Daily VideoAugust 28, 2014
Will online courses replace classrooms?
When MIT professor Anant Agarwal decided to offer his circuits and electronics course online for free, over 150,000 students signed up in 162 countries. Only 5 percent completed the course, but the experience sparked an idea and a new business.
He founded edX, an online platform that he says will help teachers reach even more students. Now 2.5 million students use the platform to learn from prestigious institutions.
But many professors are skeptical that online courses can replace on-campus education. Students need to spend time with professors to engage in intellectual discussions and develop critical thinking skills, Shyam Sharma, assistant professor at Stony Brook University, said.
Agarwal argues that online courses can offer students the chance to engage with the material. “We have interactivity. We have problem sets and exercises that students engage with. They get feedback. And so they get to try things out and experiment with things,” Agarwal said.
Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, believes that many people designing online courses focus on how cheap and easy they are without addressing the quality of the education they provide, and that colleges will use them to cut costs and spend less money on professors. “There is the notion that MOOCs and online will provide that cheap silver bullet. But there is no silver bullet for higher education and education in general. You have to invest in it,” she said.
But online courses do not need to replace in-person learning, Agarwal said. “It doesn’t replace the campus. We really believe that, ultimately, the right model for learning is a blended model, where you blend the best of online and the best of in-person,” he added.
Online lectures made it easy for students to learn at their own pace, according to Brian White, a professor at the University of Massachusetts. After students learn the material online, he can meet with them to address any additional questions, he said.
Warm up questions
- Have you ever learned anything from a YouTube video? Explain.
- Have you or anyone you know ever taken an online course?
- How do teachers help you learn?
Critical thinking questions
- How do online courses provide education in a way that might not be possible with in-person education? And vice versa, what does in-person learning provide that online courses cannot?
- If you were a teacher, how would you feel about MOOCs? Would you want students to take them? Why or why not?
- Why are some academic subjects taught more easily online than others?
- How might MOOCs affect life in rural parts of the world where there might be one school and no colleges?
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
The murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in July 2016 has led to a conspiracy theory based on unfounded claims linking Rich to WikiLeaks. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
There is a growing movement among young conservatives, including evangelical Christians, who support environmental regulations. They say it’s important to act as faithful stewards of the earth. One group, the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, has grown to 10,000 members in the past five years. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
School districts around the country are debating whether or not to require seat belts on school buses. Requiring seat belts comes at a high cost for school districts already struggling with tight budgets. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
Since the firing of FBI Director James Comey earlier this week, the White House has contradicted itself several times as to the reasoning behind President Donald Trump’s decision. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld
In a surprising move, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday after receiving recommendations from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Continue readingArts & CultureEconomicsHealthScienceU.S.UncategorizedWorld