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Author Topic: Looking for advice for a higher education website  (Read 3916 times)
brumbyl
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« on: December 08, 2012, 11:29:57 PM »

First off I'm new to this forum, so if I'm doing something wrong please let me know and I'll try to fix it. I've read the rules and I think I'm playing by them!

My name is Kory and I recently graduated from Western Washington University. During my time there I realized there was a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of teaching styles. Some professors couldn't explain even simple concepts, while others would fly through very complex topics and everyone would still be following.

Throughout my time at WWU- of all the courses I took- in my opinion there were three professors that fit this description of exceptional. Now if the three WWU professors recreated their lectures via videos, images, text, interactive content, etc. they could reach a much broader audience by posting the content online. While it is normally difficult to scale the audience like this (increasing class size), these exceptional teachers flying through concepts rarely had questions from the class, and nobody really went to their 'office hours' -- because everybody already fully understood the complex topics from the professor explaining it just once.

So let say we are able to get three exceptional topics from WWU professors, and we post it online making it accessible to the world. Now let's get three more topics from the University of Washington, then three more from WSU, then OSU, USC, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc. and put them all online on the same website. If every educational category (Science, English, Math, etc.) on the website had an exceptional instructor, how would that content compare to the quality of content at an Ivy-League school? If there was a way to maintain the in-class effectiveness when creating the online content, there is a good chance the website would beat out any Ivy-League school (this is a bold statement so correct me if you feel different, but I truly believe it is possible).

So there is the question I'm looking for your advice on. How can the same quality of in-person teaching be maintained when that content is placed online? Here are a couple quick ideas:
  • Static text, images, and video get the lectures across fairly effectively.
  • Video conferencing could help with more specific questions a student may have. For instance a class schedule could be made (e.g. meet Monday and Wednesday at 6:00pm) where the instructor could lead a live course and address questions in real time.
  • In many instances, questions asked by a student can be answered by other students -- with an online application this could easily be made possible, lifting the load of a professor teaching hundreds/thousands of students at once.

These are just a couple potential barriers off the top of my head, but I think they can be mitigated for the most part. Just some questions to get dialogue started: What do you guys think of this? Is it viable? Is this intriguing to you (even if you don't think it is viable)? If you had a magic wand to make this happen, what would it look like? What roadblocks do you see? Would you use it as an author? Would you use it as a student?

Let me know what you guys think!
Kory
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voxprincipalis
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WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 12:20:01 AM »

See: MOOC.

As for whether or not this is a *good* idea, well... we've circled that mulberry bush several times already. Maybe someone else will have the patience to go through it all again. There are some existing threads on the topic.

VP
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johnny_sunshine
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Posts: 34


« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 7:59:50 AM »

First off I'm new to this forum, so if I'm doing something wrong please let me know and I'll try to fix it. I've read the rules and I think I'm playing by them!

My name is Kory and I recently graduated from Western Washington University. During my time there I realized there was a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of teaching styles. Some professors couldn't explain even simple concepts, while others would fly through very complex topics and everyone would still be following.

Throughout my time at WWU- of all the courses I took- in my opinion there were three professors that fit this description of exceptional. Now if the three WWU professors recreated their lectures via videos, images, text, interactive content, etc. they could reach a much broader audience by posting the content online. While it is normally difficult to scale the audience like this (increasing class size), these exceptional teachers flying through concepts rarely had questions from the class, and nobody really went to their 'office hours' -- because everybody already fully understood the complex topics from the professor explaining it just once.

So let say we are able to get three exceptional topics from WWU professors, and we post it online making it accessible to the world. Now let's get three more topics from the University of Washington, then three more from WSU, then OSU, USC, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc. and put them all online on the same website. If every educational category (Science, English, Math, etc.) on the website had an exceptional instructor, how would that content compare to the quality of content at an Ivy-League school? If there was a way to maintain the in-class effectiveness when creating the online content, there is a good chance the website would beat out any Ivy-League school (this is a bold statement so correct me if you feel different, but I truly believe it is possible).

So there is the question I'm looking for your advice on. How can the same quality of in-person teaching be maintained when that content is placed online? Here are a couple quick ideas:
  • Static text, images, and video get the lectures across fairly effectively.
  • Video conferencing could help with more specific questions a student may have. For instance a class schedule could be made (e.g. meet Monday and Wednesday at 6:00pm) where the instructor could lead a live course and address questions in real time.
  • In many instances, questions asked by a student can be answered by other students -- with an online application this could easily be made possible, lifting the load of a professor teaching hundreds/thousands of students at once.

These are just a couple potential barriers off the top of my head, but I think they can be mitigated for the most part. Just some questions to get dialogue started: What do you guys think of this? Is it viable? Is this intriguing to you (even if you don't think it is viable)? If you had a magic wand to make this happen, what would it look like? What roadblocks do you see? Would you use it as an author? Would you use it as a student?

Let me know what you guys think!
Kory

Kory,

You seem to have hit upon an important concept - one that most may not want to comment on in these forums. Some faculty have an excellent ability to explain concepts and relate to students, while others just read powerpoints and expect the students to be able to put it back on paper at test time. You are likely on to what is the underlying issue concerning success of online and hybrid learning. Good luck.
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