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Subject:  Re: WSJ: $10K College Degree Date:  10/12/2012  1:51 PM
Author:  Commodore64 Number:  868063 of 902151

"Sure if you think that all there is to learning is attend a lecture, listen and then take tests. At my daughter's university, student not only can ask questions of the professor during the lecture but are encouraged to do so."

You are an engineer. I don't know when you went to school, but odds are, you took a fair number of large lecture hall classes, where the professor droned on for the entire period, giving a canned lecture on Physics 101 or Chemistry 101 or whatever.

When I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a Chemical Engineering undergrad, there were lots of those sort of classes. Rensselaer was a pioneer in moving from large lecture halls to online versions of many classes in the 90s.

However, there are still plenty of schools that use straight lecture classes (large and small), just that now they use Power Point instead of an old style overhead projector. I know this not only because I have college aged relatives, but because as an early semi-retiree, I still take classes just for fun at the local State U and CC. Usually, there are 2 lectures per week, with one hour of small classroom instruction with a lower tier professor or TA, where you would ask you questions- it is simply more efficient than holding up the lecture every time the slowest kid in the class didn't understand some concept.

Those lecture style classes could be replaced with an online class. I know a lot of schools have already made this move (and I have taken those classes, too), but based on what I've seen, some schools are still clinging to the old format when it is not necessary, probably to preserve jobs for professors.

Frankly, going online has other advantages too. As a student, I can take the class at a time and place of my choosing, rather than have to fight traffic and burn time and gas driving to class to listen to the professor live at 3 PM.

I'm not saying every class could be replaced with an online version, certainly labs could not, but many could with little or no loss in educational quality, and with huge cost savings- so why not use them when possible?

So I encourage the use of technology as a cost saving measure in this time of soaring educational costs.
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