The Global Campus project envisages a network that links
teaching staff and students. Two major models for mode of
participation appear to have gained acceptance among teachers
who lead the pioneering effort. One is the producer-consumer
model where teachers provide materials to be consumed by
students. The other is the forum model where a platform for
discussion among students and teachers is operated. The appropriateness
of these models to a system that has to primarily
succeed as a network deserves closer examination.
Networks are supposed to thrive by natural means. They
succeed by attracting additional users who either see potential
rewards or are forced by the desire to survive. Additional
increase the value of the network and it is in the interest
who are already connected to pull in newcomers (“Get
and we can talk more often.”).
Networks depend on the reality of rewards, not legitimacy
or justifiability. As long as memorising essays helps in getting
good grades and the network helps students find suitable essays,
students will flock to the network, in turn attracting more
providers. The system may have originated for educational
purposes but those who operate from the sidelines would not
care as long as they can thrive. Networks reward decentralised
creation. Users seek opportunities and unfinished products
continually tried out through the network.
The producer-consumer model will not fit well into the
natural self-regulating behaviour of a network. It will consume
large amounts of resources if it is to exist meaningfully
network and externally engineered rewards are unlikely achieve
the expected outcomes. On the other hand, the forum model
all the basic characteristics of network-compatible phenomena;
it is likely to survive and thrive.