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I think they are not obsolete because the professors serve not only as teachers but as role models, and because the classroom or lecture hall gives the student the opportunity to speak up in front of a group.

Education & Facilities, Educational experiences


Yes and no.

Good recorded lectures can be very valuable, and they will replace some (but not all) live lectures.

Live lectures have several uses:
1) They let the students have a role model,
2) MIT will be in the business of making good recorded lectures, and you can't do a good recording without getting feedback from an audience. So, live lectures provide a training ground for the professor and let students provide feedback to improve the lecture.
3) Some of MIT's lectures are close enough to the cutting edge so that there aren't good recorded lectures _yet_. Hot topics are important, as is tying new research into the undergraduate curriculum.

But, by and large, MIT will make better use of its professors by placing them in smaller classrooms instead of huge lecture halls. Professors typically get better feedback in a group of 30 than in a group of 300. Students get more interaction, and live interaction is what professors do best. Video is at its best where there is very little interaction.