Supercool School

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Video introduction to what is described as an online social learning platform, written as a Facebook application. Using Facebook, you can join an existing class or request a new one – in which case you can teach or learn. The actual classes are run through conventional synchronous webinar tools, but the process of deciding what, where, when and how to learn is very much devolved to the crowd and there seems to be little or no centralised intervention.

I like this idea a lot. I have suggested similar things in the past but at a time when social networking platforms were just a glimmer in someone’s eye so I was imagining building the whole social system. The integration with Facebook lifts this to a new and interesting level.

Supercool School has some rough edges and clearly has a way to go, but the basic infrastructure seems sound. It adopts a marketplace model but it is hard to find out how reliable or useful a given class might be – even levels are not always clear. I guess you could rely on the social network for recommendations if and when it grows big enough. I think it could take more advantage of the crowd to help find stuff that is useful, not just on the right topic, and they should supply it as an OpenSocial app, but this is definitely a cool direction to be going in. Universities should take heed – we already have the trust relationships and reputation management in place, so we have a head start.
Created:Fri, 06 Jun 2008 20:40:02 GMT

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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