Online education has its upsides and downsides. Two upsides: it allows people living in remote areas or who simply can’t commit to being on campus full time to gain tertiary qualifications; industry professionals are able to set up and deliver their own courses, on their own websites, without having to partner with an education provider. A major downside: students can miss out on the social, group learning aspects which make tertiary education such a great experience. Facebook groups are one option, but not everyone is going to want to hand out a link to their personal social networking profile (especially those running the course). Plus, if you’ve worked hard for months or even years to put together an engaging and comprehensive online course, you want to make sure that all your ideas and content are clearly and irrefutably owned by you, with no provisions for anyone else to use your posts or images.
Students learn best when they have the opportunity to work through concepts with their teachers and others in their class; otherwise, they can just memorise answers and information instead of really getting stuck into what they’re learning. Having a private social network attached to the website you’re running your course on is the perfect way to facilitate this. You can set up events to remind them when assignments are due, or to schedule a group discussion. You can post important course updates, as they happen. You can hold digital office hours, chatting with students in real time (rather than resorting to lengthy email threads).
How much you use the social network is up to you; you can essentially run your course through it (delivering content via status updates, testing knowledge through discussion threads) or you can use it to supplement a more traditional mode of online content delivery (modules, readings etc). It’s one of the most flexible education tools on the market.
If you’d like to know more about integrating PeepSo into your online course, leave us a comment below or get in touch with us on Facebook – we’ve got a former university lecturer and online education guru on hand to answer any questions.