A GROUP OF CHINESE students (at left) took a briefing about my online course materials several years ago and if my interpretation of my webstats are correct, students from China continue to sift through my course notes today.
Their interest is global, reflecting an absolute trend towards distance learning and online education. The offerings are compelling. Chinese are registering and attending open undergraduate degree courses offered by Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. You can also do this course online from Ireland with positive results, submitting assignments and attending online examinations. Finish the taskings and you could receive a Certificate of Attainment at the end of the semester. Stanford has registered more than 100,000 students for its suite of open online education programmes.
A lot of my academic materials (i.e., Powerpoint presentations, Qik video clips, annotated YouTube presentations) have leaked from my personal websites and into Google's cache. With a little skill, you can find what I'm teaching at the Limerick Institute of Technology by simply searching Educasting, subscribing to my Delicious links or by following the public Evernote lists that I maintain. All of these caches of information have been connected with social networking toolsets. That means most of my teaching materials have leaked out online. While that does not bother me, I can see how someone inside a traditional university setting might be very confused by the disruptive result of their classroom lectures being out in the wild. I think it's part of the teaching and learning process for a college lecturer to show the structure and framework of what they are teaching. That's part of the peer review process.
Some might think that giving away notes could compromise copyright or invite compeition to merely rewarm and offer the notes up to students in other localities. And while that may be a risk, I think the benefits of connecting classrooms and expediting student learning far outweigh the risk of having precious work compromised. I'll put up with the leakage and march onward.
Chris Horn -- "An Irish Top 10 University" in the Irish Times, September 16, 2011.