Course Networking

What is The CN?
“The CN is a new social network dedicated to improved learning by connecting educators and students within a classroom and from around the world based on shared interests and class subjects. A free online platform open to anyone worldwide, The CN is a simple, easy-to-use system that lets students and teachers post and share classroom information and materials, collaborate on homework and socialize with their worldwide connections.”

What is the The CN’s goal?
“The CN’s goal is to change the way the world learns. The CN’s vision for the classroom includes openness where members should have the freedom to share and receive information and knowledge online and the right to connect globally to peers, organizations and services as long as all parties agree to the terms; privacy/intellectual property controls where members should be able to control all access permissions to all intellectual properties shared through the system and to decide who should see or receive such items; free where individuals should be able to create a free account independent of any school affiliation, or country of residence, with the exception of some restrictions applied to minors; and self-policing where the environment should be self-policing, while discouraging inappropriate, unaccepted or improper posting of content and files. The CN reserves the right to remove any materials deemed inappropriate and block members’ access according to its terms of service.”

The Ivan Illich Learning Webs Scoring Systems

Network 1: Reference services to educational objects.
Score = 3.
Key Components:
Check mark symbolEducational objects.
Check mark symbolEducational objects available 24/7.

The CN takes advantage of a variety of educational objects. These educational objects include assignments, classcasts, events, posts, quizzes, surveys, anar, and conexus. Anar and conexus serve as The CN’s unique educational objects. Anar is a Persian symbol for ambition. Within The CN, Anar is a program designed to encourage learning networking. The more learning networking a student engages in, the more Anar a student receives. This learning networking takes place in conexus. Conexus is a forum that allows students to find one another to communicate, collaborate, exchange ideas, and exchange resources. This forum is defined by its users. Those who choose to join it create its content. Prior to this, Illich believed that “educational materials had been monopolized by the schools.” However, this is no longer a concern. Conexus has eliminated the controversial dominance. The rich, the poor, the elderly, and the young are all able to possess the educational materials, for free.

Network 2: Skill exchanges.
Score = 3.
Key Components:
Check mark symbol Models can list their skills.
Check mark symbol Models can list the conditions under which they are willing to serve as models.

The CN enables the exchange of thousands of skills. These skills take form in conexus. Students are able to post their skills and are able to post conditions under which they are  willing to share their skills. The interchangeable nature of students and mentors is revolutionary. Prior conventional educational environments put emphasis on the role of students as students and mentors as mentors. However, Illich was confident that “people who can demonstrate skills will be plentiful as soon as we learn to recognize them outside the teaching profession.” What he meant was that teaching standards were holding students back from being mentors and holding mentors back from being students. He felt that their would be a surplus of students who were willing to share their skills as soon as the requirements in order to share their skills decreased. The CN has proven Illich right and has in turn created an explosion of education resources who are more than willing to share their knowledge.

Network 3: Peer-matching.
Score = 3.
Key Components:
Check mark symbol Includes a communications network.
Check mark symbol Allows students to inquire about a learning activity.

The CN is characterized by a communications network that allows students to discover one another. This communications network parallels a lot of the social networks we use today including FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Illich pictured that within this communications network “the user would identify himself by name and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. A computer would send him back the names of all those who had inserted the same description.” This vision mirrors The CN’s conexus. A student may inquire about a conexus for a learning activity in order to come across other students who may have inquired about the same learning activity. Each individual conexus is equivalent to a specified course. This means that each individual conexus may cover a specified colloquium and include specified students. The most distinct aspect of conexus is its ability to deviate from the specified colloquium. This deviance leads to new ideas, new energies, and new perspectives.

Network 4: Reference services to educators-at-large.
Score = 3.
Key Components:
Check mark symbol Includes a educator(s)-at-large.

The CN includes a database of educators-at-large. This database is composed of all of its students. The fine line between the students that wish to learn and the students that wish to teach is one that may never be clearly defined. This aspect of The CN is what sets it apart from all of the other contemporary “Learning Webs.” Its main resource includes its students rather than its content. Illich says that, “there will always be a fuzzy line between the teachers of skills and the educational leaders.” The CN chooses to dance along this fuzzy line. All involved in The CN are equal and all involved in The CN take pride in their contributions.

Overall = 12

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