Online classes for Business
Colleges around the country should be worried. The quality of online courses is catching up fast.
Depending on whom you talk to, massively open online courses (MOOCs) will upend and democratize higher education, or are half-baked approximations of lectures that can never equal the classroom.
One, a Coursera Introduction to Philosophy was everything critics dislike, he says. Too brief, and with none of the problem sets, essays, or tests that make sure you absorb and apply the information."Live and taped lectures really aren’t the same. Live lectures are definitely worse, " Carey said.
After taking the course, Carey admits that while not every course can transition online for less money and at a higher level of quality than what most students experience, the amount that can is "a lot more than people realize or want to admit"
That's going to lead to a lot of disruption, and many lost jobs. But there's a lot of upside, as well.
The course managed to respond to the biggest criticisms of the skeptics. It led Carey to claim that "the burden of proof is no longer on technology to show that it can make traditional higher education better in a way that’s worth the price to students and taxpayers. It’s the other way around."
"It's not as good as being in the classroom"
The course was the same one MIT teaches freshmen, reproduced as faithfully as possible. The professor was Eric Lander, who helped lead the Human Genome Project and co-chairs President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In addition to that impressive pedigree, Lander is actually an excellent teacher, Carey writes.
The lectures are the same, videotaped a month ahead. There are "deep dive" videos with TAs and grad students on tricky topics And as for the notion that you miss something not being in the classroom? Dead wrong, Carey argues.
Carey made the trek out to MIT for one of the live lectures. "Based on what followed, I can say this: Live and taped lectures really aren’t the same. Live lectures are definitely worse, " he concluded.
There's a lot to be said for the pause button, especially when there are complicated diagrams and ideas. There's even more to be said for being able to watch a nicely produced HD video on your own time, as anyone who's been stuck at the back of a lecture hall can attest.
Beyond the pause button, the edX platform allows all sorts of visualization and interaction, from molecule editors to a protein-folding simulator.
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