January 16, 2005

Teaching models

This morning, the New York Times has an article by Richard Panek on new teaching models, primarily the Program in Course Redesign at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Center for Academic Transformation. I haven't seen the reports at all (something else to do in my copious free time!), but the article jibes with my sense of teaching: jiggling academic routines a bit can help dramatically, but entirely online experiences risk high attrition.

Of course, I say this at the start of a semester with an entirely online class. After my last experience a few years ago, I'm spending a lot of effort with the "soft" part of the course—encouraging students separate from the academic content, setting up opportunities for them to engage in the conversational parts of an in-person course that allow repetition of key information in different formats and times. I'm also trying to have a bit of fun with different things in online lectures (now that most students have much more ready access to broadband and I have tools on my laptop that are sufficient for most things). So the first-unit lecture has a takeoff from the scrolling-text start of the Star Wars movies, and another will involve philosopher-puppets. But I'm not sure that quite counts in what this redesigning-coursework project is doing.

Listen to this article
Posted in Teaching on January 16, 2005 10:29 AM |