Across the country, thousands of college biology instructors give lectures every year on the fundamental biochemical process of breaking down sugar, known as glycolysis.
Are all those lectures necessary? Might a few suffice?
How about one from Eric S. Lander?
Lander is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a scientific adviser to President Obama. He was a leader in the Human Genome Project. His 54-minute discourse on glycolysis is on video, available for free, as part of a course called “Introduction to Biology — The Secret of Life” on the Web site edX.
The Post took another look this week at edX and the movement toward massive open online courses, or MOOCs, in this article from Cambridge, Mass., which explored debate over the phenomenon as it enters its second year.
To be clear, Lander himself does not suggest that his videos should replace what biology faculty do from day to day. But MOOCs such as his might offer some professors elsewhere a chance to spend less time preparing and delivering lectures and more time working hands-on with students.
“Everything in education should be about the value that can be added by having the real teacher there,” Lander said in an interview. “The mistake is the idea that this [MOOC] replaces the teacher. That’s crazy.”
[ Full article available at The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/edx-turns-1-now-what/2013/05/02/649236e0-b32d-11e2-9a98-4be1688d7d84_story.html ]