Online learning 2.0

The days of online learning continue. In May last year, I had blogged about learning online, especially about how a self-learner (an autodidact it seems) has amazing opportunities thanks to the slew of tablets and the huge number of online courses coming up. Those were still days of MIT’s OCW or Carnegie Mellon’s OLI and a few others. But online learning is also coming of age. No more are the sites just about free videos that one can listen to or presentations to be downloaded and viewed offline. These are full courses that are self-contained: with learning objectives, self-check tests, resources and everything. And for the tabletly inclined, ITunesU and the diversity of podcasts are amazing.

Of course, each one of these are individually amazing. One of these upcoming OeDB screenshotones is the Open Education Database which has a section on open courses. The site seems to have aggregated open courses from several universities. Their medicine section for example has 48 full courses, including one on Advanced Emergency Trauma care from UMich. Most of these are of course linked to the course hosted on the University’s website. Take for example a small course on Caeserean section jointly provided by University of Ghana and University of Michigan. It includes a narrative surgical video of the procedure as well as an interactive case exercises for self-assessment.

There are several others. Coursera for example, has several courses with some Coursera screenshotthought into pedagogy (not just dumping of classroom training material, but with a focus on how students learn online and how this can be done more effectively). Their courses span “Humanities, Medicine, Biology, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Business, Computer Science, and many others”. As did Khan Academy graduate from being just a dump of videos to a system of learning which incentivises peer to peer interaction, self-checks and such using an innovative points system. They seem to have kept their initial sizzle as this latest review says.

All in all, nice and interesting times to be in, of course only for those of us lucky enough to afford the bandwidth, which is not yet a fundamental right in these parts, joining the list of rights to be realised below (Ahem..) more essential ones. Meanwhile, my semester break from a Bachelor of Science course on University of the People ends in some time. Looking forward to the next semester.

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