This post – written a year-and-a-half ago – and the “Part 2” which I will reblog next are just as relevant now (and maybe more so) than they were when first posted.
With the advent of MOOC’s and other technological means of beaming non-interactive lectures to students, does it make any sense to spend scarce public resources building new $5 million 500-seat lecture halls at state-supported universities? Would any self-respecting state legislator vote to support such an expenditure?
Instead of simply settling for the obvious answer of “obviously not” for both questions, let’s examine the issue a little more carefully.
The traditional lecture class consists of students sitting passively and (if they care to) taking notes while a more-or-less distant lecturer having more-or-less charisma talks at them for 50 minutes or more. Those few of us who were successful in lecture classes as students were able to dig into class material either on our own (reading and in the case of quantitative classes problem-solving) or with small groups of students that we arranged. Assessments of student learning consist of periodic quizzes or exams that…
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