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Academic Technology Services blog

What we do at CC in this digital age

chronicleDistance education has been around for quite a while (remember hearing about correspondence courses? one started in 1728), then radio and television-based education entered the scene and now we have online education, with MOOCs, Khan Academy and the rest. I think online education as we now know it is still in its infancy and I’m very interested to see where it goes. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a blog post by Joseph Harris about how what we do is different and why that’s a good thing. Here’s an excerpt:

No doubt my professor took me seriously before I had earned such care. In my experience, that’s what good teachers do. The crucial moment in teaching, or at least in teaching writing or literature, lies not in presentation but response. We hand students a text and ask them, What do you make of this? Then we listen hard to what they have to say, looking for ways to help them develop their thinking.

Certainly some things can be learned independently or through a course with little personal contact from a mentor or professor, but some things require a more personalized approach. I wonder which is more efficient: a small class where the teacher can coach the students and give them what they need when they need it or a massive online course where the students need to struggle for themselves and some students, who might succeed in traditional classrooms, end up failing. These are exciting times when so many educational possibilities exist.

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