Anka Mulder is the President of OpenCourseWare, a consortium of higher-ed institutions that advocates free online course materials (cover your ears, textbook companies!).
"People say there is no gap between online and offline education, but that's not true," Mulder says. "Contact is a vital part of education. Putting information online is not the same as educating. To bridge that gap, we have to build communities--not just between teachers and students, but also among students.
"...When talking about online learning, we really have to ask how technology is helping us teach better. Right now, we're building possibilities to meet online through initiatives like OpenStudy, in which anyone taking an OpenCourseWare course can register to be part of an online community, according to subject. Math is one of the largest OpenStudy communities, with thousands of people. Because there are so many learners, they can post a question and 75% get an answer within five minutes. And these are self-learners who don't know each other at all."
Illustration by Zoran Lucic