Can a mob study with integrity?
September 9th, 2010

owls
OpenStudy is an e-Learning startup which invites students to “join the world’s largest study group.” An animated introductory video shows little owls flying about beyond their library computer stations to settle on a question about what x+y=?

The OpenStudy blog cuts to the chase on a question that has haunted open online learning for years: does it cause and facilitate cheating? The OpenStudy post titled “The Definition of Cheating?” looks at the rampant practices of many students considered to be cheating, and concludes:

Fortunately, the ones who work the hardest, learn the most, and give back by teaching the material will win. Why? The hardest workers and most inquisitive users will get the most out of this new resource and that, my friend, is awesome.

Is it true that the increasingly smartmobby world is gaining integrity over, for example, the kid who sneaks a look to copy an answer from the student’s text paper on the desk next to him? What does new understanding of the principles set out in The Wisdom of the Crowds and Cognitive Surplus tell us about the level of integrity open online study groups will engender?

Is it possible that the nanny role of the academy will be diminished when students study together in the open internet instead of at a table in the student lounge?


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