Tag Archives: online learning


Egads…it looks like the web 2.0 / social networking movement is really picking up steam in academia.  There seems to be a new online lecture-cast platform that’s unveiled every week.  Inevitably it’s an encouraging movement, as colleges and universities are realizing they have the ability to capture lightning in a bottle as it strikes on campus.  Librarians are cashing in as well, as increasingly we are the ones who are doing the recording, organizing and disseminating of such content.

The movement toward increased lecture-cast only makes perfect sense.  A special event happens on campus, and with the permission to record and eventually post said lecture, an institution not only contributes to the overall body of knowledge, but also promotes itself and faculty in the process.

Notable platforms

  • YouTube – EDU – With brilliant examples like the periodic table of videos, more and more schools are uploading content, forcing YouTube to organize a separate space for the professional geeks.
  • FORA.tv – Focuses more on the prestigious speakers than the institutions. Important indeed.
  • Academic Earth – currently featuring lectures from Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.
  • iTunes U – Virtual beheamoth that it is, iTunes U is a subset of the iTunes Store contaning massive amounts of lectures, supplementary course info, and stuff of a general academic nature.  Typically free, of course.

infomaniacs hang out @ FORA.tv

fora A colleague just passed along a link concerning FORA.tv, and I must admit it looks exceedingly captivating.  Like academia.edu, FORA.tv is another piece of the academic’s puzzle for marketing ideas by and for those in the academic world, or rather anyone who wants to learn for learning’s sake.   What is FORA.tv all about?

FORA.tv helps intelligent, engaged audiences get smart. Our users find, enjoy, and share videos about the people, issues, and ideas changing the world.

We gather the web’s largest collection of unmediated video drawn from live events, lectures, and debates going on all the time at the world’s top universities, think tanks and conferences. We present this provocative, big-idea content for anyone to watch, interact with, and share –when, where, and how they want.

I’m not sure, but it looks as if FORA.tv gathers its content from institutional organizations themselves rather than indexing from sites like YouTube or Google video, etc.; still a little uncertain on this one. Uploading video also requires a submission process, obviously for weeding out the less educational content.  But if you wanted to find the latest high-profile speech on the economy or were even wondering what it would be like to die via black holes, FORA.tv is the place to be.

beyond full-text learning

Librarians must realize how important the Internet and/or online learning has become to an ever expanding army of millennials. Finding information and being information literate are not just the main priorities…how information is presented appears to be just as important. Since everyone learns differently, everyone benefits from experiencing new methods of processing information. And with millennials, information may be preferable when it’s visual, quick, and concise.

I came across a site the other day, a new non-profit organization called IDEA whose mission is to research and create ways that stimulate online learning. It’s a site geared to delivering information in ways that upcoming generations of thinkers, all thinkers actually, will find receptive and not boring. A little more about IDEA:

IDEA arose out of the belief that there should be no barriers between people and computers. Technology is now advanced enough to adapt to the ways people naturally think and interact with the world. The user’s experience with technology should be personalized, interactive, and intuitive, so that the tools add breadth and depth to the information presented, and stimulate creative thought. Innovative strategies built into the technology can help people from all walks of life maximize their potential.

Not too different than the aims of search engines, wikis, or even blogs. But where those are more social technologies, IDEA’s focus is to present unique solutions to conceptual conundrums. Take a look at their project page and collaborations for some examples of learning methods in development or already in public use.

Specifically, some of their projects involving the use of a device they term spicynodes which involve the clustering of brief concept maps in which the user can take in any direction their fancy chooses, simply by clicking and dragging. Learning more about the history of daylight savings time or the evolution of poetry are two projects involving this method. It’s similar to the interactivity seen in such applications like tag galaxy or piclens, whereby user click and drag on the multitude of content presented. Other interesting projects include health science tools like a prostate calculator and vision simulator.

Apart from creating a repository of information, IDEA works with information to help people learn better. Perhaps a useful information literacy tool for librarians all over.