In this course the distinctions between students and
consultants (not tutors!) is deliberately fuzzy, and there is no
implied hierarchy - we are all doing this to learn from each other. We
expect that many students will be experts in other disciplines and that they
will bring a great deal of valuable knowledge and experience to the course.
The body of students will therefore be very varied and limited only by the
few criteria below.
There are no age, geographical or other restrictions on being a student, and
there are no monetary course fees, although we hope for a
contribution in kind. There is also no
accreditation attached to this course (although it will be used by some
real-life MSc students at Birkbeck and very possibly other places).
Virtual and real-life Students
Because there is so little experience of
virtual courses we ask that students
taking the course are prepared to contribute in rather special ways.
Remember that if you are a virtual student (i.e.
you have never physically met any of the consultants), we are totally
reliant on you to give us feedback! Of course from your
viewpoint you are real and the consultants are virtual!
Because of this we intend that the course has two types of student:
(if anyone can think of better terms, great!). The real-life students
will not receive any additional tutoring, although they can
talk within their groups. The consultant will, however, be able to find out
from them whether the pace of the course is satisfactory, whether there are
difficulties with the technology, whether there are conceptual issues which
can't easily be addressed over the Net, etc.
Contributions and learning contracts
has shown that there has to be
a joint commitment from both consultants and students. We've therefore
developed the idea of a learning contract.
This is an agreement (not legally binding) that all parties will
use their 'best endeavour' to make the course work. Before applying to
be a student, please make sure that you're broadly happy with the ideas
in the contract.
The course requires commitment 'in-kind' from students. This is not a
read-only course - it's one where we learn by all participating. There
are many ways that people can participate
and there should certainly be at least one appropriate to you.
Because most of the material will need to built for the course, we are
looking for students to help
before the course starts. Students who
fill the requirements of the course
volunteer to help beforehand will be guaranteed a place
(until this category is full).
Experience shows that we will be heavily over-subscribed and we shall have
to make selections. I'm afraid this means arbitrary decisions, since we
would like to get a balance between many things (geography to balance
timezones, the current scientific disciplines of the students, technical
skills, etc). Please do not mail me, or any of the consultants, before
the course. We shall provide an
HTML form for
registration, so that we can collate data.
It is not possible in practice to keep personal data confidential, so you
should treat everything that you send us as potentially public. All
registrants at BioMOO
are required to give their real-life affiliation. However we shall do
whatever else we can to keep details private and here are
more details on the policy.