We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I came across this yesterday. A recent grad in business who decided to see if he could complete an MIT computer science degree program online, in one year. He succeeded. Not just some computer courses, but a program designed to replicate, as close as possible, an entire MIT degree program requirements
It seems legit. Check out his TEDx talk in the sidebar. He addresses the argument that the on-campus, 4 yr program gave him access to professors, etc.
Now, admittedly, he isn't your average student but it does show what is possible, even now. And that, beyond the credential monopoly of the bricks and mortar, the MOOCs and other online courses will poach the best and brightest first.
Plus, the university is hard to attend for continuing education since they demand devotion of time to the exclusion of other activities. Ignoring the token programs that universities offer through their, "not the real university" continuing ed programs. So the MOOCs can provide full quality courses at the convenience of the student throughout their lifetime. That seems to me, to be a real business advantage.
True, but there is nothing to stop him from repeating the course until he achieves whatever desired test level he wants. He's already bought the book, and doesn't have to cough up more cash to repeat the course.
I didn't click through to see how he actually did on the more critical courses.
Interesting he had trouble finding courses in the "arts". Perhaps they hope to stave off the onslaught by withholding those courses. Of course, in the liberal arts, all you really need is a good library or today Amazon and the free books online.
If the trend towards MOOCs continues, then attainment of educational success at undergraduate level will become more elitist.
My experience of seeing side-by-side sections of on-line and classroom-based courses is that it takes students with self-drive to be successful in such courses. Also, the students who don't take to it seem to be predominantly from parents without high educational attainment themselves.
That may be due to the damage done to students by the current lecture/test form of classroom education. The teacher dominated instruction period creates passivity and destroys initiative in kids. By 3rd grade, they are seriously damaged.
One could argue that the lecture was the easiest way to expose the largest number of students to the material in the past. But that is no longer true, the video instruction with student controlled learning speed and rewind capability permits students to progress at their own pace and to actually master the material rather than try to keep up on the forced march.
I found a comment by Salman Khan in his TED talk to be on point, he pointed out our current way of teaching math is to present a topic, work it, then move on. Perhaps a review later, but the method didn't require or even permit mastery (other than for the students most at ease with the comment) by the students. If you understood 80% (B) of the material that was considered good enough to move on to the next concept that built upon the concept you only understood at an 80% level. So, kids fall behind, and keep falling further behind till they drop out of math or sometimes school. To repeat is shameful. Even though, it has been seen that some students stumble on a concept, slog through it then surge ahead.
We have to get away from the implied idea, school, i.e., learning, is like a job you do during the day then don't think about those school subjects in your off time. And, no, more busy work at home isn't the solution.
Learning is something you do all day on your own, school is where you can find people to help you through the tough parts. That should be new education paradigm. That means, video lessons on demand, then teachers working labs during the school day to help individual students over snags.
Good points. Mr Khan is my hero as anyone at any age can become a self-learner watching his programs. A semi-literate gentleman I was tutoring in English spent endless hours at the library taking basic math classes from Khan Academy, conferring with me to confirm his understanding of the material, and now works as a tailor (basic math, measurements, etc.) at our local dry cleaner. He's very talented, loves his job and has developed a loyal clientele. One step at a time, he's insured his future.
I still have vivid memories of the math I learned from a particularly good high school teacher. She would run through the basics in class, then send us home with problems to work. I never knew whether I'd completely grasped the lecture until I made it through the problems.
The opposite approach might work, too -- the student listens to a canned lecture first, then works through problems in open class with the aid of the live instructor. But I'm not sure. I needed the extended problem-working time on my own.
I do know that the Khan lectures are great. I also know that I don't learn math at all well from reading it. I need to watch someone working problems and talking about it, preferably available at some point for questions. There are good online courses that allow email exchanges.