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Valuable new teaching tool

Although some questions remain, UT president’s proposed new methods may help school stay up to date

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 13:09

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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4 comments Log in to Comment

Fri Sep 21 2012 08:04
I know some profs who will hate this... so it's probably a good idea.
Thu Sep 20 2012 15:10
I have another innovative idea about a resource students can use that can lead to the outcomes listed in the editorial: "... professors can focus on fine tuning their course work and more effectively use class time," "... students will be able to learn the basics of their coursework at home ...," "They will be able to review ... 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 ..." What's my revolutionary idea? READING. UT could build a library of books and articles, some in print form and some online, written by the foremost experts in the field, for student use. Other reading materials would be available for purchase, either online or in a special store set up to sell books that have been specifically chosen by professors as being the most useful for students to learn the basics of the subject matter. Knowledge won't need to be tethered to a specific time and place as many reading materials can be accessed by any computer and on most mobile devices. Even most readings in print form are fairly portable and can be carried from place to place. Workbooks or online resources could be made available so students could practice and interact with the information contained in the readings. If students read these materials prior to class meetings, students would better understand material that is presented or discussed in class. They would be in a better position to ask questions and receive clarification and examples of concepts from their professors. Reading materials would provide a resource that students could refer to as many times as needed. Other reading materials not specifically assigned by the instructor could be available for students who want explore a specific area of, or perhaps a different perspective on, the subject. Reading - the possibilities are endless!
Wed Sep 19 2012 21:16
Didn't he learn when he tried doing this a few years back? No way this get implemented at all. begins the drumbeats of the death of professor autonomy.

cares about UT
Wed Sep 19 2012 11:47
You know what would be awesome? If Lloyd Jacobs left decisions about classroom methods to educators. The best administrators know when to get out of the way and let the experts do their jobs.

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