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Philipp Schmidt

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Jan 9, 2009, 8:07:39 AM1/9/09
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I have been thinking about a number of different models for pilot
phase courses. Since the pilot phase will allow us to try out
different things, and work through a lot of the detail challenges that
we are likely to encounter only once we start, a certain amount of
experimentation is good. At the same time, we want to be reasonably
certain that the courses "work" - and that students and tutors get
something valuable from the experience.

For example, I am wondering if it makes sense to have at least one
course which is run as a network of local study groups. When John and
I first talked about P2PU, he was very excited about the idea of local
study groups where people know and support each other - and I think it
would be great if we could have one course that is run in this way. In
such a course, local study groups would meet once or twice a week and
work through the materials in face-to-face sessions, and there could
be many such local communities working on one course. Rather than
having 10 students, a course could have 10 local communities. Groups
could then post the results of their work and compare/discuss the work
of other groups.

If others think this is a good idea, then I am happy to work with the
individual tutors to see which of the courses would best lend itself
to such an approach.

Best - P

anartam

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Jan 10, 2009, 6:44:35 AM1/10/09
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Hi, Philipp!

              I think it is a good idea, but you have to choose the course very carefully. If P2PU is going to work as a boutique university, offering specific subjecs, I am not so sure if we would have enough students to create 10 local communities. Our courses are designed to take 6 weeks: it seems to me that 6 weeks aren't enough time to build a sense of collectivity in local communities. So, maybe longer courses would be more appropriate. Less specific subjecs maybe (and this is just a guess) could work better.
              What do you think?

Ana Rosa. 




Em 09/01/2009 11:07, Philipp Schmidt   escreveu:



I have been thinking about a number of different models for pilot
phase courses. Since the pilot phase will allow us to try out
different things, and work through a lot of the detail challenges that
we are likely to encounter only once we start, a certain amount of
experimentation is good. At the same time, we want to be reasonably
certain that the courses "work" - and that students and tutors get
something valuable from the experience.

For example, I am wondering if it makes sense to have at least one
course which is run as a network of local study groups. When John and
I first talked about P2PU, he was very excited about the idea of local
study groups where people know and support each other - and I think it
would be great if we could have one course that is run in this way. In
such a course, local st udy groups would meet once or twice a week and

Steven Egan

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Jan 10, 2009, 2:21:08 PM1/10/09
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Subject based groups would give us the numbers for the groups with the option of local self organization into smaller more specific groups as needed.

Steven Egan
--
My Blog: blog.IgenOukan.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/igenoukan

John Britton

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Jan 10, 2009, 9:34:20 PM1/10/09
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Like Philipp already said, I really like this idea and would be willing to help organize local groups (perhaps as a tutor for that particular class). This sort of goes hand in hand with that email about John Seely Brown's "The Social Life of Information".

Are there already "sense-makers" and tutors lined up for the pilot courses?
--
contact info:
http://www.johndbritton.com
--
http://www.hostgrown.com

Philipp Schmidt

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Jan 12, 2009, 3:19:46 AM1/12/09
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On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 4:34 AM, John Britton <pub...@johndbritton.com> wrote:
> Like Philipp already said, I really like this idea and would be willing to
> help organize local groups (perhaps as a tutor for that particular class).
> This sort of goes hand in hand with that email about John Seely Brown's "The
> Social Life of Information".
>
> Are there already "sense-makers" and tutors lined up for the pilot courses?

Yes, for most of the pilot courses tutors and sense-makers are
currently putting together the course materials/outline. So far,
tutors have been the driving force behind most of the work, which is a
little different than what we expected, but makes sense if you think
about incentives.

Are you interested in putting together another course - maybe one that
lends itself well to local communities? We had been talking about a
poker<->strategic thinking course, and that might work perfectly for
this. I am happy to help plan and strategise, but someone else would
need to put it together and facilitate.

Best - P

John Britton

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Jan 13, 2009, 2:59:14 AM1/13/09
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I'm definitely interested in putting together a locally based course, but as I'm on the road at the moment (will return "home" on 19 January) I'll have put my organization on hold until then. Can we setup a group call/chat sometime during that week to get moving on the actual work that needs to be done before the pilot courses start?

John

Philipp Schmidt

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Jan 13, 2009, 7:37:40 AM1/13/09
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On Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 9:59 AM, John Britton <pub...@johndbritton.com> wrote:
> I'm definitely interested in putting together a locally based course, but as
> I'm on the road at the moment (will return "home" on 19 January) I'll have

Great - if you want to create your own course it will be a challenge
to do all of the preparation, but we could also connect you into one
of the other courses, as a pilot local group that runs in parallel to
the online one - for the pilot course. A double pilot!

> put my organization on hold until then. Can we setup a group call/chat
> sometime during that week to get moving on the actual work that needs to be
> done before the pilot courses start?

In terms of work, lots of things are already happening at the same
time - and all of them could benefit from more people involved - a
number of tutors and sense-makers are working on the courses, others
are exploring a roadmap for addressing accreditation issues, and there
is a fair amount of admin work that is happening in the background
(drafting legal agreements for the web-site etc.).

The area in which we have not been able to make much progress is the
technology platform. A good option for the pilot seems to be using one
of the hosted services that offer most of the features we need, and
use the pilot to define what is missing.

I'll suggest a few times for a group chat during that week in a separate email.

Best - P

Philipp Schmidt

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Jan 13, 2009, 7:47:37 AM1/13/09
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On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 1:44 PM, anartam <ana...@uol.com.br> wrote:
> Hi, Philipp!
>
> I think it is a good idea, but you have to choose the course
> very carefully. If P2PU is going to work as a boutique university, offering
> specific subjecs, I am not so sure if we would have enough students to
> create 10 local communities. Our courses are designed to take 6 weeks: it
> seems to me that 6 weeks aren't enough time to build a sense of collectivity
> in local communities. So, maybe longer courses would be more appropriate.
> Less specific subjecs maybe (and this is just a guess) could work better.
> What do you think?

Good points Ana Rosa!

To get a sense of community, we could suggest local groups are made up
of friends, or colleagues, who already know each other. The same
challenge exists for on-line community - where creating this sense of
community is even harder. Much will depend on the commitment and
enthusiasm of participants, and the structure of the course - a focus
on collaborative work and peer review/feedback will help the group get
to know each other.

We came up with a timeframe of 6 weeks, because we were concerned
longer courses would scare people off (that was the feedback from
friends), and less than 6 weeks is too short to cover a substantive
amount of materials.

Your other point about boutique courses vs. more general topics is
part of a big discussion, and also related to the issue of
accreditation. There are a number of existing accreditation providers,
which P2PU could link to - but they focus on "standard" courses.
Getting accreditation for a boutique course would be harder. On the
other hand, a lot of the incentives that work in boutique courses
(tutors learn more, courses are not offered readily elsewhere,
professors can teach in the long tail), don't apply to the standard
subjects. It would be good to get more people commenting on this point
- we have gone back and forth on it, and while I think for the pilot,
our focus on boutique courses makes sense, we need to think carefully
if it's the right approach in the long term. What do others think?

Best - P

> Ana Rosa.
>
>
> Em 09/01/2009 11:07, Philipp Schmidt escreveu:
>
> I have been thinking about a number of different models for pilot
> phase courses. Since the pilot phase will allow us to try out
> different things, and work through a lot of the detail challenges that
> we are likely to encounter only once we start, a certain amount of
> experimentation is good. At the same time, we want to be reasonably
> certain that the courses "work" - and that students and tutors get
> something valuable from the experience.
>
> For example, I am wondering if it makes sense to have at least one
> course which is run as a network of local study groups. When John and
> I first talked about P2PU, he was very excited about the idea of local
> study groups where people know and support each other - and I think it
> would be great if we could have one course that is run in this way. In
> such a course, local st udy groups would meet once or twice a week and
> work through the materials in face-to-face sessions, and there could
> be many such local communities working on one course. Rather than
> having 10 students, a course could have 10 local communities. Groups
> could then post the results of their work and compare/discuss the work
> of other groups.
>
> If others think this is a good idea, then I am happy to work with the
> individual tutors to see which of the courses would best lend itself
> to such an approach.
>
> Best - P
>
>
> >
>



--
Jan Philipp Schmidt - "Sharing Nicely" at www.bokaap.net - "Hacking
Education" at www.peer2peeruniversity.org

Steven Egan

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Jan 13, 2009, 1:45:42 PM1/13/09
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Hey Philipp,

In my own big concept I've been considering the possibility of Material covered mapping for accreditation. It's fairly standard in games where structures like skill trees require this or that to be known before a certain skill can be learned. Similar is done in course requirements. So long as there are tools and clear references for the model, it stands a chance of working. After all, how many times do students need to cover the same basics?

I know it's caused some problems for me in programming classes where I have to sit through the re-explanation of object oriented programming, something I learned about three years ago. If I know it, I shouldn't have to go through it again. OOP could be a stand alone 6 week course, as could individual introductions to languages. So having OOP and the language intro could then get you the credit for say Java 101 credit. This should result in the same curriculum being covered with less wasted time. If students need help with the basics, they ask other students, teachers or find other resources, usually.

It's a bit more complicated, but it can be simplified like it's been done in the normal courses, series of courses. This can lead to better organization of courses if done right. One example is derivatives. It's done in a hard to understand way. Compare the chain rule to unit conversion with a thorough definition of derivatives, followed by learning the derivative rules and finally mixing derivatives and algebra with numbers. That would be how I'd do the course. It would easily break down into a conceptual derivatives course and an applied derivatives course. Then conceptual derivatives + applied derivatives = normal derivatives in both curriculum and credit.

Steven Egan

Scott

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Jan 13, 2009, 11:20:04 PM1/13/09
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Notice that very specialized courses are offered by accredited universities
under generic titles; the same course can be taken more than once so long as
the specialized contents changed. Usually a letter was tacked on the end of
the course number. By the way, if you are looking to standardize course
numbers, I believe that it has already been done for many courses. I recall
seeing such a system in Peterson's Guide to Correspondence Study some
decades back. What type of accreditation is being considered? If we are
working with barebones financially, do we really want or need accreditation.
Are we striving to meet accrediting agency requirements or the needs of
individual students?

Six weeks is long enough for focused courses: I could teach "Place-Names of
Scotland" or "Place-Names of England" or "English Surnames" in six weeks.
On the other hand, "Personal Names in Medieval Europe" or the "History of
the English Language" would be strictly an overview.

Scott Catledge

Philipp Schmidt

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Jan 14, 2009, 3:12:24 AM1/14/09
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On Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 6:20 AM, Scott <sc...@cfl.rr.com> wrote:
>
> Notice that very specialized courses are offered by accredited universities
> under generic titles; the same course can be taken more than once so long as
> the specialized contents changed. Usually a letter was tacked on the end of
> the course number. By the way, if you are looking to standardize course
> numbers, I believe that it has already been done for many courses. I recall

I don't think anyone has really thought about course numbers so far
... maybe once we have a list of pilot courses, we should decide which
course numbers are appropriate. Do others have expertise with this -
and could help?

> seeing such a system in Peterson's Guide to Correspondence Study some
> decades back. What type of accreditation is being considered? If we are
> working with barebones financially, do we really want or need accreditation.
> Are we striving to meet accrediting agency requirements or the needs of
> individual students?

Definitely students!

Maybe should think about it in terms of "recognition" rather than
accreditation. Recognition could take the form of developing a
reputation within the community (this works well in the couchsurfing
community for example, where people trade on their reputations). And
for those who need it, there are also different options for obtaining
formal credit outside of P2PU. Participants (Peers) would work on a
course together, and then go somewhere else to write an exam to get
formal credit. P2PU as an "institution" (I shudder) would not need to
fulfill the requirements for accreditation - and you are absolutely
right, that would not be feasible for us at the moment anyway.

> Six weeks is long enough for focused courses: I could teach "Place-Names of
> Scotland" or "Place-Names of England" or "English Surnames" in six weeks.
> On the other hand, "Personal Names in Medieval Europe" or the "History of
> the English Language" would be strictly an overview.

Thanks for this - useful!

P

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