Friday, January 13, 2012

Do Online Lectures Suck?

“Online lectures suck. Sure, they’re great for rainy days or people learning at a distance or people that don’t go to Stanford..." says Ben Rudolph, a junior at Stanford University.

Read on for an exerpt from:

Debating the ‘Flipped Classroom’ at Stanford

January 5, 2012, 12:35 pm
Stanford University got lots of attention for inviting the public to participate in a series of free online computer-science classes. One thing that’s drawn less notice is how some of the technologies that help facilitate those mega-classes are changing the experience for Stanford students learning the same subjects. Now a Stanford student is provoking a debate on those innovations, with a blog post critiquing the rigor and format of the “flipped classroom” teaching method deployed in his machine-learning course.
In one version of that course offered to Stanford students, the traditional teaching format was inverted, with lectures presented through online videos and optional once-a-week class meetings devoted to problem solving with the professor.

Now, wait just a minute! "Optional" once-a-week class meetings? If there's one thing we know about students (and ourselves) we seldom do "optional." 

From the comments on the same article:
Robert Talbert says, "The inverted classroom model switches the contexts of information transfer and assimilation from the traditional model. Transfer takes place outside of class (often through online video) and assimilation inside of class. The operative word here is "AND". The inverted classroom is predicated on having a robust, active classroom environment where students work on challenging problems aimed at making sense of the information they've seen, under the active guidance of an expert learner...."

And, terisosa states, "Like the others, I agree that the richness of the "flipped" approach lies in giving students class time to build and expand upon the more dry factual information in lectures. Ideally, the classroom becomes an exciting laboratory of brainstorming , experimentation, application of lecture material and peer interaction."

Read the full article, if you choose, but be sure to scroll down to the comments for the really good stuff...   

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