Mix and Rip Learners

Contrary to what you might surmise from reading what my wife describes as rather pessimistic posts, I am as taken by the potential of social networking and collective intelligence as the next guy (or gal or whatever). Sometimes all I have to evaluate the proposals of others are my own experiences (often based in the hard data I collect).

A fellow blogger’s post mentioned the RipMixLearners project and I followed the link to investigate. You might understand the position of this project by reading the following quotation:

Since we can’t expect the lecturers to take on much of the work themselves, we need to provide support services, both for developing digital course materials, and navigating copyright restrictions that might apply.

I wonder what makes a difference in the situation described here vs. my own. A main research interest has long been the use of technology to extend and enhance the lecture experience in large introductory classes (see some research citations).

I have not found that students make much use of online recordings of lectures in comparison to notes (the type of notes that might be able to get from a more able classmate, but also the type of notes that might easily be offered online). I have also found that while students in my studies have been quite willing to access “expert notes” provided by others, they have not been that interested in contributing to collective notes (a wiki).

Perhaps the assumption that all or many are interested is the flaw. What sometimes concerns me about the impressive examples provided by others is that the presence of such cases does not necessarily imply that such behaviors are likely to be typical of most learners. At first, I thought that was fine, because the expressiveness/interest of some could serve as a resource for others. However, what I have observed is a little different. There appears to be a resentment that sets in when those who give it a go are not followed by others. There is a sense of being used.

What may be described here are contributions made by some who are outside and therefore different from the target group. If this is a reality, this is different that I the way I would prefer it would work, but I guess I don’t make the rules.

There are complexities here yet to be illuminated.

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