I'm doing a Reddit University online course: will any online university work?

So, this is a new one for me - I’m doing a Languages and Lambdas: The Mathemagic of Programming course from Reddit University. I believe that a university works because of the environment, fecund for learning and competition. Other students, etc. How do you build that kind of a support system, environment online

I see a billion different online universities, e-learning courses about - unsurprisingly, most of them focus on differentiation through content. But none of them delves into the psychological basis of universities.

What then is the solution ?

A usual way of building interaction is through chat rooms - which end up being empty because of insufficient people. What I think online universities should do is change the offering - learning is free for everyone. All students (paid and unpaid) can talk freely with each other. But only paid students can talk to the instructor.

Instructor questions get transposed to a stack-overflow kind of webapp, with karma points, badges and the like. That in turn is going to be used when an instructor is not around: in that case the student with the highest karma points get automagically voted up as the defacto instructor. If a student refuses, there is automatic karma point deduction and the mantle passes on to the next one in the ranking.

How about a group centric view than a personal centric (as is the norm)? Most online educational institutions assume that the student knows what he is doing, so they have a list of his questions, answers, etc. But what is needed is a list of his friends/peers questions and answers right on the dashboard. Group over personal… in a way.

I’m not sure what will finally work, but the way we are doing it now, is definitely not the way.


I'm doing a Reddit University online course: will any online university work?


July 18, 2010

Find me on Twitter @sandeepssrin

Did i make any mistake? Please consider sending a pull request.