Tuesday, May 12, 2020
San Francisco Chronicle op-ed: Good College Teaching Does Not Require Sharing Air With Students, by Michael Hunter Schwartz (Interim Provost, Pacific):
Online college teaching, like in-person college teaching, is effective or ineffective, inspiring or soul-sucking, rigorous or lax, based entirely on what the professor does to engage, connect with, and challenge the students. ...
The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to reconsider some of our assumptions about the world. Maybe it’s time we also reconsider our understanding of good teaching. I write from the perspective of having taught law for more than a quarter century and having both taken an online college class (about 20 years ago) and taught one (last spring). ...
Poor in-person teaching happens every day at every university. ... Poor online teaching also happens every day. ...
But great teaching and deep learning also happen online. ... What matters are active learning experiences that cause students to practice recalling and applying what they heard. The most effective teachers, whether they are teaching in person or online, plan their class sessions so that students devote the bulk of their time to using what they are learning.
The bottom line is that neither in-person nor online teaching is inherently good or bad. Teachers matter. The online class I took 20 years ago was the most transformative class I have taken, and I use what I learned in that class every day. It doesn’t matter that I never met with the professor in person.
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