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technology The Wisdom of Crowds THE INTERNET IS increasingly becoming a testing 60 November/December 2013 BizEd Virtual learning communities have the potential to "break down cultural barriers and reimagine collaboration." impending Internet boom and growth of mobile learning in Africa, and the impact of changing demographics on Japan's economy. Students presented their work online to Oxford tutors and the rest of the community. Starting in January 2014, the GOTO topic will be Big Data, a research focus for the school. The school plans to refine the site's navigation; add shorter videos, more discussion forums, and more hands-on activities; and create a more structured route through dedicated course materials. In upcoming years, organizers hope to welcome users from outside Saïd Business School. The school uses the open-source Drupal content management system as the site's platform and works with London-based software company Acquia to manage the project. For information, visit JON FE I NG E R SH /G LOW I MAG ES ground for more innovative approaches to education. Three business schools recently announced their own experiments in this arena: They've created comprehensive virtual online communities where students, faculty, and other stakeholders can collaborate and communicate on a large scale, across generational, cultural, professional, and geographic boundaries. I In the spring, the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School in the United Kingdom launched Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford (GOTO), an online problem-solving community where, each semester, students, faculty, alumni, and practitioners develop solutions and share research on a single topic of global importance to business. Faculty also integrate the topic into course assignments, which students complete and present within the online forum. GOTO was inspired by dean Peter Trufano, who wanted to unite the Oxford community to "tackle world-scale problems." For the first topic, the school chose "the Population 21 Challenge," which focused on the implications of aging populations, dropping birth rates, and changing global demographics. Faculty created video tutorials and assignments that inspired and were inspired by online discussions. Students wrote more than 600 papers and presented dozens of business plans relating to changes in global population. The school has three goals for the project, explains Janet Smart, a senior research fellow and the school's academic project manager. It wants to offer students a blended learning experience, reach across generational and academic-practitioner divides, and discuss global issues that drive the imagination of the Oxford community. For the Population 21 Challenge, students completed three tutorials that focused on demographic trends in their home countries, the way these trends would affect business models in an industry of their choice, and the entrepreneurial opportunities that would arise from demographic changes. Students analyzed topics such as the effects of changing patterns of consumption in India on natural resource reserves, the

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