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"Event based learning—replacing half or more of classes with mass workshop events (whether face to face or web, I think face to face is doable cheaply)—if woven with web interactive coaching sessions among students and among students with professors—make make a balanced delivery system. I imagine sites for classes, parties, speeches face to face in six cities, with faculty on-line available interacting and also with faculty visiting events in those six cities in a regular rotation. Sort of three things—the on-line process on-going all the time, the main campus once a quarter events, and the distributed campuses events once per 3 weeks or so. So the campus become one place, six places, and an ePlace."

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Written by jonippolito (#2)
3041 days ago
To me, Bill Gate's glib comments underrated the importance of live, face-to-face contact in education. It's hard not to lump Gates in with those who want to defund public education in favor of letting private companies or the Internet impart skills. This vocationally driven learning leaves little room for students to explore thorny ethical challenges or Big Picture questions about the world at large.

Gates is always trumpeting the Khan Academy as a reason we don't need universities anymore. Salman Khan in a recent TED talk gave a more nuanced (and to me, convincing) explanation of the value of online learning. He argued that the Khan Academy turns the conventional model on its head: instead of asking students to sit through a lecture together and then do homework individually, they can watch a lecture individually and then work through homework together--with each other or the teacher.

That many-to-many formula is the most persuasive argument I've seen to date for online education, which in some other respects makes me nervous. The many-to-many paradigm is echoed in the the comment from the Chronicle article reproduced above. I'm not sure how practical it is, but I found it intriguing--not because it proposes a technical solution, but because it proposes a distributed one.

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