Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Would you like to take a pay-it-forward course?

Those of you who have seen my services section, will have noticed a virtual learning offering. I have been offering 2 courses: Java Programming Best Practices, and Object Oriented Design. Till now the fees for each course was $100 for a 6 - 8 week period. However, I have had the desire to work on the Pay-It-Forward model from a long time.

I first read about the Pay-It-Forward concept on Liegh Blackall's wiki. What it really means is every participant has the option to not pay the course fees if they volunteer to mentor future participants or volunteer in other ways towards development/maintenance of the course. What a wonderful idea. This way we can create a community of mentors and move towards peer-taught, outcome-based courses. (Just as an aside Mark Shuttleworth and others are planning some very interesting things using the concept of peer taught and outcome based courses to help school students gain analytical skills.)

Please send a mail to adaptives[at]gmail[dot]com, if you are interested in taking the course. I may not be able to mentor everyone who signs up immediately, but we will accomodate everyone a batch at a time. Please mention which course you would like to take, along with some background information about yourself, like whether you are a student or a professional developer, the technologies you work with, and your experience in the industry.

If you are planniing to take the "Java programming best practices" course, then you must be already be familiar with Java. If you are taking the "Object oriented design" course, a very basic exposure to OO concepts will help, but is not a prerequisite.

The primary prerequisite I request, is sincereity in learning, and sincerity in sharing your knowledge with future students.

Here is how we will proceed with the course.

When you sign up, I will mail you a document containing recommended reading. A lot of it are posts on this blog, and some from elsewhere on the Internet.  You should read every section, and reflect on it by writing a blog post on your blog. I will follow your blog and converse with you by adding my comments to your posts. If you have any questions/doubts, you must post them on the learning forum, where they will be answered by the community. If you wish, you can also announce your blog on the forum. This way you will get feedback from other participants as well. Periodically, I will mail you assignments, which you can mail back to me for feedback. I also have some mindmaps and other learning artifacts, which I will post on this blog, soon.

To sum it up, learning is grasping new information, increaseing your understanding by reflecting and practicing the concepts, and deepening your understanding by communicating with others. Teaching is also a very important aspect of learning, when you teach something, you retain the information for a longer time, and also increase your own level of understanding. The basic grasping of information will happen by reading the material I mail you. Reflection, and critical thinking will happen on your own blog, resolution of your doubts and queries will happen on the newsgroup, practice will be through the assignments, and to close the loop you will mentor future students, thus helping them as well as yourself.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to share them as comments on this post. 


Discuss this post in the learning forum.

Note: This text was originally posted on my earlier blog at http://www.adaptivelearningonline.net

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