Open Course websites are one of the fastest growing segments in education, specifically distance education (DE). Typically, these websites/courses do not require a log in or registration. As a result, they generally do not offer any type of certification or credit(s) associated with it.
I have decided to explore http://itunes.stanford.edu/. This particular open course has an itunes feature that makes it very convenient for Apple users to organize and navigate through the open courses that are offered. However, if you don't have itunes or aren't familiar with the navigation of Apple platforms, it can be cumbersome. This is also a unique open course site because you are required to create an itunes account to use the features versus a true open course website (click and play).
The course I chose to review was The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law. I chose to watch this with my friend who is currently in law school to see if she could provide some additional insight to as to the quality of the course and content since she is currently in traditional law school (classroom setting).
The course was approximately a 1 hour long lecture. My experience with the course was rather disappointing. The course content was watered down, almost as if it was designed for the general population which if very well may have been. Not only was the course a flat lecture and watered down, we found several inconsistencies in the presentation. This is not something an institution such as Stanford should be putting their stamp on. This open course will entertain you but will not provide you with knowledge you would expect from an academic institution. You will find yourself searching for additional resources. Keep in mind this is a free course and has no obligations associated with it so you your expectations should reflect such.
The course does have some DE features associated with it:
* Asynchronous: The course allows learners to learn at their own pace, time, and setting.
* Technology: The technology requirement is rather standard for a student expecting to participate in distance learning courses. However, an iTunes account is required for participation.
I mentioned the course is rather flat, what I mean by that is:
*A quality course offers interaction, this course does not; it only offers a video.
* The course was not designed for a specific learning audience, therefore it is not content specific which dilutes the learners experience and take away(s).
The video I watched reminded me of content/video I have watched on Youtube, again it lacks academic substance. There was no follow up content such as tests, quizzes, or assignments that are often found in educational courses to help reinforce what the learner has learned and to aid in recall.
This course inevitably lacks a significant about of design consideration. Perhaps, ADDIE can be used in the future to increase the value of this course and future courses. To be fair this is an open course, which means it is designed to educate a very wide audience base, has no goals presented to the learner, and is free.