Monday, March 5, 2012

Not a Course, A Learning Community

Over the past few months, I recorded over 30 video lectures as well as generating some ideas about how group projects might work on a large scale over the web. I'm excited to share these with you all.

Originally I was thinking of this as an online class. Something that could run parallel to my class at Stanford. But then I got a question on about why online classes weren't breaking free from the semester/quarter system. At first I have to be honest, I was slightly irritated by this question. Here I was, putting in extra hours in the evenings and weekends to be able to offer lecture materials for free on the web and someone was questioning the format of that offering. But... then I started to think more about it. I began to also wonder if I was really utilizing the power of the web for education and learning in the best way possible. I also began to wonder, what if we were more creative about how this was done. What if students could access the material on demand, at any time, as they needed it.

I became much more interested in the possibilities and the ability to experiment more broadly.

Here I would like to try something that perhaps is best not even referred to as a course. What if we tried to re-imagine how learning on the web ought to work from scratch using existing services, like blogs and YouTube? Ideally it should be accessible 24/7 without a password or login and it should be continuously updated, continuously in beta, always being refined. Perhaps the way that we should think about this is in fact not as a course as that is too constraining. What we should think about is how to build a learning community. Where it is as much about the participants as it is about the "instructor". Where learning occurs in all directions - student to student and student to professor as often as it does from professor to student in the traditional model. So, we should think of this more as a learning community. I hope you all will continue to provide me with suggestions and ideas as well as to help one another with learning about entrepreneurship and the startup process. I fully expect that my classroom teaching will benefit from this just as much as you all may benefit from the classroom and research material I hope to provide. It's a two way street.

In the meantime, here is a short video giving an overview of some of my research on entrepreneurial entry and performance in different contexts. This work includes data on startups from MIT, China, and Japan.

If you use a supported browser, you can view Youtube videos via the YouTube HTML5 Video Player, which may be more accessible for keyboard and assistive technology users.

[transcript download]