By Katherine Mangan
Community colleges have generally cast a wary eye toward massive open online courses, or MOOCs. But a relatively new model, which “flips” homework and classwork by incorporating outsourced lectures, could help struggling students and make colleges more efficient, Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told a packed gathering of community-college leaders here on Wednesday.
Mr. Gates urged them to provide resources to instructors who wanted to experiment with flipped classrooms and other techniques for integrating technology into their teaching.
“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,” he told attendees at the Association of Community College Trustees’ leadership meeting, which drew nearly 2,000 trustees, presidents, and administrators here this week.
Mr. Gates, one of the world’s most famous people to not complete college, urged everyone in the audience to sign up for at least one MOOC. He has done so many times. “For a dropout, I’ve taken a lot of courses,” he said.
The flipped MOOC is a variation of the flipped-classroom concept, in which instructors assign videotaped lectures to students, who then do what once was considered homework in class.
As MOOC lectures evolve, the average classroom professor will have a hard time competing, and the traditional lecture will seem antiquated, Mr. Gates suggested. “The quality of those lectures, as they go through the competitive process, will be extremely good,” he said. “No individual performance is likely to come up to that level.”
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/MOOCs-Could-Help-2-Year/142123/ ]