Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Higher education applications: Cyberone and Berkeley Webcasts

We have discussed the applications and implications of the Internet for higher education. Most of our class felt that watching Vint Cerf's lecture The Internet Today and Tomorrow on the Net was better than being there. Universities are putting increasing numbers of courses online. For example, UC Berkeley offers a growing list of webcasts and podcasts of courses and special events like distinguished lectures. (The courses may also be streamed from Google).

I have been following Professor Charles Nesson's Harvard Law School course "CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion." Cyberone is relevant to our course. For example, the course covers ways the Internet facilitates collaboration and explores the implications of collaboration technology for organizations and the economy. It is also interesting that the course was intended from the outset to be open to the general public along with Harvard Law and Extension students. (The Extension students meet in Second Life). The Wiki and projects they create, student notes, lecture videos, etc. are all online with Creative Commons license. The instructor hopes this material will influence public opinion.

Is this the future of the university? Would you rather hear a lecture on the history of intellectual property law by me or by a Harvard law professor who specializes in the area? Professors struggle to involve students and elicit participation. Professor Nissen took a similar approach in his Evidence course, and, in a three week period, the students accessed the course Wiki over 10,000 times. How's that for participation?

Follow these links for more information on the course: