Saturday, December 19, 2009

Finals Club - Lecture Notes From Students Instead!

'Store your notes online, collaborate with classmates, and share knowledge with the world.'

"The site bills itself as “the premier Web portal for interactive education,” allowing Harvard students to join online study groups and read annotated versions of the Great Books. But its most notable characteristic is that it pays Harvard students to post their lecture notes online ...more"

Drake Bennett's article will tell you more about what really the Finals Club (Final Club?) is trying to achieve. So, does anyone own what universities teach?

First, if I was a lecturer I would be thrilled that students are taking down lecture notes from my lectures, and sharing it online to the world, especially if my original lecture notes are crappy. Also, I would probably have several student versions to choose from, and can refer to these versions to update my original lecture notes (if any at all!).

I suppose what really annoys some lecturers, is that students at the Finals Club are getting paid for 'replicating' their work, which they have spent years to document and articulate. But then again, isn't it great that you are generating income for students. Also, now people around the world can learn from your hard work 24/7/365 days a year (previously only your classes!). But, I suppose lecturers should get some royalty to, for allowing all this to happen? That would be fair, unless you are a Harvard lecturer making a reasonably good living already.

However, if students listen and learn, and write down their own interpretations (of what is important) of what was taught or lectured, why not? Let's face it, most lecturers have basically done the same learning from other resources (probably spent more time, used more references, and mashed-up masterly to often conceal the contributions of others). Am I wrong?

Why are we wasting our time worrying about copyright or copyleft? Let it go!

Anyway, to succeed increasingly now and in the future, having access to information is not the decisive key, but the ability to make sense of this information, and use it to innovate, invent, and make things happen is. The real question we should be asking at this critical era of mankind is, "how can I make sense of this and use it to change myself and the world for the better?"

Now we are talking! Life is too short to worry and protect every word and idea (e.g. lecture notes) that we have basically mashed-up with our own flavor from other people's work. Let's move on!

Besides lecture notes, students still want to learn from the lecturer (probably more than ever!), because surely lecture notes (including video lectures) can't answer all the questions they might have. Until lecture notes can answer every question a student mind of inquiry has, lecturers will still be the kings of the University :)

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