Lesson Eight: Teach From Any Beach!
Four Key Trends Related to Online Instruction
Copyrights, and Intellectual Freedom Issues
Instructional Entrepreneurship Trends for Educators
Royalty-Sharing Models for Educators
Required Assignments Checklist:
1. Read the text of this lesson below.
Review the following links related to tutoring and online
mentoring, and find three additional links to email to your
Web and Flow http://www.web-and-flow.com/
2. Review the resource links at
Particularly the master listing of sites
offering free 'learning objects'
and the Educational Objects Economy project site
3. Review the links related to advanced online learning models,
marketing, and support services at
http://lone-eagles.com/designingtour.htm and report your most
interesting findings to your instructor. Post at least two NEW
resources to the class listserv related to the themes of this
webtour and/or learning objects resources.
Include your candid comments.
4. Post to the class listserv a 2 page paper on your personal
views of the issues presented in the readings and explorations
for this lesson, and your personal prediction of what you think
will happen in the next ten years concerning the appropriate
role of online education, and traditional classroom-based
instruction. Include a summary of this course, as it relates to
online course design. Feel free to offer constructive suggestions
based on your own personal experience with these lessons.
In this lesson, we'll look at four key trends related to online education.
In this lesson, we'll address copyright and intellectual freedom issues as related to online instruction.
In this lesson, we'll look at issues related to marketing your online curriculum worldwide.
In this lesson, we'll ask the hard questions that have yet to be answered conclusively regarding online education and the positive opportunities for both students and teachers. You'll have the chance to sum up your thoughts on online instruction and to share with your classmates.
From a physical viewpoint, Internet technology allows an increasingly convenient matching of needs and resources. How this will apply to the delivery of instruction, just-in-time learning, and the realities of information overload in a world of lifelong learning and changing vocations, will be our shared learning adventure. This technology will fast become smaller, more mobile and interconnected to devices of all kinds.
Information condenses to Knowledge, which condenses to Wisdom, and VALUE is created in an information economy.
The common sense of good educators will, hopefully, lead us forward. Today, online learning is so new, few have a clear picture of the issues, and the possibilities.
Four Key Trends Related to Online Instruction
1. Modularization of learning units. When one teacher creates a really great unit on using search engines and elects to make it available for other teachers via the web, this unit, in effect, is a learning module that other teachers can easily plug into their curriculum. The trend is that more and more learning modules will be available to teachers. The challenge is organizing them in a way that makes it easy to find those modules you wish to utilize in your curriculum. Some form of micropayment needs to evolve for teachers for such use of their instructional products.
There are many advanced projects with just this goal in mind, such as the "Educational Objects Economy." You might like to explore the resources listed at http://lone-eagles.com/advanced.htm
In short, sophisticated, animated, interactive, multimedia software "objects" are already being collected in the public domain to allow you to easily enhance your online or classroom instruction. Take a quick look at what is available by going to http://www.eoe.org/eoe.htm and selecting 1. "Learning Objects" and 2. "Resources."
Also take a look at the "Blue Webn site www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/bluewebn and (on the right side of the page) select the CONTENT TABLE, search by SUBJECT AREA, and conduct a refined search by GRADE LEVEL.
Dozens, perhaps hundreds of similar sites are collecting and organizing units as modules for use by educators worldwide. More resource collections can be found at at http://lone-eagles.com/guide.htm and http://lone-eagles.com/class.htm
2. Customization of the resources of others, and customization of learning resources by students is becoming commonplace. Templates are available where a teacher just edits an existing resource, to create an original online activity or similar resource.
A teacher will soon be able to routinely create a listing of URLs individualized for a student's interests, learning levels, ability, intelligences, etc. The role of "teacher as resource broker" can be expected to increase in importance.
Automated systems are already appearing in which you enter in your interests and you're presented with a customized curriculum. Dating services use this technology to match partners with similar interests! Its important to realize that technology exists to make this increasingly easy to complete, and we can expect more such automated systems.
3. Industrialization of distance learning, also termed 'commoditization of content,' is projected to be a big new industry. Hence, for-profit corporations are jumping into the fray by creating robust K-12 resource sites. Have you wondered why http://www.bigchalk.com offers 10,000 free lessonplans to teachers? Explore the "Search by Grade Level" and "Browser by Topic" features they offer at the top of their home page. The logical partnership would be for teachers to create the content; corporations would ideally then productize and market the content, and everyone wins. The fact that many online instructional products are rated very low by teachers suggests this is not yet taking place to the degree necessary. While commoditization of online content is occurring, this should be considered separate from the teaching methods a good teacher might implement when using such "content products." Let's hope the access to greater numbers of resources means good teachers will be dramatically empowered, not threatened with replacement!
4. Globalization The world educational market, and no less, is what your courses could serve! With the current teacher shortage, and billions due to come on the Internet within the next couple decades, how will the instructional need be met?
INSTRUCTIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ISSUES TO CONSIDER:
If a good educator can suddenly deliver instruction to anyone, anywhere, anytime, it raises many issues.
COPYRIGHTS AND CUSTOMIZING COURSES
If you have access to a public domain course you might contract to
customize that course for a specific purpose or organization,
thus creating a marketable original work.
At what point does your reworking of a public domain class
constitute an original work? If less than 25% of the original
material is included, you might be justified in legally claiming
originality. There are still grey areas regarding the
legalities of exactly what you can "borrow" from the work of
others, and just what others can borrow from your work.
Stanford Fairuse/Copyrights Site: http://fairuse.stanford.edu
If you work for a school or University, who will own the
copyright for your fine work?
If you're offering an online course for college credit, you are
likely to find yourself involved in the politics of competition
between institutions of higher learning. Traditionally a given
college had a defined geographical region and other colleges once
agreed to keep to their own such regions. Today, any distance
learning course can be taught anywhere, threatening these
Since college funding revolves around the number of students
receiving instruction, turfism is a hot issue. Its important to be
aware of who your online course may threaten and to attempt to
coordinate your offering to make friends before you create enemies.
You should consult those in charge of extension courses at the
college or university you're working with regarding any potential
Courses offered through college continuing education offices
generally pay poorly, but the option exists to set the price as
high as the market will bear. Once more people have the
equipment, basic online skills and understand the cost savings of
not having to travel or reside elsewhere, the demand for online
instruction will grow. The convenience of taking a course from
anywhere, anytime, directly to the home will eventually be
available to most of six billion citizens globally. Teachers will
be increasingly tantalized by the entrepreneurial potential good
online teaching will create. If you save people time learning what
they need to know, and make it an enjoyable experience, you
should do very well.
MARKETING AN ONLINE COURSE
If you can use Internet technologies to teach well, with less effort
and time spent than your competition, you're likely to succeed if
you can initially get the word out regarding your offering. A lone
teacher attempting to promote an online class faces a difficult
task. Partnering with colleges and other educational organizations
for promotional purposes and accreditation makes good sense. Using
the Internet's potential for advertising will also be a solution
for many teachers. Systems are appearing such as Blackboard.com
which aggregate teachers' courses and provide at least a partial solution.
For example, go to http://onlinelearning.net and click on the Instructor tab.
Explore the Connected University http://www.classroom.com.
Claims to be vending online courses to 1,400 universities.
More listed at http://lone-eagles.com/self.htm
QUALITY CONTROL AND ALTERNATIVE CERTIFICATION
If anyone can create an online class, some measure of course quality will
be needed. It is likely high quality courses may be produced by non-teachers,
and low quality courses will be created by certified teachers. College credit is
becoming less important as alternative accreditation programs are rapidly
proliferating. Outcome-based results appear to be most in demand. This suggests
the potential for all citizens to become both learners and teachers all the time
on a global basis, with peer-assessment being the key measure of success.
TEACHER ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Your school might claim conflict of interest if you're spending
too much time, in their view, teaching online, particularly if
you're profiting financially.
Due to residency requirements, many degree programs allow only
a few credits out of a four year degree to be obtained via distance learning.
This is changing rapidly! It will be feasible to learn or teach from anywhere, anytime.
There is the risk that master teachers will abandon the traditional
classroom in favor of higher salaries and greater personal freedom.
Will "teach-from-any-beach-in-the-world" programs become more
attractive to teachers than the traditional school environment?
ROYALTY SHARING WITH COMMERCIAL EDUCATIONAL PROVIDERS
It is likely we'll soon see corporations collecting innovative instructional online resources from educators in a royalty-sharing arrangement, since no corporation could ever internally match the shear volume of innovative curriculum teachers are already creating! Teachers typically lack a productizing and marketing vehicle to disseminate their curriculum.
We're already seeing many businesses adding a human mentoring component to their online services. See http://www.about.com which is a directory like Yahoo, but with human experts for each topic area who invite your questions. Fee-based tutoring services are beginning to become popular. Search for "tutoring," and you'll see many business models focused on tutoring services. Many educators are becoming independent consultants like http://lone-eagles.com Tom March helped create the Filamentality site and now has his own "new, improved" site called Web and Flow http://www.web-and-flow.com/ . Be on the watch for a major increase in innovative online instructional and mentoring services offered by individuals, and for corporations looking to engage such individuals through royalty sharing arrangements.
The Positive and Negative Viewpoints
The best positive vision would be that learners worldwide would find rich learning opportunities created by the best teachers worldwide, available in SDL, mentored and guided formats. Teachers worldwide would find a huge global market for their learning materials and would relish both the satisfaction of meeting the learning needs of potentially vast numbers of learners, and realizing a substantial improvement in their personal income and lifestyle options. The following is a prediction of the impact of Internet and online education I was asked to author for a national community networking listserv, as my viewpoint of the positive potential:
A Best-Case Scenario
A new global culture will appear, combining caring and connectivity, led by youth and seniors. Youth will prove to be key change agents and technology leaders in all cultures. Unmet needs will be matched with excess resources with radically increased efficiency. World cultures will learn to celebrate their diversity without censoring knowledge of alternative worldviews. We'll all have access to all our joint knowledge through a combination of social and technical systems.
Niche knowledge specialties will become a viable vocation for individuals, in collaboration with others, keeping the world's knowledge base current. Multiple tiers of appropriate human assistance and expertise will be available to all, for the asking. Context will enhance content and "less-is-more" will be the measure of value.
"Information condenses to Knowledge which condenses to Wisdom, and Value is created in an information economy."
Everyone will become both learner, and teacher; imparting such earned wisdom. Successful mentoring of others will be the measure of individual success, in association with creating effective self-directed learning opportunities which can scale to benefit billions. The BEST resources to benefit the MOST people at the LEAST cost will be identified, to be customized by local citizens, for the local context, as an instructional entrepreneurship service.
It will be recognized that "Imagination is more important than knowledge," as Einstein first said. An individual's potential impact on global issues and citizens will be recognized as limitless.
We'll come to emphasize our abilities to imagine better ways to use the social and technical interconnections between people and knowledge. Well redefine "community" as those to which we give our time. The global cultural goal for the human family will be actualization of our joint full potential.
Transnational activism will evolve to engage daily votes on global issues which will involve more citizens daily direct participation than any past elections in human history. Ideational leaders will emerge, articulating the pulse of human emotion and thought in the face of limitless possibilities, on a daily basis.
A Worst-Case Scenario
The worst negative vision is rather thoroughly presented in David Noble's essays which you sampled in the Lesson 7.
How courses and curricular materials will be marketed has yet to evolve. Will independent instructors be able to market their courses successfully to this world market, or must they hire on to a juggernaut institution who can market their courses for them?
Perhaps, only the best learning materials will become successful, benefiting a few teachers while putting most teachers at a disadvantage of being unable to compete with these exemplary resources. Will there be enough opportunities for all teachers, or will the scalability mean that only the very best courses will be successful, leaving most teachers without a genuine opportunity? Teachers will be replaced by inadequate online teaching alternatives, and students will be without the human attention they need to develop as citizens.
Where are we in the current evolution of online instruction? It is projected to soon become a multi-billion dollar industry, as billions of citizens worldwide find the means to access the Internet through new satellite and wireless technologies...in a world where half the population has yet to make a first phone call. The cultural impacts on 15,000 cultures could be disastrous, or wonderfully empowering.
The hope is that since more and more citizens will be involved with the Internet directly, real benefits for real people will result from common sense application of the wonderful potential the Internet brings to all of us for learning and sharing what we've learned. The more teachers are thoughtfully involved with steering the evolution of the instructional use of the Internet, the more hope we can all share that the future will be bright.
Perhaps you'd like to invent a showcase project of your own?
Grantwriting resources and tips; http://lone-eagles.com/granthelp.htm
Lesson Feedback: Optional, but much appreciated.
You're invited to privately email your instructor:
1. What areas, if any, did you have trouble with during this lesson?
2. What questions remain now that you've finished this lesson?
3. Approximately how much time did you devote to this lesson?
4. What improvements would you like to suggest?
July 22, 2002 I posted the following on my most recent work to the national Digital Divide Listserv.
Here's a thought:
If we all had Internet access tomorrow, and online access to the best online training resources, what countries and cultures do you think will demonstrate the greatest tenacity for self-directed learning to truly empower themselves???
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