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Valuable new teaching tool

On September 19, 2012

In his State of the University address, Lloyd Jacobs said the University of Toledo will soon be emulating the methods of Salman Khan, an education innovator who creates videos for coursework as a tool for improving education.

It’s good that UT is taking steps to explore and to innovate because this is necessary to remain a useful and evolving university. However, this must be done with caution and always in the best interest of the students.

With these methods, professors can focus on fine tuning their course work and more effectively use class time. With something like Khan’s methods in place, students will be able to learn the basics of their coursework at home through videos. They will be able to review the videos in order to refine what they’ve learned in a way they can’t in class. This allows the professors to begin building upon the basics of the course work in the classroom after watching the videos.

It will make UT’s curriculum innovative and interactive. If UT is to be a top university, it must continue to discover the best methods for education and these videos could help. The method allows UT to be a front runner in new methods for education. It grants students opportunities for more advanced material in more advanced courses because they won’t have to learn the basics of the curriculum in class before building upon them. It will allow them to go further in their studies.

It will allow professors’ class time to be reserved for helping students understand the intricacies of the subject of the course. UT professors will be able to spend class time addressing the individual questions and concerns of students instead of addressing broad topics which may fall short of a student’s potential and knowledge base or be beyond a student’s current knowledge base.

Concerns with this method are UT’s integrating it fully before research shows it’s effective and students’ allowing it to work. It’s easy for an institution to get caught up in a craze and for students to simply decide not to watch a video.

The best way to address this is to acknowledge a student’s education is that student’s responsibility. Also, how does a professor address the individual personal questions of a class of 150 students? How well will this work in upper level seminars? How will students be assessed in this system? Is this better as just a supplement? These questions and others must be addressed before moving forward.

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