Internet 'flips' the idea of how to teach a class

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 8, 2012 - 9:09 AM

Lectures go online while class time is used for student interaction.

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endothermOct. 7, 1210:45 PM

Though this could work for some classes, it sounds like a gimmick rather than a great improvement. As a student, I really liked lectures if they were done right (not just read from a book). I enjoyed hearing from a trained expert and asking questions from the expert. Group work always felt like pointless busywork. I didn't like having to spend class time talking to my classmates, many of whom hadn't done the reading and spent most of the time talking about the party they went to last weekend. There are some areas (lab work etc.) where student interaction is very important, but I don't think moving lectures online and replacing class time with group activities is something that will help students in all disciplines. It could just be a waste of their time.

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jim2011beamOct. 7, 1211:58 PM

Here's a thought - let the textbook publishers hire actors to put textbook material online. Actors and actor voices work great for movies like Toy Story, Nemo, etc. (baby food for the current crop of students). Add a group discussion board. Add some automated, on-line testing to measure progress. All free for anyone who wants just "education". However, if the student wants "certification" then let the student take a test, something like the GMAT, to get IN to the class. Make it competitive, best scores get in. Keep the "class" time with the professor short, say 10-12 hours, and at the end "certify" (give college credit) to students who pass according to the professor's criteria. Oh, yes, the course and college credits for the class would cost no more than $500. Classes that lead to a job would be free to successful students with a grant for tuition and books. Education for free, certification for $$ but free if the course makes the student employable.

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comment229Oct. 8, 12 6:15 AM

This is nothing new. It has been quite a few years now, and long before the Internet was really being used, that we had a system in MN called ITV or Interactive TV.... It was a system designed to let high school students in remote schools, take classes over a high speed system. Every school participating had a console system, and that was muted for most of the session to avoid conflict and noise. Otherwise, the students arrived BEFORE or AFTER school to take the classes. It really worked for some subject areas but would not for others. Anyone who has gone to college will tell you that much of it is sitting through lectures so this did work for what it was. So why didn't it succeed? I have no idea but can guess $$$$$$.

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mmediaOct. 8, 12 6:44 AM

"We're so used to college teaching being a traditional lecture," Carlson said. "But it just made so much more sense to me to do the simple part outside of class. Then, in the class, that's when we should be working on understanding and applying and reinforcing." High School teachers figured this only about 20 YEARS AGO!

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luzhishenOct. 8, 12 6:47 AM

So why not try it for the hockey or football teams and save the millions spent on semipro sports? One coach could run 5 teams! No? I guess teaching someone advanced football or basketball skills is more important than teaching students things like math, English, etc..

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northerlyOct. 8, 12 7:23 AM

History is repeating itself. At the U in the 70s I remember dragging myself at 8am in the dark of the winter to Northrup Auditorium to watch the Psyc 101 lectures on TV with a thousand other freshman and then having subsequent small discussion groups. Unfortunately, the TV lectures seemed to me to be never updated and were just used to minimize the time that professors were required to actually lecture. What comes around, goes around.

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savagedruidsOct. 8, 12 7:54 AM

Good in theory, probably won;t work. Some kids won;t watch the video. Teachers end up not really walking around the class helping. They take more breaks or use the "extra" time to move the class faster.

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willmarresOct. 8, 12 8:41 AM

The research on distance delivery shows that online work coupled with face-to-face is more successful than straight face-to-face learning. Those that liken this to the old interactive television programs or even satellite downlinks need to take another look. The ability for students to engage online with each other and with experts far surpasses those old technologies.

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velmoholmOct. 8, 12 9:00 AM

The issue is much more complicated than noted in the article. Professors have a wide range of teaching ability. The best faculty are capable of closely monitoring students' learning during instruction and adjusting the presentation and the content instantaneously to meet the need of the students. Distance education makes this extremely difficult if not impossible. This may seem inconsequential yet the best teachers do far more than teach. They also inspire students, create enthusiasm, and develop skills that go far beyond the content. They attention to distance learning is primarily an economic one rather than an instructional issue. Universities need money and distance education lowers costs.

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elmore1Oct. 8, 12 9:03 AM

This is a good idea and hopefully can be leveraged to control tuition costs. Businesses world-wide are quickly adopting working virtually with good results. I work for a global Fortune 100 company and 25% of our employees work virtually with benefits to the company, employee and environment. This is the future.

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