NORMAN — Some of the most vibrant discussions in one of Kelly Goodson's courses this semester have taken place outside the classroom.
Goodson, a junior at the University of Oklahoma, is taking a course that features a new online learning platform developed at OU.
Now, the university plans to use the system to offer free courses to anyone with an Internet connection.
Goodson, 20, is enrolled in “Law and Justice,” one of six courses the university offered this semester using the platform called Janux. The courses were the beginning of the testing phase for the program, developed in partnership with the Norman-based education technology firm NextThought.
On Oct. 21, the university opened the site to the public. Beginning in January, OU will offer 20 courses on the site, including “History of Science,” “Science of Hydraulic Fracturing” and “Chemistry of Beer.”
Goodson goes to the classroom twice a week. When students aren't in class, they use the system to access everything they need for the course. Rather than using textbooks, students read the required passages on Janux. They can also use it to access videos, discuss the reading with classmates or take quizzes.
The system also allows students to write notes in reading passages, in the same way they might scribble their thoughts in the margins of a textbook. Goodson said that's especially helpful when the class is reading dense material, such as Plato or Cicero.
“It allows for student interaction in a way that we've never seen before,” Goodson said. “It's been great.”
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