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Tue Nov 20, 2012, 12:10 PM

College of Future Could Be Come One, Come All

Teaching Introduction to Sociology is almost second nature to Mitchell Duneier, a professor at Princeton: he has taught it 30 times, and a textbook he co-wrote is in its eighth edition. But last summer, as he transformed the class into a free online course, he had to grapple with some brand-new questions: Where should he focus his gaze while a camera recorded the lectures? How could the 40,000 students who enrolled online share their ideas? And how would he know what they were learning?

In many ways, the arc of Professor Duneier’s evolution, from professor in a lecture hall to online instructor of tens of thousands, reflects a larger movement, one with the potential to transform higher education. Already, a handful of companies are offering elite college-level instruction — once available to only a select few, on campus, at great cost — free, to anyone with an Internet connection.

Moreover, these massive open online courses, or MOOCs, harness the power of their huge enrollments to teach in new ways, applying crowd-sourcing technology to discussion forums and grading and enabling professors to use online lectures and reserve on-campus class time for interaction with students.

The spread of MOOCs is likely to have wide fallout. Lower-tier colleges, already facing resistance over high tuition, may have trouble convincing students that their courses are worth the price. And some experts voice reservations about how online learning can be assessed and warn of the potential for cheating.


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Reply College of Future Could Be Come One, Come All (Original post)
groovedaddy Nov 2012 OP
Igel Nov 2012 #1
msongs Nov 2012 #2

Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:15 PM

1. And the first thing that comes to mind are technicalities.

How do you manage certification and credentialing?

How do you curb cheating and ghosting, having people do the work for you?

Will it create a raft of pointless low-worth degress in English and sociology and other non-lab courses? I.e., will it lead to a kind of Gresham's law applied to credentialing paper?

It's already been suggesting that flipping the classroom will lead to a revising of how to teach high school. They won't need many teachers. Have one teacher record the lectures or direct instruction and a corps of lesser-trained assistants to actually assist students. Perhaps have one master teacher per district, or outsource the master-teacher work to a consultant that will implement state-mandated content in a single lecture for a topic for the state.

Hard enough to keep kids from "playing school" in order to avoid learning--do the work in a pro forma fashion, getting good grades by making sure that all the blanks are filled in on paper but not worrying about the blanks being filled in in their brains.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 01:37 PM

2. its all about the $$ so who cares if "students" learn anything, really nt

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