Breaking news! The most engaged online participant in TC116: Blockchain for International Development will receive 1000 Stellar Lumens (currently worth around $220 according to CoinMarketCap or possibly useless according to The Economist).
With an online model of flipped classroom model for social learning, the value comes not only from the course content, but engagement with experts and other learners to co-create the course experience. When it works best, learners are creating positive experiences online, as well as offline such as when students in the former course had their own blockchain party in South Africa. But much as college athletes are not compensated for their contributions of value to the educational experience (Go Hoyas!), students are often left out of the consideration when it comes to assessing the online course experience.
And one of the first exercises in TC116 is an exercise to practice transferring Stellar Lumens to digital wallets to get the hang of what it means to exchange cryptocurrency and view on a shared ledger. One of the reasons we chose Stellar Lumens can be found from its roots in international development, as demonstrated by Joyce Kim during her PopTech presentation.
Of course, TC116 has typically been among the highest engagement courses, with the last session leader having 336 TechPoints on course close (with a mean around 94.3). And not all engagement is valuable, as moderators have to guard against high-activity but low value posts which are all too common in webinars and forums. In fact, paying students to learn is not a new idea and could even be counterproductive through creating extrinsic motivations — an outcome that’s entirely possible in this course environment. And given that we’re also partnering with Learning Machine Technologies to explore providing the course certificate on the blockchain, it’s probably not even the most interesting application of the blockchain in the course.
Our hope is that this will be a fun follow-on to our educational exercise, a chance to incentivize high-quality participation, and to return value to the students. But it could also be a disaster….which we’ll share in a follow-on blog post.