Is what Mary Poulton and the Mining Engineering Department in Tucson doing, the future of on-line mining education? What she and her faculty are doing is this: with a gift from industry they are videoing most lectures and putting them on-line. Currently only registered students can access the on-line video courses. But she tells me that you, as a member of the general mining public, could register as a special student and access these courses.
Her department is currently the only US Mining faculty doing this. But she tells me the folk in South Dakota are moving rapidly to do the same. In Canada, the University of British Columbia has everything set up to video their lectures; they are just looking for somebody to make it happen.
All of this activity tells me that in the not too distant future, we will all be able to access, via the web, all the lectures giving in umpteen mining departments and “attend” any of the many courses on offer. This day cannot come too soon. For there is a demand for on-going, upgrading education in mining. Even if it is only to maintain professional competence and professional registration.
I relish the thought of a brandy in one hand, caviar in the other, and my eyes and mind trained on the computer screen as I am “entertained” and educated by an excellent lecture from a reputable university.
But there are other advantages besides drinking brandy and learning. Mining faculties, perennially short of superb lecturers, can “share” faculty via on-line content. Freed of having to prepare and give lectures, faculty can concentrate on helping students first-hand. We can do so much more with the same resources. Roll on the day of ready access by the body mining-public to these courses.