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Friday, November 6, 2009

Virtual Classrooms - Are they the future?

An article from the NY Times that is a good read - Virtual Classrooms Could Create a Marketplace for Knowledge

Many top universities are taping lectures and putting them online for free. MIT has a series on physics for example, that I have heard very good things from.

My opinion is for the right person these are a great resource! For those that can self study and have the discipline to do so. Taking a class forces you to attend it and a great teacher can help in motivating you to do more. Of course when you are in a huge lecture hall of several hundred students, the online experience may be superior. I have not seen taped lectures being used as part of a regular class. Even by teachers as a way to supplement material in their classes. The part that is missing from watching a video is the interaction a student can have with a teacher. The asking of questions and how the teacher can pace/customize their teaching to the class. Different classes and even times of day can require a slightly different teaching style. Early in the morning (are your students awake), to after lunch (bit lethargic), to the class before school ends (how many minutes left?

I wonder if anyone is going to put on the web an entire series of Learning Chinese video's for teaching Chinese as many top colleges are doing for other classes? Since a textbook is needed for a Chinese class, there would also need to be associated content. Be it an eBook or something.

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