College 2.0, but…

Innovation Hub (an NPR radio program) did a program called “College 2.0” in June 2013. There is some interesting conversation and thankfully some discussion of intrinsic motivation being the primary problem and a focus on learning vs teaching. I believe guest Eric Mazur (Harvard physics prof) says something to the effect of intrinsic motivation being sucked out of us so it is the job of college profs to help restore/rekindle it.

“The key point is not so much ‘how do we make teaching as glossy as possible?’ No. It’s ‘how do we create a desire to learn?’”


Interestingly, much was made of the concept of better ways of doing lectures — keeping them active using CRS/PRS (Classroom Response Systems/Personalized Response Systems) to give multiple-choice questions throughout and having students then discuss with neighbors and then come back to the big group to discuss, etc. Students are (more) engaged, and prof can quickly tell if the class is following based on histogram results. Of course this has been done since at least the mid-90s. UMass-Amherst had Intro Physics like this way back then
And the Socratic method, since … Socrates?
So the MOOCs of today obviously can’t do this since it’s one-way. You can only eavesdrop on a pre-recorded example of it. And rewind. Still, that is pretty amazing… being able to “get a $250,000 education for free”.

So… some interesting discussion, but limited vision of where things are going in the next 5/10/15 years. The panelists acknowledged change is happening, but… no real big picture vision.


1) Seth Godin on the show recently too. Some good food for thought.

“College for most people is just high school, but with more binge drinking and debt … What you pay for now, at a four-year institution, is not the courses — because you can get the courses for free. What you pay for is proof that you finished.”

“I think talent is way over-rated.”
“The fear of being wrong.”
“Value is created by being weird.”


2) Interesting (1984) rant about curriculum, Socratic method, conversation and diversity of faculty (relates to what value brick-and-mortar campuses will still have in MOOC age)

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