I am in complete agreement with the call in this past session of the Florida Legislature for Florida’s university students to have access to the same kind of physics instruction that MIT offers. In fact, that’s what I do, as you can see in the pictures above. MIT offers introductory physics courses in its SCALE-UP-style TEAL classroom. And so do we here at FSU.
Of course, it’s possible that the MIT experience I’m talking about is a little different from the one being discussed by legislators as part of their push to expand the use of MOOC’s in higher education.
Oddly enough, despite all the pressure to teach physics wrong at the state’s public universities, Florida’s university system is among the nation’s leaders in teaching physics right (as discussed in this Tallahassee Democrat op-ed). Why? Because the faculty at many of Florida’s university physics departments are focused on improving student learning.
And that’s how decisions should get made – they should be driven by student learning. Not what looks cool, or what is absolutely bargain basement cheapest per student. It should be about what works best, at least within practical limits.