Education

Learners As Teachers

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Science  11 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6155, pp. 163
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6155.163-a
CREDIT: FRANCK BOSTON/ISTOCKPHOTO; R. S. UDAN ET AL., DEVELOPMENT 140, 4041 (4 SEPTEMBER 2013) © 2013 THE COMPANY OF BIOLOGISTS LTD.

Among emerging massive open online courses, the Peer 2 Peer University remains unique. This online learning platform allows members to take the dual role of learners and teachers: All members are able to create courses, which can be accessed by any online user. To understand how this peer-created, peer-led online environment sustains itself, Ahn et al. investigated how members, either as learners or teachers, engaged with open online learning available through the platform. Data describing the nature, history, and activity associated with every project within the platform showed that the Peer 2 Peer University draws a pool of over 40,000 users. However, 85% of members never engaged in the community, and only 18% of the courses were considered to be finished and thus implemented live on the platform. Although the Peer 2 Peer University users actively generate ideas to create courses, they struggle to see these courses through to completion, indicating a need to foster engagement with these teacher and learner users over time. Lack of motivation or community involvement may explain why some teachers leave their projects incomplete. Nonetheless, the data show how crowd-sourced education is useful for small groups with niche interests as well as broad audiences.

J. Online Learn. Teach. 9, 160 (2103).

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