Educators predicting that online education will attract droves of students can cite as evidence the overwhelming popularity of an Open University course called "You, Your Computer and the Net": Both times the course has been offered, more than 1
Educators predicting that online education will attract droves of students can cite as evidence the overwhelming popularity of an Open University course called "You, Your Computer and the Net": Both times the course has been offered, more than 12,000 students in the United Kingdom have participated.
"Our problem is that we can’t accommodate all of the students who want to get into it," says John Naughton, one of the creators of the course.
The course is divided into three parts focusing on the history of the computer, the past and future of the Internet, and e-commerce. Each student has a personal tutor; each tutor is assigned approximately 20 students to work with throughout the 30-week semester.
"You, Your Computer and the Net" is offered for credit at the Open University each year. The course is next scheduled to be offered starting in February. Tuition for the course is $280.
Mr. Naughton says one of the goals of the course is to "teach technology through narrative." One unit focuses on the story behind Bill Gates and Microsoft, for instance. The course, which is offered for credit at the Open University, is geared toward students with relatively little computer experience. Students communicate with each other and their tutors through private chat rooms.
"I was basically terrified of computers and hadn’t switched one on before I started that course," says Sam Prior, an Open University student. "The extraordinary thing was that I hadn’t intended to take such a course at all. I got the Open University prospectus, and the leaflet for this course fell out."
Ms. Prior attributes the immense interest in the course to the fact that it is online: The Open University still offers primarily paper-based distance education in the United Kingdom, and homegrown online courses aren’t as easy to come by there as they are in the United States.
Paul Mayes, one of the hundreds of tutors for the course, adds: "A lot of students are keen to study basic I.T."
"Some of them are very unsure about where they are going, and see this as putting a toe in the water," he says. "Other students are using this just as any other course because they want a degree."
Mr. Naughton, however, has more grandiose ambitions for the course. "I feel that this is important because societies are increasingly shaped by new technologies, but there is not that much public debate about them," he says. "People say they feel disenfranchised by their ignorance."Pubblicato su: