“Here we are now, entertain us.”

1 03 2013

“Year after year, you’re walking into the same room, saying the same words,” said Stanford University computer scientist Andrew Ng. “Year after year, telling the same jokes. You start to wonder if this is how best to teach.”

– Nick Anderson, “More universities try the MOOC model by moving professors’ lectures online,” Washington Post, February 25, 2103.

Does Ng really think professors script out everything they say during lectures in advance? Really????!!!

Less obviously, the basic premise of that quote is that all lecturing is equally bad. Suppose I’m a really good lecturer who actually does read from a script in every class. Unless a student is taking a course over, the material is still new to them.

What offends me most about that quote though is the idea that teaching is all about the delivery, as if any professor’s primary purpose is to be entertaining. Yet, under the Coursera MOOC model, once perfected the lectures will literally never change.

The irony is just killing me.

PS I’m definitely going back to this WP article about Philip Zelikow’s history MOOC on Monday.



5 responses

1 03 2013

I don’t know about computer science, but my field has changed a lot during my teaching career, and I expect it will change more, so I constantly read and learn to keep up. I would have thought that computer stuffs were changing at least as fast as Shakespeare stuffs, but maybe they’re all static and boring?

4 03 2013
MOOCs are to reading as Kryptonite is to Superman. | More or Less Bunk

[…] we’re all at least on the same team.  So is Philip Zelikow (sort of).  From the WP article I cited on […]

8 04 2013
“[W]ith this bird everything is settled.” | More or Less Bunk

[…] then there’s that Koller quotation, one of a long series of quotes by Coursera’s founders that have continually left my jaw scraping the floor.  Suppose I ask […]

10 04 2013
There’s more than one way to remove the sage from the stage. | More or Less Bunk

[…] spent more than a little space on this blog defending lecturing.  The irony of that situation is that I don’t do very much of it in the great […]

16 10 2013
Teaching vs. broadcasting. | More or Less Bunk

[…] could have an entire category of posts in this blog entitled “Stupid Stuff the Founders of Coursera have said.” This is not one of those instances, but it’s kind of the exception that […]

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