Thursday, December 13, 2007

Open Yale and some thoughts about online learning

Ever wondered what a Yale course looks like? Well now you can find out what all the hype is about. "Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to seven introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn."

As an instructional designer I am always intrigued about the different ways people learn online. For example, Yale provides Text, Audio, and Video alternatives for each lecture. What method of delivery is most effective for your personal learning style? I like text because it is scannable and searchable. I like audio and video because I can gain a better understanding of the speakers personality and feelings. Do you think people can learn the materials better by sitting in the large lecture halls or by engaging the lectures online at their computer with instant access to all that is available on the internet? Remember that the internet is not only a great place to store and access information but an even better place for communication and collaboration via real-time and asynchronous communication platforms. Imagine watching the lecture video and cross referencing a source the lecturer cited. Then, after pondering a statement by the professor, you pause the video to post a question at a discussion forum for which all of your peers have an opportunity to address it rather than just one or two that could respond in a live classroom setting. Just something to think about.

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