A pair of instructors at the University of South Florida has decided to offer their courses in a traditional in-person setting to registered students, while allowing anyone to join in on the class online.
Philip Bishop, the instructor of “Arts and Humanities: What Does It Mean to Live Well?,” and Edward Renner, the instructor of “Forums for a Future,” are turning their fall courses into Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOC’s. Mr. Bishop and Mr. Renner did not have the resources to establish a platform for these courses at USF, so they chose to host it on a spin-off website of the social news site Reddit, known as the University of Reddit.
The University of Reddit website, created two years ago by Anastas Stoyanovsky, allows anyone to offer a course on any subject around the world for free. The platform provides space for instructors to post syllabi, lessons, and course information. While the platform has no formal ties with Reddit itself, it informally incorporates the larger Reddit system. This informal connection allows students to access a class specific message board on Reddit, which will serve as a discussion board for all students, virtual and in-person, to interact on weekly assignments.
The two professors believe that the freely available platform of the University of Reddit gives their student both in-person and virtual opportunities they normally would not receive. “What my [in-person] students get is a global perspective on this material,” Mr. Bishop said, “[and my virtual students]are going to get the benefits of the honors students posting and creating content on the bulletin boards.” In addition, both of the professors have written textbooks to accompany their courses, which will be available for free from iTunes University.
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