Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thing 17

I'm guessing you have to pay to have an institutional presence on ITunes U. Some of my thoughts -- while it might be easy for users to download content, as the volume of content grows, some better decisions about metadata have to be offered. I don't want to choose content from a list of 70 offerings with minimal title info, and when I search, what metadata are my keywords reaching? I think I love the idea of lectures being offered for free more than I really have a lot of hope for the future of presenting them this way. And yet, ITunes trumps Wikiversity or anything that is so text heavy.

But, for dreaming, here's what we might do at my library: Choose our topics for "information literacy" and film our instructors in action in classrooms, and then put up the best results online somewhere. I think it's all about video, and I think a real sustainable program for us would be filming what we already do rather than trying to create specific content, since we don't have advanced skills for creating content, nor the time to do it and update it. There's a lot of talk these days about active learning and peer learning, which is all good, but sometimes a lecture is a great way to learn content too.

Here's a crazy thought. What if, in the future, students subscribed to lectures for content they were interested in from repositories -- and famous lecturers didn't belong to a particular university but just sold their content to academic repositories. When students matriculated at particular institutions, it wouldn't be about registering them for particular courses and making sure they attended all the lectures, it would be about supporting their course of study through the additional teaching of critical literacies and helping them become high quality content producers...? Universities would be responsible not for the content -- students themselves would design their course of study with the help of advisors -- but for ensuring (and demonstrating through assessment) that students were critical thinkers and had lifelong learning skills and problem solving abilities, etc etc.

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