TED Conversations

Max Reinertsen

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Is there a practical way to get large scale collaboration between the many different online learning services?

We all know of Edx, Coursera, The Khan Academy, online classes, ReCaptcha, and now TED-Ed, and we all know the subtle unique features of all of them. Is there a practical way to combine these different programs to make an even better learning environment for people of all ages and skill sets?

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    Jul 22 2012: IN MY VIEW:
    In today's context even the word sharing seems like a business term, an action that will execute a long term business plan. Bringing together a selfless group of people who would love to share is very difficult. However if there is a business plan associated with "to get large scale collaboration between the many different online learning services" then it seems possible. If anyone has anything may it be property or knowledge all is for sale and sometimes its even for charity all you need is a right approach and price.
  • Jul 22 2012: Is there a practical way? I am thinking that it wouldn't likely happen. These companies are all competing for the same market of online learning. The competition is probably a good thing. It encourages the companies to make their teaching style even better. Also I just think it is unlikely that these different groups would willing work together on a new teaching method that would potentially outdate their current system. I also know that a lot of online courses are run by universities that need to make a profit. It is simply unlikely.
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      Jul 23 2012: I agree with you Noah. Basic economics shows that if they would merge, creating a monopoly in the online education market, the price of learning would increase. Also, innovation would slowly deteriorate. The competition between these companies promotes creativity and innovation to create new ways of learning. It also provides a cheaper way of accessing online education.
      Unless their is an incentive for them to merge, then it would not likely happen.
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        Jul 26 2012: The antitrust division of the USDOJ would likely take a close look, as such a merger would appear to violate the second section of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which protects consumers against higher prices, reduced quality of service, and reduced innovation.
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    Jul 28 2012: Combining only makes sense if something can be gained from it. The short answer is that can be done if someone would like to spend the time evaluating and restructuring content. The learning environment will change and there will be people that don't like it regardless of how many people it could help. Having separate resources for now is facilitating the greater need for curiosity.
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    Jul 23 2012: We can try a Wikipedia - Wikimedia Commons type model that pools all known courses online into a single site for reviewing, rating and sharing. The courses could be tiered from free Wiki style courses to paid premium courses and/or degree programs - like the Photosearch/Stock Footage companies provide. This new site would have to be a non-profit collaboration site or organization with global standards and a global body of volunteers editing, reviewing and monitoring it for abuse. It can be "open" until the point of transaction or direct experience.
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    Aug 12 2012: I hate to be the one to say this, because in general, I think "the public", ruin almost everything... but I think this will eventually all be merged with programs like MIT open university, to create a public school online, which offers all of these services incredibly cheap, with "official" accredation.

    I think they haven't really figured out online testing yet, but it's pretty simple, people in government and universities, are just a little dumb. They need to make a webcam required course material, then, when you take tests, they pay some guy 10 bucks an hour, to watch 8 webcams and make sure you're not cheating. Hopefully this will lead to the first actual, rather than dream induced experience of realizing you're in class naked, in front of someone... That would be a joke that literally took hundreds of years to pay off.
    • Aug 12 2012: All that would do is add extra cost and complexity. There is no way to know that the person in front of the camera is person getting credit for the class and even if you do have facial recognition it would still be possible to have someone off camera with a cloned monitor feeding the test taker the correct answer. If people want to cheat there is always a way.
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        Aug 13 2012: The goal isn't to make it impossible to cheat, the goal is to make it as difficult to cheat online, as in real life. If you are looking at your screen, and no 3rd party software is running on your computer, and you have an id on file... It will be as hard to cheat, as if you are in a room with something written on a hand, phone, earbud etc.
        • Aug 13 2012: Ah, I see, I was confused and thought that your goal was to add unnecessary ineffective expense and complexity
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    Aug 11 2012: Every owned has a goal; and it seldom involved providing a "free" service to users.

    EDx - Fee for certificates upon completion and offers talent searches for companies for a fee. The modern equivelant of a head hunter service.

    Coursera - Listed as a for profit and explains that all details are not yet available.

    Khanacademy - sponsored by Bill Gates and Google

    ReCaptcha - Service supplies subscribing websites with inmages of words that OCRs have been unable to read. Now owned by Google.

    TED-ED - No explaination needed.

    Each in my opinion has different goals and different approaches. There are no free lunches. Each has a sponsor, sells ads, or has a fee for services.

    We each learn differently, each system offers different approaches, differing areas of expertise, differing levels of learning. To merge them would serve no meaningful purpose.

    I hope I evaluated each correctly from the articles I reviewed. If not please correct the errors.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Aug 3 2012: There are at least two talks that are related to this and not yet in your list. Most likely more.
    Daphne Koller, cofounder of Coursera
    http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education.html
    and Peter Norvig, cofounder of yet another such website:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_norvig_the_100_000_student_classroom.html
    Furthermore, you're currently missing out on at least http://www.udacity.com/ with a similar goal.

    I'd love to see such a collaboration going on too. Similar to the collaborations that happen between a bunch of Youtubers, like, to list only a few of the massive list:
    - ViHart
    - Minute Physics
    - CGPGrey
    - Crashcourse
    - Veritasium (Derek Muller from Veritasium also gave a TED talk but it was for the TED talent search http://www.ted.com/profiles/1378762 )

    I'd absolutely love to have all of them be unified in one single place.
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    Aug 3 2012: Here is some previous conversations on a related topic. http://www.ted.com/conversations/6173/unify_universities_into_networ.html?c=335928
    Consolidation is a natural process and so is diversion. :)
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    Jul 28 2012: Gee. It seems to me that a web site that lists all free-education sites like those you've given plus some that you haven't and others as we discover them, is more than enough. Add a chat room and what more do you need. Care to work on it with me?
  • Jul 27 2012: Money!
  • Jul 23 2012: How? Why? This just ads another layer in interacting with others to the activities of groups that have their own agendas. Of course, if we have 50 groups and there are 10 associations or five associations - that might do what you want it too. As we increase size and diversity we may be increasing complexity. Look at the Euro- it got too many dissimiliar countries involved. A good idea that might be app[lied differently than you intended.
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    Jul 22 2012: Why would combining make the learning environment better? Isn't variety often a good thing, particularly in learning environments and opportunities? Is bigger always better?