Virtual Learning

Kayla is a college student who is the lead on an assigned class project. She is introduced to Yourknow by a friend who has used the product successfully for a term paper in the past. So she registers as a user and creates an account. She forwards a link to John, Avery, and Anny to register on YourKnow and create accounts too, after which she invites them to join the group she has created, called Project 2020.

As the group lead and Admin, Kayla schedules a live collaboration event and the team members join in at the scheduled time. Using the writing pad as well as the instant messaging/chatroom feature, they plan the project and decide there and then to co-write a draft. After writing the introduction, Kayla passes the pen to Anny who based on the plan, writes a paragraph. Anny then passes the pen to Avery who continues linking his thoughts seamlessly and maintaining the writing style of his colleagues. The general consensus at this stage is that John will do further checks on some data that needs to be in the next paragraph and use the sequential collaboration functionality to add to the document. That functionality has a date and time stamp so the other members of the group will know when and what has been added to their saved document.

Kayla is pleased with what they have been able to accomplish thus far and she receives lots of commendations from her team for suggesting YourKnow. She schedules the next live collaboration event to continue work on the project. The plan is to ace it and publish same in the YourKnow library for the benefit of other students and researchers.       

The phenomenon of virtual classroom and education has seen an upsurge as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disturb global educational calendars. Just as life must go on in spite of the challenges this virus poses, education and knowledge acquisition cannot be on lock down. But there can be issues with student participation and interaction in a virtual environment. Even in physical classroom settings, there are students who always have their hands raised to participate in discussions and others who hesitate to engage.

Emelina Minero in a recent write up on strategies to improve participation in this COVID era, categorized them into synchronous and asynchronous. My interest in this blog is particularly to focus on one synchronous strategy – using group projects to enhance student participation in remote learning. 

More project-based learning activities tend to encourage research and richer discussions in virtual learning. YourKnow is increasingly becoming your one-stop shop for everything Collaboration.  We envision a future with audio/visual features and students turning in assignments on the platform.  

YourKnow is a social productivity platform. Our flagship is live collaboration with a document as its end product. There are many collaboration apps, but YourKnow has a different feel and offers a unique experience. It caters to the needs of people who desire to collaborate with the expectation of having a written word or document. Whether you are a student, professor or business professional working on a project with others, YourKnow is the product of choice.

COVID-19 and Copyright

When it’s all over, done with, and dusted, COVID-19 will be remembered for different things. Prominent on the list will be fear, uncertainty, and toilet paper. There are many others which may not be getting the attention duly deserved, but affect the lives of millions of global citizens.  

In most parts of the world, pre-k through twelfth grade, colleges, and universities have all gone virtual. Distance learning, e-learning or online learning, however you prefer to label it, has become the new normal. Wherever and whenever content is created, used, shared, and redistributed, the issue of copyright and intellectual property cannot be discarded.

Mike Masnick, in a write-up on the nature of our permission culture, reviews the effects of this pandemic on our already cumbersome copyright laws and vice versa. Unless a material is in the public domain, the fact that something is publicly available does not mean that it does not require a license or permission. We operate from the assumption that a material is copyrighted whether there is a copyright statement and or symbol on it or not. Once it is the intellectual property of someone and it was not created and produced with public funds, whoever owns the copyright must be sought and permission obtained.

In this COVID-19 era when there is a proliferation and use of e-learning and collaboration platforms, even with fair use license provisions and recent special contingencies like Pandemic License and Education Continuity License, not everything permissible in a classroom setting can be replicated online. Interestingly an author must publicly designate a work as covered under the Pandemic License before it can be read aloud in an online classroom or a recording of such reading be uploaded in an e-learning management platform. This is getting in the way of teachers and online collaborators. It’s causing unnecessary delays in knowledge sharing and acquisition.

We are already dealing with a lot. Can life progress without fear of liability suits and when this is all over, get post-usage clearance or take down such content?  There hasn’t been a global pandemic in a century and the last time there was one, the Internet wasn’t here with us. Maybe this is a good time to review our copyright laws in the wake of what appears to be the new normal, going forward. YourKnow and other platforms stand to gain and education will be the better for it.