PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ford Smith is a teacher with a schedule that may surprise you. His program, Learn Anytime, at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Kentucky lets students start his online course any day they want and finish at their own speed. His is one of 25 such courses.

While self-pacing is positive, there is no discussion, no interaction with others taking the course. Smith does talk often with his students but asks them not to call between midnight and 6 a.m. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, he’s compensated at $65 per student and last year earned $120,000.

However, with no due dates, students pop in at all hours and some professors feel as if they have several hundred independent studies. It’s been suggested that if there are enough students, they can study together in a Facebook-like system.

The next frontier in online learning says Terry Anderson of Canada’s Athabasca University is to “merge the self-paced with the social stuff.” Already, Athabasca students connect in an online student union.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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