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AppRising delivers insight into new broadband applications, exploring their impact on networks and their implications for public policy.

AppRising is written by Geoff Daily, who covers broadband applications and the business of online video. Based in Washington, DC, Geoff regularly advises applications developers, network operators, community leaders, and public officials on how to maximize adoption and use of the Internet.

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November 19, 2007 4:16 PM

Educating Online Opportunities and Challenges

Just found a tremendous article about the push to move post-secondary education online into an open, collaborative environment.

It discusses MIT's soon-to-be-reached goal of having materials for its entire course catalog available online.

It mentions the unexpected demand among self-learners for this content.

It delves into the challenges of sustaining these initiatives, which cost MIT more than $4 million a year.

And it ventures into what the future may hold for online education.

In other words, it's a great article for anyone interested in the possibilities of broadband-enabled learning to check out for themselves.

One thought that popped into my head while reading this is the opportunity and challenge of getting teachers and professors engaged with making their course materials available online.

On the one hand, there's the general reluctance among many older educators to embrace new technologies.

On the other, there's the potential to sell this to them as a way to archive their materials and have a better system for building upon and distributing them each year.

Internet-enabled education means being able to build closer ties with students, but it raises the possibility the classroom experience will be devalued as the necessary materials to learn are made available online.

Making materials available to the public means increasing the reach and potential impact of education, but it also opens the possibility of teachers getting distracted by students who aren't tuition-paying students.

It's easy to talk about the impact of broadband on society in the abstract as an unassailable good, but it's also important to consider the unintended consequences of adopting these technologies, which if not addressed proactively can weigh down initiatives that may have the best of intentions.


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