Earlier this month, Bill Gates addressed the Leadership Congress of the Association of Community College Trustees.
He described a few of the projects they have funded -- flipped classrooms, using MOOCs and other material:
We don’t have to have 20 different people in a large urban area all giving a lecture in the same introductory course. We can get the greatest lecturers in the English-speaking world, every student can listen to them – and the instructors who used to spend their time preparing and delivering lectures can become 21st century community college instructors.This implies a different, but important role for instructors:
These instructors are gifted at relating to students, running small group learning sessions, and matching up students with the best resources available – the best lectures, the best problem sets, the best assessments. They have more time to get to know the students, explain difficult concepts, and trouble-shoot when students aren’t thriving. They are the architects and motivators of learning.Gates emphasized remedial classes and his funding of the Khan Academy seems like a good fit for the approach outlined in this talk. You can read a transcript of his presentation or watch this video:
The smart use of technology doesn’t replace faculty – it redeploys them, to the benefit of the students.