The interface to the classes is a private nntp server that UoP maintains.
All of the classes I've taken so far have broken the students into small "learning teams" (their term not mine). Each team has their own newgroup under the main class news group. Each week there is an individual assignment and a team assignment. The interaction is quite good actually (depending on the other students, but you get that with traditional classes as well)
There is also a general newsgroup for the class. You are required to post at least one message to that group 5 out of the 7 day week. Some of the discussions have been quite good actually. Much like here in some cases.
One thing that UoP did that I really like is that their week ends on wednesday instead of friday. This causes fewer conflicts with deadlines at work which are nomally on friday or monday and coursework which is almost always due on the last day of the week (wed.)
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