Across literally thousands of colleges and universities, faculty members present the same information in essentially the same way to students in lectures. Why do we need thousands of new lectures on elasticity of demand or sunk cost every semester, plus no doubt a few hundred more every summer? With today's technology, aren't we leaving some pretty huge economies of scale on the table.
According to an article in last week's WP, some big-name universities are starting to rethink how they use classroom time, including live lecturing. One advantage of a lecture is that it allows a professor to combine perspectives from a wide range of sources beyond a textbook in a seem-less fashion. But why not record the lectures in advance so that students watch them before class, and then make the classes much more interactive? Some schools are starting to experiment with active dialog between the class and the professor; others are using small group interaction. Clickers can be used to see if students are mastering the basics.
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