‘Academic crowdsourcing’ allows lecturers to share ideas

By Jon Marcus, Times Higher Education

Two networks in Australia and the US backed by the same start-up technology are blazing a new teaching trail. “Academic crowdsourcing is what I’m calling it,” said Nicholas Hawkins of the University of Queensland, head of the Biomedical Education Skills and Training network (BEST), through which the virtual lab was made available. That network has now been followed by a similar operation based at Arizona State University in the US, driven by technology from the same start-up company and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve basic science instruction. It is a mirror image of the massive open online course, or Mooc; instead of connecting huge numbers of students, it connects large numbers of teachers to collaborate in ways that academics have not traditionally practised.

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