IN YOUR CLASS: THE GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTION IN EDUCATION
The internet and education:
Nothing has had a more profound impact on education since the invention of printing than has the internet. Its giant presence is felt in three domains:
(i) First and most profoundly, on-line education will soon become the overwhelming provider of academic content -- full courses that replace the professor standing in front of a class, reading from his or her yellowing notes. This transformation has been slowest in public colleges and universities, whose student-to-faculty ratio has bulged in response to shrinking public support, making the on-line route to knowledge the obvious way to go.
This revolution has recently been given a new face through “massive, open, on-line courses” – MOOC – a trend that might not only up-end for-profit, on-line education such as that sold by the University of Phoenix and Capella U, but will soon strikingly redefine the role professor in traditional universities;
(ii) course management software (e.g. Blackboard) which allows an instructor to post on-line material and information relevant to a course such the syllabus, course notes, problems sets and solutions, test schedules, grading scheme, for the student’s convenience; and
(iii) enterprise management software such as that provided by PeopleSoft, which addresses HR, financial, inventory, supply chain and enterprise performance management functions. Although enterprise management applications are by no means uniquely developed for educational institutions, their architecture and capabilities strongly impacts the academic side of the colleges and universities that uses them. Student records, class schedules, student fees and student aid reside within the college’s enterprise management program.
Despite the apparent globality of the data bases that such systems create, problems, and often serious problems, arise.
Communication is the word:
The central problem, in a word, is communication. None of the above applications allow the participants to communicate in the manner that social networks have popularized and currently constitutes the instinctive approach.
As on-line instruction and MOOC grows, students need to communicate with each other and with multiple instructors, tutors and advisors on campus, or at multiple campuses where they take courses for which they then seek credit. Their course selection impacts directly on student fees and student aid, an already complex system that will become even more complex as a student’s presence beyond a single campus becomes a norm. Since so much more instruction is now falling on the shoulders of student, organizing study groups, often with participants at more than one institution or in more than one course section will become crucial. The list goes on.
The solution: InYourClass:
IYC is a global communications environment configured as a social network that allows students, teachers, tutors, advisors, administrators … everyone who is impacted by, and who, in turn, can impact the educational life of a student, a class, a college, a university, a research collaboration, a group of students linked by an on-line class but otherwise separated by thousands of miles …to communicate. They can post problems, find solutions, teach and learn, arrange for student aid, find the course that they can take now so as to complete their graduation requirements, buy educational goods and services, post their college transcript or their resume, find a job, arrange an internship.