Online learning

October 11, 2005, [MD]

Right now I am sitting in the library the University of Buffalo (visiting a friend over Thanksgiving), watching the last lecture for one of my classes - online. One of my classes is full, so I can take it online. The video is posted each week, and taken down after a week (to avoid you saving it all up until the day before the exams), and it’s accompanied by the powerpoint slides. Exams and papers are done as usual. I have a lot of thoughts about what this all means/might mean to the university in the future. Although I don’t foresee, nor would like to see, everyone sitting at home around their monitors all day, I see big change coming up. Change that could be incredibly positive when it comes to widening access to information and learning both to underprivileged in developed countries and to developing countries. Of course, it could also be horriby mismanaged and lead to firing of professors in a bid to save money while not improving quality.

There is more and more free audio and lately video content available online, which is very exciting to me. Since I obviously cannot afford to go to international conferences, it is incredible to be able to still listen to the lectures. I did a ten-hour lecture series in indigenous literature in the US from the University of Michigan, I lsiten to talks about the future of technology, democracy and social trends from ITConversations, I practice my Mandarin listening skills listening to Princess Remy talk about her life in Vienna and lately I discovered two amazing sites for online video content of luminaries: Big Picture TV and MITWorld. There are of course many others.

And by the way, my course homepage is available at here. I don’t think they are supposed to be available for the world to see, but they are; so you are all welcome to check them out. The prof is quite nice. As I said, they are taken down each week and no archive is available.


Stian Håklev October 11, 2005 Toronto, Canada
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