Monday, October 31, 2011

How I Would Teach A Class

Happy Halloween! Here's a non-Halloween topic for today.

I have a secret dream of one day teaching a class. If I had a choice it would either be marketing, strategy or math focused. Maybe "Quantitative Strategic Marketing" - I don't know what that is, but I want to take that class! Maybe it's a practical strategic marketing class that involves some sort of data synthesis?... Anyways, that's not my point in this post.

If I were to teach this fantastic class, how would I structure it?

First, I would host my class on a blog.

Second, I would record my lectures ahead of time and post in an archive for consuming any time. Then, at the appropriate time I'd set up a blog post embedding it. It would probably be video because that's cool. For homework, the students would watch the lectures. There might also be some reading as well.

Then, they would be able to comment on the post. The comments could be asking a question, which could then get voted up (or down) Digg style. Students, and I, would be able to reply back and start a discussion. Hopefully, the "good" questions float to the top. Making it real time would be awesome.

Third, meetings in the classroom would be a time to answer any remaining questions and then work on homework assignments. If it's a math class - work on math problems. Students would be able to help each other and I would roam around to help as needed. Talking and using the white board would be highly encouraged.

Fourth, depending on how long the class time is, I'd love to provides some snacks, drinks and music so it feels more like a gathering than an official lecture session.

Fifth, in following years, I'll be able to reuse/improve the lecture series - freeing me up to focus on other tasks for the class. I would also be able to point to previous discussions as well so new classes can build upon it. As Bill Gates recently said, it's kind ridiculous that we're not already recording every single lecture. Storage is very cheap, and the content is very valuable.

In a lot of ways it's the Khan Academy structure: lecture at home, homework in class. It also takes advantage of current social networks to better enable conversations outside the classroom. If I had to do some sort of in-class lecture, I would want to use something like Google Moderator to allow students to ask/answer/vote on questions. Maybe a chatroom/Facebook group would be enough...

Wouldn't it be amazing to have a class you never had to show up to? You could do everything on your own, at your own pace. Plus, the t would be there to help along the way if you needed it. What's also really cool about this vision is that it's completely possible given today's technology.

Actually... now that I think about it... there's nothing stopping me today from doing my own mini-lecture series and posting it (except time...). Let's see, I could give resume advice... explain marketing concepts... share personal finance thoughts. Ha ha. I guess I already do all of this, just in the written form... Still, it would be fun to have an actual class full of eager learners.

Anyways, that's my vision for a classroom. I think it would help students learn and free up teacher's time in the long run. It's a class I would love to teach someday.

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