I have given serious thought to Carlo's idea of creating a site where the readers collaborate on solving their problems. I looked into whiteboard and screen sharing software and websites and actually picked out the ones I would use. I even considered the idea of asking for donations instead of subscriptions. However, I have decided not to pursue the idea of an open collaboration site for the following reasons.
Keeping it clean
I read that about half of the edits to Wikipedia are just to remove objectionable and inappropriate material...racist, political, pornographic, or advertising. I trust that my current audience would not participate in these malicious activities, but it wouldn't take long for the trolls to find the site and exploit it's openness.
One of the whiteboards gave an example of what can happen. They provide a free board open to the public. One, or more, of the users posted objectionable material, so the company banned the suspected user. However, the user would plead that one of the other users was the offender. The company had no way of telling which user was guilty when multiple users were online.
Another example is the Chemical Reaction Engineering Group on LinkedIn. So called market researchers were posting advertisements as fast as the group leader could delete them. He finally had to start approving every submission, just as I have been doing with comments to this blog.
I haven't found a whiteboard that gives each user the ability to erase or delete only their contributions. Thus, a troll, after having his work deleted repeatedly, might start deleting the work of others.
My current thinking...
The above comments were about an open format. The closed format below should prevent the problems mentioned.
A traditional whiteboard is somewhat limited in capability for engineering problems. Thus, I think it would be great to use my Mathcad/Prode Properties combination to work on problems. Here's how I think it would work.
Mathcad and Prode experience
The above proposal should work great for students who already use Mathcad. For others, we could try the following approach.
I have a couple of pdf documents that show the basics of Mathcad. I could make these freely available on my website. Students could read these to become familiar with data entry and the Mathcad conventions. Then, I could set up free sessions with Join.me to do some hands on practice before the first paid session.
When I share the screen with someone using a non-USA keyboard mapping, the input will not be completely correct. If that happens, the student can tell me what he/she meant (via audio or chat) and I can retype it.
The sessions will all be live. Thus, large time differences between me and the students could present a scheduling problem.
You could "stump me". I don't have instant recall with all subjects. To avoid that, students should provide a brief description of the problem or subject prior to the session. However, if I'm still unable to coach you to a solution, we can terminate the session and reconvene at a later time. This would give me some time to study the problem.
I think this concept is unique. There are entire ChE courses on the web, as well as free video lectures. However, I haven't seen anything that involves the kind of collaboration and interactive computing and problem solving with a professional coach that I have outlined above. I should also point out that the above approach could be used for math tutoring. I have a minor in math and I have used calculus and numerical methods for solving ODEs and PDEs throughout my career.
Are you interested?