Is it Really Free?
"Right now LectureShare is completely free with no limitations, and we're working hard to keep it that way!" (That is what they say! Let's hope the "right now" statement becomes a long-term project.)
Current Available Features:
- Give students access to course materials without the burden of maintaining your own webpage or the hassle of complex web-based solutions
- Post audio and video content easily
- Make class announcements that your students will actually read—via e-mail, RSS (coming soon), or SMS
- Effortlessly make your course available to anyone if you choose.
- Stay organized with course materials and announcements for all of your classes is gathered in a single location
- Beyond text—enjoy streaming audio and video content along with text and files
- Keep track your way: e-mail, RSS (coming soon), or SMS. No more checking class webpages for updates every day.
- Tap into the power of open source courses on hundreds of topics."
MasterMinds Behind LectureShare?
- Ezra Katz - Mastermind behind LectureShare, as well as the primary developer.
- Nathan Carnes - freelance website developer and graphic designer in charge of design and user experience.
What to expect in the Future?
"LectureShare is currently in early beta. You can expect plenty of improvements over the next few months as we gather user feedback. We're working hard to make LectureShare the best platform available for both instructors and students."
I learned about this new learning tool via Jospeh Hart's blog (who learned about it via Jane Knight's blog, and she learned about it via bla,bla,bla,...). I really like the fact that this new easy-to-use learning tool (as far as I know) starts of with only the basic and fundamental features (course materials and announcements) that most lecturers or instructors would like to use to get their online learning adventure (or access) moving ahead. Also, now educators don't need to move around (from LMS to LMS) their course materials should they decide to join another University, College, School or Organization. In short, Publish Once for All! Though, it could be difficult for students to keep track of the announcements for each course if the educator is handling one course for multiple classes or Universities (Then again, I am sure they have thought about that!). However, I really like the SMS announcement ability and the upcoming RSS feature (don't need to visit the site for updates).
Overall, these two masterminds behind LectureShare in some ways got to it going before Google, Yahoo and MSN (as I babbled somewhere in the Future of e-Content Development in Higher Education presentation. Published on Dec. 9, 2005.). However, I do anticipate that for example tools like Google or Yahoo Groups (why not FaceBook, YouTube or MySpace?) can evolve further to enable educators to facilitate an easy-to-use and effective course-related online learning environment. To me the core features that educators would love in addition to managing their course materials and announcements efficiently online, include social bookmarking (collection of shared online resources or URLs), Forum (Yes, we need to discuss to facilitate the articulation of ideas and learning in relation to the course materials or course), Quizzes (Check for understanding), Assignment (enable students to submit assignments online), Survey (to get feedback, so that we can improve the course or learning materials. Perhaps, could add a comments or rating section for each resource, too), Blogs (quick informal knowledge sharing on the latest relevant updates in the knowledge galaxy), and Wikis (Collaborative content development). Hmm, I suppose it is getting complicated and I suppose I could make it more complicated, but these are some of the features that would be useful to engage and motivate the learner to learn, besides being able to access course materials and announcements easily online.
In short, the era of publishing course materials or courses to one University (, College, or School) might be of the past in the near future. Why publish to my students only, when I can also educate the world at the same time for free? :)