Monday, October 7, 2013

MOOCs Could Help 2-Year Colleges and Their Students, Says Bill Gates

Chronicle of Higher Education (10/03/13) Katherine Mangan

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) that "flip" homework and coursework using outsourced lectures could help community colleges and students, said Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates at the recent Association of Community College Trustees' leadership meeting in Seattle. Gates encouraged attendees to offer resources to instructors who want to try using technology through methods such as flipped classrooms. "I'd be the first to say this is a period of experimentation, but we'll learn much faster if people jump in and engage," Gates said. Like a flipped classroom, a flipped MOOC involves videotaped lectures viewed on a student's own time, with homework completed during class. Flipped classes at edX, for example, have helped reduce the failure rate of online classes. Classroom professors will face a challenge in competing with MOOC lectures as they advance, offering such high quality that "no individual performance is likely to come up to that level," Gates said. However, he said that such an arrangement frees up the professor for more-personalized instruction in the classroom. Meanwhile, he predicted that as students begin to do more work at home and online, they will reduce their time on campus, making room for more students.

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