The education landscape is changing. Not so long ago students in lecture halls were armed with pens and lecture pads. These days students in lecture halls are armed with mobile phones, laptops and tablets. Ted speaker Anant Agarwal has a message to share in his Ted talk “Why MOOC’s still matter” he believes that we shouldn’t fight technology in the classroom, we should be embracing it.
What is MOOC?
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses which is available for free online to anyone anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a willingness to learn. Courses can be self-paced or run on a set schedule. Credentials might even be offered on some courses.
MOOC’s is an amazing way to get knowledge in the hands of those who might be otherwise limited by finances or location. The reach that a course delivered through MOOC’s has goes well beyond the reach a physical classroom has.
What universities can learn from MOOC’s
Anant uses his Ted talk to discuss how lessons can be taken from the way MOOC is structured to help reimagine education and create blended classrooms. Anant says that our millennium generation is built differently. He shares a story about having more success in getting his teenager to daughter to answer him if he texts her rather than speak to her. I discussed this phenomenon on day 63.
What does a new blended classroom look like?
Anant says that a blended classroom would have e-spaces rather lecture halls, tablets instead of books and bricks and mortar school buildings would be replaced with digital dormitories. Instead of lectures starting at 8:00am students would spend the mornings doing interactive online learning at home and then in the afternoon would attend classrooms for the practical learning that you can’t do online. It’s the best of both worlds.
The benefits of online interactive lessons
One of the greatest benefits of online interactive lessons is that it is self-paced. If a lecturer is talking too fast you can pause and rewind. The interactive quizzes can give you immediate feedback and solutions. The student is put in control of their education through active learning.
Anant talks about a Blended Learning Pilot course run at the San Jose State University. The course retake rates fell from 41% to a low 9% Fewer people were failing blended learning classrooms.
Just as Anant says we shouldn’t fight technology, we should embrace it. What I like about blended classrooms is that there’s balance. It’s not a wholly digital college experience, the human touch is not lost. The active learning part takes place in the comfort of your home so you can self-pace yourself to make sure that you really comprehend the materials but you don’t miss out on peer interaction. It’s the perfect balance.
What do you think? Do you think that the blended classroom is the way of the future or should we stick to tradition? Drop a comment below and let me know what you think.