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Re: Are in-person lectures a thing of the past?

I certainly hope not. Some lectures could be recorded so that students could listen and watch them at times and places convenient for them, but they would then take on a more preplanned aspect, characterized by theatrical planning and rehearsals. Such lectures would lack spontaneity and the personal touch and would not be remembered. I still, after 55+ years, remember several of Prof. Hans Mueller’s lectures such as the one in which dust from a vaporized wire rained down upon us students.

In future education, I foresee a combination of the classical personal lecture, new online lectures with question and answer sessions, and recorded presentations of various types.

Re: What does the classroom of 2020 look like?

I foresee a mixture of the classical class sessions of yesterday and today, comparable online sessions and possibly recorded class sessions with discussion. The optimum mix is unclear to me.

Online classes save the students’ travel costs only. Other costs remain essentially unchanged. The main advantage is that one can “attend” online classes on occasion as desired; constant presence at the central location would not be necessary. This could be a useful alternative for students to take selected courses while remaining employed. An appropriate social and working culture does not exist yet; it must still be developed.

Re: Should we rethink the 4-year system of residential education?

The whole matter of education MUST be rethought at the societal level, not just at the university level. Society’s growing dependence on an educated population in general will, in the long term, require repeated stints of formal learning throughout life. This need is already with us to a limited extent, but will become ever greater with time. The main question to be answered is how society should finance the student with a family to take the necessary “time off” to attend university residential education interspersed with his/her working career.

In restructuring residential education one should consider the cost of student time. Large lectures are not really expensive in terms of the other costs.

Re: Additional comment

Extensive consideration should be given to making better use of retired people. This very valuable potential source of teaching and coaching resources is essentially neglected today. Both the availability of and the need for these resources are increasing. Online and email communication enables these resources to be utilized no matter where the retirees and the learners are located.

Education & Facilities, Educational experiences, Global Implications of EdX, Global implications of edX, Beyond the residential campus