miércoles, 29 de agosto de 2012

10 Incredible Rumored Research Projects Going On At Google X

What's cooler than a top-secret, high-tech research facility? One that's run by Google! Located in the Bay Area of Northern California (though only a select few know the exact location), Google X Labs has a purported list of 100 projects in development that delve into the realm of science fiction, the products of which may just change how we interact with our technology and each other in the coming decades. Here, we share a few of the formerly top-secret projects that Google X has unveiled in recent months, as well as some of the rumored research they're doing on unbelievable ideas. All of them are sure to get you excited about what's to come from this omnipresent tech company as they move from revolutionizing the search engine to revolutionizing, well, everything else.

  1. Augmented reality glasses.

    One of the biggest Google X projects to come to light in recent months is their "Project Glass," perhaps better known as Google glasses in popular media. The company released the first demo of these glasses early in 2012, and some project that they will be on the market by the end of the year if product testing goes as planned (though that's a bit ambitious as the design still has some major issues to work out). The glasses look about the same as a run-of-the-mill pair of eyeglasses, but instead of a lens, they're outfitted with a small display screen. The end goal is to create a product that doesn't require any interruption in everyday activities to use, allowing users to look up relevant information about their locations or day-to-day activities with little to no effort. If Google can pull it off, augmented reality glasses could replace smartphones as the next must-have gadget.

  2. Android Assistant.

    In an effort to match the features offered by Apple's Siri, Google X has been hard at work developing its own assistant. The voice recognition and comprehension system, initially named Majel, is expected to launch at the end of 2012 in all new Android phones. In June of 2012, it was rumored that Google X was stepping up its work on the project and have hinted that it will do much more than simply mimic Siri, offering a much wider and more impressive range of interactive features. Research on the assistant could also be setting the stage for more in-depth AI projects in the future, as we'll discuss later in this article.

  3. Web-connected light bulbs.

    Want to make it appear like you're at home while you're on vacation? You won't need any annoying timers with the web-connected light bulbs being pioneered by Google X. This isn't just wishful thinking, as Google reported in May of 2012 that they were already developing a device of this nature for the commercial market, which they plan to reveal by the end of the year. The light bulbs will be connected to Android phones, allowing those with them to remotely turn lights on or off. Similar systems are reported to be under development for other devices, including planters that can be remotely watered, making house sitters a thing of the past.

  4. Self-driving car.

    If the prospect of a driverless car is terrifying to you, not to worry; these Google X vehicles aren't hanging out on every road just yet. In a project led by Sebastian Thrun himself, a renowned Google engineer, researchers developed a robotic vehicle which they called Stanley. Stanley and other Google X prototypes are modified versions of the Toyota Prius that have thus far logged more than 140,000 unmanned miles on California's test tracks. A new law in Nevada making driverless cars legal has prompted the lab to take things one step further and they are developing the cars for commercial use. Still in the initial stages, this development could potentially make roads safer, allow more transportation options for the disabled, and open up a whole new realm of location-based advertising.

  5. Solve for X.

    Solve for X is a forum created by Google to bring together the top minds in the world to solve big problems and to develop life-changing, revolutionary technologies. It's not technically part of Google X but in many ways seems to be very much wrapped up in the same research and ideals. Both projects are top secret (conferences for Solve for X are invite-only), both involve some of the best minds in the world, and both are focused on moonshot ideas, leading many to wonder just how much separation there really is between Google X's labs and the Solve for X project. Some of the ideas being discussed by the forum, at least those that have leaked, are transformational educational technology, agricultural improvements, carbon-negative biofuels, and synthetic biology. All of these ideas could potentially already be under development at Google X, and those without Google insider status will just have to wait to see what comes of that research.

  6. Neural networks.

    In June 2012, Google revealed that it had built a nine-layer neural network that can learn to detect faces using unlabeled images. This impressive feat took 1,000 machines three days to do, but it paid off. The network not only learned to detect human faces but those of cats and other body parts as well. Even more impressive, it did this with accuracy ranging from 81.7% to 74.8%. While accuracy in the more than 20,000 object categories the researchers scanned for was just 15.8%, that's still a 70% improvement over previous systems, making Google's foray into machine learning a pretty powerful success. This experiment is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to machine learning and could mark some serious leaps forward in the coming years with all kinds of AI projects.

  7. The Web of Things.

    Sometimes called the Internet of Things (though Web is much less awkward), this Google X project is all about hooking up just about everything in your home to the Web. With all home appliances and electronics interfaced, the idea is that they'll be able to anticipate your needs, remind you of chores, or even let you tweet the status of your dinner to your friends. You'll also never have to worry if you left your coffee pot on again, as devices could easily be managed from a linked smartphone or other device. While perhaps one of Google X's least well-kept secrets, the research could be making it to the market sooner than you think, with major partners like Broadcom and Texas Instruments collaborating to develop fully web-ready appliances and devices.

  8. Robotic avatars.

    It should come as no surprise that Google X is rumored to be the site of some serious robotic research, as Sergey Brin himself attended a course on the NASA campus as a robot. Miles away, Brin steered the Brinbot around the room, taking part in a range of discussions through video conferencing. Google X may be developing a wider range of robotic avatars, if rumors are to be believed. New robots developed through the research being done on site have been purported to do everything from taking Google maps photos to performing mundane office tasks to allow workers to perform their jobs remotely. It's classic sci-fi, but with the work of Google it may become a reality sooner than later.

  9. Space elevator.

    One of the most talked-about projects that Google X is tackling is space travel, though not by traditional routes. Google is researching the potential of developing a space elevator, essentially an anchored cable that would allow goods and passengers to more easily, cheaply, and efficiently be shuttled into outer space. As far-fetched as it might be, Google may just be the company to finally revolutionize and popularize space travel, though some (Time Magazine's Jeffrey Kluger chief among them) don't think Google's plans will ever lead to any kind of viable space elevator. Whether it pans out or not, it is a bit exciting to consider the Google version of space travel, whatever that may mean.

  10. Artificial intelligence.

    The HAL-like AI system so many sci-fi novels warned us about may not be that far off, at least not if Google has anything to say about it. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have both said that they expect Google to eventually become a form of artificial intelligence, with the ultimate goal of making it AI-complete. While work on the rudimentary AI system used for Android Assistant isn't especially under wraps, many suspect that Google is actually working on much more robust and revolutionary AI projects. This suspicion is probably pretty close to the truth, as a 2006 company memo stated that one of Google's goals was to become the top AI research lab in the world, something Google X will undoubtedly play a role in over the next few decades. Even more telling, in 2011 a supposed former employee posted a message about some of the key AI research going on at Google X.

Taken From OEDb

martes, 21 de agosto de 2012

50 Indispensable EdTech Tools for 2012

Technology and education are pretty intertwined these days and nearly every teacher has a few favorite tech tools that make doing his or her job and connecting with students a little bit easier and more fun for all involved. Yet as with anything related to technology, new tools are hitting the market constantly and older ones rising to prominence, broadening their scope, or just adding new features that make them better matches for education, which can make it hard to keep up with the newest and most useful tools even for the most tech-savvy teachers. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the tech tools, including some that are becoming increasingly popular and widely used, that should be part of any teacher’s tech tool arsenal this year, whether for their own personal use or as educational aids in the classroom.

Social Learning

These tools use the power of social media to help students learn and teachers connect.
  1. Edmodo: Teachers and students can take advantage of this great tech tool, as it offers a Facebook-like environment where classes can connect online.
  2. Grockit: Get your students connected with each other in study sessions that take place on this great social site.
  3. EduBlogs: EduBlogs offers a safe and secure place to set up blogs for yourself or your classroom.
  4. Skype: Skype can be a great tool for keeping in touch with other educators or even attending meetings online. Even cooler, it can help teachers to connect with other classrooms, even those in other countries.
  5. Wikispaces: Share lessons, media, and other materials online with your students, or let them collaborate to build their own educational wiki on Wikispaces.
  6. Pinterest: You can pin just about any image you find interesting on this site, but many teachers are using it as a place to collect great lesson plans, projects, and inspirational materials.
  7. Schoology: Through this social site, teachers can manage lessons, engage students, share content, and connect with other educators.
  8. Quora: While Quora is used for a wide range of purposes, it can be a great tool for educators. It can be used to connect with other professionals or to engage students in discussion after class.
  9. Ning: Ning allows anyone to create a personalized social network, which can be great for both teachers and students alike.
  10. OpenStudy: Encourage your students to work together to learn class material by using a social study site like OpenStudy.
  11. ePals: One of the coolest benefits of the Web is being able to connect with anyone, anywhere. ePals does just that, but focuses on students, helping them to learn languages and understand cultures different from their own.


These educational tools can help you to make lessons fun, interesting, and more effective.
  1. Khan Academy: Many teachers use this excellent collection of math, science, and finance lectures and quizzes to supplement their classroom materials.
  2. MangaHigh: MangaHigh offers teachers a wealth of resources for game-based learning in mathematics.
  3. FunBrain: If you’re looking for a great collection of educational games, look no further than FunBrain. On it, teachers can take advantage of fun tools for math and reading.
  4. Educreations: Educreations is an amazing online tool for the iPad that lets teachers (or students) create videos that teach a given topic. Perfect for studying or getting students to show off their knowledge.
  5. Animoto: Animoto makes it simple to create video-based lessons or presentations for the classroom and to share them with students or anyone else.
  6. Socrative: Available for computers, mobile devices, and tablets, this student response system engages students through games and exercises on any device they have on hand. Even better, teachers can easily assess student progress and track grades.
  7. Knewton: Adaptive learning has been a hot topic in recent months, and with Knewton it’s something that any teacher can access and use. The site personalizes online learning content for each student according to his or her needs.
  8. Kerpoof: On Kerpoof, students can get creative with their learning with games, interactive activities, drawing tools, and more that are both fun and educational.
  9. StudySync: With a digital library, weekly writing practice, online writing and peer reviews, Common Core assignments, and multimedia lessons available, this site is a fully-featured tool for teaching and learning that can be a big help in the classroom.
  10. CarrotSticks: On this site, teachers can take advantage of a wide range of math learning games, giving students practice while they have fun.

Lesson Planning and Tools

Use these tech tools to pull together great lessons and design amazing and memorable student projects.
  1. Teachers Pay Teachers: Have great lessons to share? Looking for something to add to your classes? On this site you can do both, selling your own class materials and buying high-quality resources from other teachers.
  2. Planboard: Make sure your lessons are organized and that your day runs smoothly with the help of this amazing online tool designed just for teachers.
  3. Timetoast: Timetoast is a pretty cool for student projects, allowing them to build sleek, interactive timelines in minutes.
  4. Capzles: There are so many different ways that Capzles can be used in the classroom, there’s bound to be an application that fits your needs. What does it do? Capzles makes it simple to gather media like photos, videos, documents, and even blog posts into one place, making it perfect for teaching, learning, or online projects.
  5. Prezi: Want to build presentations that will wow your students? Make use of this online tool that makes it simple to do all kinds of cool things with your lessons, even allowing collaboration between teachers.
  6. Wordle: Create stunning word clouds using Wordle, a great complement to language lessons of any kind.
  7. QR Codes: QR codes (or quick response codes) are showing up with greater frequency in education. If you’d like to get in on the trend, you’ll need a tool to create and manage the codes like Delivr and one to read codes, like any of those listed on this site.
  8. Quizlet: Quizlet makes it easy for teachers to create study tools for students, especially flashcards that can make memorizing important information a snap.
  9. MasteryConnect: How are your students performing with regard to state and common core standards? MasterConnect makes it simple to track and analyze both, as well as other elements of student performance.
  10. Google Docs: Through Google Docs, teachers can create and share documents, presentations, or spreadsheets with students and colleagues as well as give feedback on student-created projects.
  11. YouTube: Not all schools allow YouTube, but they are missing out as the site contains a wealth of great learning materials for the classroom. There’s even a special education-focused channel just for teachers and students.
  12. TED-Ed: TED isn’t just a great place to find inspiration anymore, the site also contains numerous videos that are organized by subject and can help you to teach everything from how pain relievers work to Shakespearean insults.
  13. Glogster: Glogster is a social site that lets users mash up music, photos, videos, and pretty much anything else you’d like. It’s a great way to create learning materials and a handy tool for creative student projects.
  14. Creaza: Want to bring your student projects into the 21st century? Creaza can make that possible, offering tools to brainstorm, create cartoons, and edit audio and video.
  15. Mentor Mob: On Mentor Mob, you or your students can create a learning playlist, which is essentially a collection of high-quality materials that can be used to study a specific concept.

Useful Tools

These tools can help you to stay connected, organized, and increase the ease of building multimedia lessons and learning tools.
  1. Evernote: Capture great ideas, photos, recordings, or just about anything else on your Evernote account, access it anywhere, and keep it organized. A must-have tool for lesson planning.
  2. Twitter: There are so many ways Twitter can be used in education. Teachers can connect with other educators, take part in chats, share their ideas, or even use it in the classroom to reach out to students.
  3. Google Education: Google offers a number of great edtech resources for teachers, including email and collaborative apps, videos, lesson plan search, professional development, and even educational grants.
  4. Dropbox: Easily store, share, and access any kind of data from anywhere with the easy-to-use and free Dropbox service.
  5. Diigo: Diigo lets you treat the web like paper-based reading material, making it simple to highlight, bookmark, take notes, or even add sticky notes.
  6. Apple iPad: One of the most widely used, though expensive, tech tools being used in today’s classroom is the Apple iPad. With a host of educational apps being developed for the device, it’s become a favorite of teachers and students alike across the nation.
  7. Aviary: Aviary is a suite of tools that make it easy to edit images, effects, swatches, music, and audio or to create and modify screen captures.
  8. Jing: If you’re teaching kids about tech or just about anything else, a great screenshot program is essential. Jing is one great option that allows teachers to take screenshots as images, record up to five minutes or videos then edit and share the results.
  9. Popplet: You and your students can use Popplet to brainstorm ideas, create mindmaps, share, and collaborate.
  10. Google Earth: From geography projects to learning about geological processes, Google Earth can be an amazing and fast way to show students anywhere in the world.
  11. DonorsChoose: Need funding for a classroom project? You can get it through this site that hooks up needy teachers with willing donors.
  12. SlideShare: With SlideShare, you can upload your presentations, documents, and videos and share them with students and colleagues. Even better, you can take advantage of materials that other have uploaded as well.
  13. LiveBinders: Like a real-life three ring binder, this tech tool allows you to collect and organize resources. Much better than a binder, however, the site also comes with tools to connect and collaborate and a virtual whiteboard.
  14. AudioBoo: Through this tool, you can record and share audio for your students or anyone else.
Taken From Online Degrees

25 Tools That Take Tutoring To a New Level

Like other areas of education, tutoring has seen some radical changes in the past decade courtesy of new and increasingly innovative technologies. Students and their tutors can now interact at any time and from anywhere in the world, and tutors can create and share educational resources with their students in minutes using high-quality and often low-cost online tools. Learn more about some of the websites and resources that are helping to define the new face of tutoring by reading about a few of the best of these new tools that we've collected here.

  1. Skype:

    Through Skype, tutors and students don't even have to be in the same country to interact with one another. In addition to high-quality video chat, the site also makes it easy to share files and even conference in other students or tutors. While it's great for global communications, it's just as useful for helping local learners with simple questions as they go through their homework.

  2. Google+ Hangouts:

    Google+ Hangouts is another excellent tool for remote tutoring. Not only can tutors talk with students over video on laptops and other handheld devices, they can also use just about every other feature Google has to offer at the same time. Screen sharing, connectivity with Google Docs, and the ability to archive discussions have made it an excellent choice for a number of educational applications.

  3. IDroo:

    While Skype alone can be a great way to meet and talk with students, some subjects require a little more interaction and instruction. That's where IDroo comes in. IDroo works with Skype, adding whiteboard features that make it simple for tutors to show students how to solve math problems, construct sentences, or even build circuits. It's flexible, useful, and allows tutors and their students to work well at a distance.

  4. WizIQ:

    To date, there are more than 150,000 teachers and tutors and 2 million students using WizIQ, an online learning program. WizIQ allows users to set up classes for students, deliver lectures live or recorded, distribute educational materials, monitor usage, and even give tests.

  5. Wikispaces:

    Tutors and their students can easily share and collaborate on things through Wikispaces. It's an amazing tool for collecting information students can use to learn, but it can also help tutors to give feedback to students who are doing research, writing a paper, or just showcasing how much they know about a subject.

  6. TutorCloud:

    Tutors can use this great website to showcase the services they have to offer learners. It helps to simplify the process of finding new students and allows learners to easily connect with those in their area or who have expertise in subjects with which they struggle.

  7. Tutor.com:

    Tutor.com is another excellent tool for tutors who are looking for new clients. It allows tutors to find students at a variety of different levels (and vice versa). Even better, all tutoring through the site takes place online, so tutors never even have to leave their computers to start bringing in extra income.

  8. GlobalScholar:

    GlobalScholar offers a wide range of online services, including homework help and tutoring. Tutors can use the site to build personalized learning environments for their students, which make it simple to teach, share information, and even track progress over time. With many large school districts already using the program, students may already be familiar with it, and progress in tutoring sessions can easily be shared with the students' teacher.

  9. ziizoo:

    There are a lot of online tutoring programs out there these days, but ziizoo sets itself apart by being the first to integrate tutoring with Facebook. Students can sign up, pay as they go, and get help from tutors on a wide range of subjects. Since it's all integrated directly into Facebook, it's easy for students to keep up and check back.

  10. Animoto:

    With a lot of tutoring taking place online, it's key that tutors have tools that will help them to develop web-friendly learning resources. One of the coolest tools for doing that is Animoto. Animoto lets users combine photos, videos, and music into one sleek presentation, which can be a great way to introduce or explain topics that learners are struggling with.

  11. Tutor's Office:

    Tutor's Office is a great service that can help tutors and teacher manage all of their activities, meetings, and students. It features a calendar, tools for invoicing and accepting payments, a personal website, student portals, and much more. Essentially, the site brings together a whole host of tools that are pretty key to managing a successful online tutoring business.

  12. Moodle:

    Moodle is a course management system that is free for educators to use. It offers resources that make it simple to create learning sites that students can use, integrating a calendar, blog, and other useful tools into one site. It's a great way for tutors to share information, especially when working with multiple students in the same grade.

  13. TutorVista:

    Tutors can offer their services through TutorVista, a site that makes it simple for tutors and learners to connect and interact online. The site offers 24/7 availability, testing, homework help, and tracking, making it a step in the right direction for both students and those teaching them.

  14. Edufire:

    Share your expertise through Edufire, a site that offers classes and tutoring to learners of all ages and abilities. Live video chats, one-on-one sessions, and pre-recorded content make it simple to find help with just about any topic, from math to Chinese.

  15. InterLangua:

    Speak Chinese or Spanish and want to help others to learn? Looking to learn yourself? This site offers fully-featured language tutoring through online private sessions with native speakers, making it an amazing tool for anyone looking to do a little language learning.

  16. Growing Stars:

    Growing Stars is another online tutoring site, though one that focuses on hiring tutors who have an MS or above. Those who are qualified can apply to tutor, finding long-term clients who teach math, science, history, and other subjects through online video sessions and training.

  17. YouTube:

    YouTube is a great tool for tutoring for a variety of reasons. Tutors can make and share videos or learners, or direct their students to some of the amazing educational content that already exists on the site to help them understand complex topics or make learning a bit more fun.

  18. 24 Hour Answers:

    This site offers college homework help and online tutoring in just about every subject imaginable. As a result, both students and tutors will find it to be a great resource, and unlike many other tutoring sites, this one focuses on helping students at the college or university level.

  19. e-Tutor:

    e-Tutor offers both students and tutors some incredibly helpful learning tools, from instant feedback and progress tracking to the ability to self-pace and direct any online learning. Resources aren't just for students who need help catching up, but also gifted students, homeschooled students, and adult learners, too.

  20. HomeworkHelp:

    Need some quick help with homework? This site can be a great place to find it. There's a store, online tutorials, and, most importantly, great academic services that match up with state standards for K-12 education.

  21. TutaPoint:

    Students pay by the hour to use the tutoring services offered through this site, which focuses on math, foreign language, and science. In addition to being able to offer or receive tutoring, the site is also home to books and videos that can help students along as well.

  22. Sylvan Online:

    Sylvan is keeping up with the demand for web-based learning resources by offering their own online tutoring program. Instead of heading into a Sylvan Learning Center, students can learn from anywhere they choose. This may make tutoring easier for many families who are too busy or too far from traditional tutoring resources.

  23. Vienova:

    Tutors at Vienova offer one-on-one sessions with students through video chat, whiteboards, and interactive conversations in subjects like English, math, biology, and economics. It's another simple, easy way for learners to find high-quality tutors and for tutors to offer their services to students.

  24. Care.com:

    Forget about posting tear off posters at your local grocery store; there's an easier way to find clients these days. Tutors and students can connect through Care.com. Tutors can create a profile that allows them to showcase the services they offer, and students can pick the tutor they think will be the best fit.

  25. TutoringMatch:

    Here you'll find another tool that focuses on online tutoring. Visitors to the site can not only search for a tutor who works in the subject they need help with, they can also get online instruction from that tutor right through the site.

Taken From Online College Courses

25 Tips to Make the Most of a MOOC

Massive online open courses (also known as MOOCs) are quite popular these days. A huge, or massive, version of open online courses, these classes bring thousands together, often around the world, to learn simultaneously. Discussions, connections, and learning are the focus on MOOCs, but with the low level of commitment and their overwhelming nature, it’s easy to get disconnected. Read on, and we’ll share 25 ways to stay in the loop, on task, and get the most out of your MOOC experience.
  1. Get connected:

    It’s easy to lose interest and drop out of a MOOC, but don’t let that happen. Find at least one other person to keep you connected to the course, and you’ll be much more likely to stay on track.
  2. Introduce yourself and share ways to connect:

    Be sure that you’re easy to find if your coursemates would like to connect with you. Share your Twitter, blog, and even a friendly image so that they know how to find you.
  3. Start your own discussion:

    A great way to get connected with others in your course is to post a thoughtful reply to a discussion, or create your own discussion. Just be sure to get out there and get involved, you’ll find much more value in the course if you participate with others.
  4. Complete major projects:

    If you really want to get the most out of your MOOC experience, take part in all of the major projects along with the class.
  5. Offer assistance to others:

    Help out your classmates. If they seem to have trouble with a concept that you feel you understand, step in and offer some assistance. You just might learn something yourself.
  6. Don’t get overwhelmed:

    A MOOC is, by definition, massive, and there will be lots of posts to your course groups that you can read, but you don’t have to. Remember that you don’t have to read every single thing. Save time by getting a daily digest of posts and scanning it for interesting conversations that you’d like to take part in.
  7. Don’t be overwhelming:

    Do your classmates a favor: get to the point. Be concise in your discussions, questions, and answers so that everyone else can quickly skim through your contribution to the discussion.
  8. Use descriptive titles:

    A great way to help others better understand what you’re getting at is to use descriptive titles. That way they can skim and decide if they want to read your discussion or not.
  9. Create your own content:

    As you begin to understand the course content, you may have reflections of your own. Share videos, concept maps, and more to share with your classmates, and have them to reflect on later.
  10. Ask questions:

    Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have a question or an interesting discussion to spark. You’ll be able to better understand a concept, and may even be able to shed some light on information for others who were wondering, too.
  11. Join sub-groups:

    A great way to stay on top of discussions without being overwhelmed is to join sub-groups, where you can share what’s really important to you in the course.
  12. Set up your own blog:

    Although you’ll certainly be participating in online discussions, a blog is a great place to collect and share your own thoughts on a course. It’s a good idea to have an online home for your conversations that will live on even after the MOOC is over. Try to post to your MOOC blog at least once a week, and reference to it when applicable.
  13. Get on Twitter, too:

    Chances are good that plenty of MOOC discussions will be happening on Twitter. Be sure to get on the service and find out what the course hashtag is.
  14. Create your own archive:

    With tools like Scoop.it, you can create an archive of all of the great resources you’ve found in your MOOC.
  15. Designate an email address:

    Use your usual email address for a MOOC, and you’re bound to get overwhelmed quickly. Create a dedicated email address that you use only for MOOC learning, or set up filters to keep posts out of your run-of-the-mill inbox.
  16. Set up a Yahoo! Pipe:

    Yahoo! Pipes are a great way to stay on top of MOOC post aggregation. You can bring in RSS, Google Groups, even Twitter and Flickr.
  17. Plan what you want to get out of it:

    Do you just want to follow along? Get credit? Start your own learning module? Have a clear idea of what you want to get out of a MOOC before you even get started.
  18. Get oriented early on:

    Determine where and when everything is so that you don’t get left behind. Find the materials, important links, and times of the sessions that you want to participate in.
  19. Stay on schedule:

    It’s easy to get behind when there’s so much coming at you all at once. That’s why getting oriented and determining your goal is so important. Decide what you want to participate in, and then schedule a time to do just that. Plan when you’ll read discussions, remember sessions, and carve out time for readings so that you’ll always be available to give learning your full attention.
  20. Make a commitment to yourself:

    When no one is holding you accountable, it’s tempting to let things slip. But stay committed and stay active, and you’ll reap the full benefits of the course.
  21. Get a certificate:

    If you’re going to do the work, why not get credit for it? Many MOOCs offer the option to get a certificate for course participation; find out what the requirements are and what you’ll need to do to get one.
  22. Find a job:

    It’s rumored that star performers in MOOCs just might be snapped up by dot-coms in need of star talent. Students who ace problems and never miss a quiz, engage in high-level discussion, and show their passion for the subject really stand out, and some employers are beginning to take notice.
  23. Use your MOOC experience to get college credit:

    As Inside Higher Ed explains, you can use MOOC in your prior learning portfolio to get actual college credit for your work, even if it’s not directly from the MOOC administrator.
  24. Be persistent:

    MOOCs are an educational marathon; don’t give up before you’re done. Put in the time and effort necessary to stay with it, persistently connecting, building your network, and learning.
  25. …but don’t be afraid to take time off:

    MOOCs can be overwhelming; if you need a break, take a little time off to relax and start again. Pick things up next week with a new topic.
Taken From Online College

‘Mechanical MOOC’ to Rely on Free Learning Sites

A group of online-learning ventures is collaborating on a new kind of free class to be offered this fall, known as a mechanical MOOC (for “massive open online course”), that will teach a computer-programming language by patching together existing resources from open-learning sites.

Unlike courses already available online, the new class will not require a traditional instructor, or a large start-up investment.

The new course, “A Gentle Introduction to Python,” will blend content from M.I.T.’s OpenCourseWare, instant-feedback exercises and quizzes from Codecademy, and study groups organized by OpenStudy, and will be coordinated through an e-mail list operated by Peer 2 Peer University.

“The MOOCs that have come out in the last six months are really incredible and have truly moved the needle for online learning, but they are based on very sophisticated central platforms and require significant resources to develop,” Philipp Schmidt, Peer 2 Peer University’s co-founder, said in a statement.

“The mechanical MOOC is an attempt to leverage the power of the open Web, by loosely joining together a set of independent building blocks,” he said.

The mechanical MOOC will not be as tightly structured as the free courses now offered by leading universities like Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania through Coursera or edX, which have enrolled more than a million students. (While M.I.T. is involved in both edX and the new project, they are separate.)

Unlike edX courses, the mechanical MOOC will not offer a certificate of completion. However, students can earn a badge from Codecademy to document their achievement.

The collaborators say that the components of education — content, community and assessment — all exist online, although not in one place. Combining top sites for each, they say, should result in a course that is as good as the far more costly approach taken by Coursera, edX and others, albeit a less polished experience, where the pieces are not custom-created to fit together neatly. If the first course works, they say, it could spur many more  similar offerings.

OpenStudy will provide a forum where all learners in the class can choose to participate in a mass study group, or can be assigned to a study group of 10.

The creators of the mechanical MOOC hope that the new model will help increase the percentage of students who complete their courses.

Currently, only one in 10, or fewer, who sign up for MOOCs make it all the way through, either because they signed up while casually browsing, or because they are unable to keep up with the hours of work required each week.

In the mechanical MOOC, those who fall behind can repeat units where needed and work at their own pace.

“We want to do more than sign up tens of thousands of students and have only a fraction succeed,” Preetha Rom, the co-founder of OpenStudy, said in a statement.  “Our goal is to have everyone who participates succeed.”

A version of this article appeared in print on August 21, 2012, on page A11 of the New York edition with the headline: Online Course Will Rely on Multiple Sites.