Lehigh University education professor Scott Garrigan knows firsthand that many educators find massively open online courses, or MOOCs, threatening.
"Imagine every student engaged in every classroom. I would love to do that in my face-to-face classes, and I don't know how," said Garrigan. "They've done it. And it annoys me."
But Garrigan, like a growing number of educators in higher ed, has chosen to embrace the MOOC phenomenon. And with MOOC-like offerings on their way to K-12, high school teachers should get ready to do the same, he said.
That means getting ready for:"Interest-driven learning," in which students increasingly get to select their own courses.Exponentially more students with (online) access to the best teachers and instructional materials.A tidal wave of new data that allow teachers to quickly diagnose and address students' learning weaknesses.And a new emphasis on using that same data to "evolve instruction" and change the way teachers go about their work.
Already, said Garrigan, models like Khan Academy have shown what works:Short videos that spend roughly 10 minutes on a single topic.A personal, collegial feel marked by conversational dialogue, handwritten notes, and an informal style."Retrieval feedback" that quizzes students and promotes learning retention every five minutes or so.Deadlines for tests and homework.Study forums and groups.
"Our attention span can handle that," Garrigan said.