31. What if teachers connected their students to networks of experts across the world?

A hugely successful strategy for the early MOOCs was the practice of connecting diverse practitioners and experts on the subject, to the personal network of their ‘students’. In fact, I remember an instance when Alec Couros (EC&I 831) actually invited people in his professional and social network to engage with his students and provide them critical feedback on their blogs. This is, by no means, a new or original strategy.

Well-intentioned and competent educators have always recognized their own limitations on the subject and ensured that whatever those be, their students would not be required to endure them. They have ensured that their class converse with experts and resources that bring in fresh perspectives and opinions. Imagine your class talking with a Nobel Laureate or an expert archaeologist who has worked on the ruins of Mohen-jo-daro!

Of course, this means the teacher would have to cede a bit of control and perhaps even lay bare some of her own limitations, but it would provide a powerful role model of a continuous and open learner to students, who will learn to be as open and conscious of their own limitations.

What if non-credit, alumni, or simply interested people could engage with participants in a regular, formal course? Regular for-credit classrooms are defined by their enrolment and their assigned teachers. What if anyone, from anywhere in the world, could join and contribute to that classroom? Its like saying once in a Maths class, always in a Maths class. How would this level of open-ness work in real, practical terms?

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