Panagiotis Tsigaris found the online learning tool to be a positive addition to his courses
By Panagiotis Tsigaris
There has been a lot of hype about the potential for massive open online courses to revolutionise university teaching. After years of developing my own teaching methods, I did not know if I was ready for any big upheavals in course delivery. However, watching my students struggle with the rising cost of education convinced me to test whether it was possible to save them an expensive trip to the bookshop without their education suffering.
With this in mind, I decided to change the way I would deliver my introductory economics class last semester. Rather than requiring my students to buy a textbook, I asked them to use a range of free online materials available through Coursera, Saylor.org and the Khan Academy.
The switch was intimidating. Suddenly I was questioning my role as a professor. Would my students really need me when the course content was available online from another institution? Would they stop attending class because they had already watched the videos? Would they compare me (unfavourably) to the “superstar” Mooc lecturers from top universities?
One thing I decided straight away was that I would not be giving up my role at the front of the classroom entirely. An introductory economics class is where students learn to think like an economist: something that doesn’t come naturally to most. My role is to teach a certain way of seeing the world; for that, a live professor who can gauge comprehension and interact with students is invaluable.
[ Full article available at Times Higher Education: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/moocs-are-a-good-alternative-to-books/2008345.article ]