuning in remotely as well. “Think of it as a more formalized reading group,” he said

Hardly outdated if you ask me. Not only is he offering the course materials on-line but he’s opened up the class to the on-line community to participate. “Big deal there are tons of so called on-line courses” you may say. It’s really not the “on-line” aspect of it but rather the fact that this guy is totally Web 2.0 enabled. Blogs, online videos, video chat and apparently Twitter as well. More importantly the differentiating factor here is he’s opened it up to the entire world to audit the course (of-course only students who are enrolled will receive college credit) and …

He predicts that it will take him an extra couple of hours per week to do the online discussion group, but that it would be worth his time. “I get a lot back from this in that I’m really interested in the future of education,” he said.

Supplementing the classroom sessions with on-line “live” sessions adds a social dimension to the course material that will no doubt lend additional perspectives on the topic. Not only will it benefit the students but the professor himself may learn a thing or two - pretty humbling for a professor if you ask me.

As I often tell my wife, going to school or college these days seems like a whole lot of fun than it was back during my day!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

EdvinIRohn 09.26.09 at 2:06 pm

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