tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8890204.post5916957110468108561..comments2024-05-04T06:30:02.754-04:00Comments on My Biased Coin: Teaching, Day OneMichael Mitzenmacherhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/06738274256402616703noreply@blogger.comBlogger6125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8890204.post-17875696361638038902010-01-30T19:04:55.886-05:002010-01-30T19:04:55.886-05:00I took Paul Bamberg's classical geometry class...I took Paul Bamberg's classical geometry class as an extension student and he told us that the extension students generally got better grades than the regular Harvard students.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8890204.post-66554036310019223242010-01-30T12:08:00.045-05:002010-01-30T12:08:00.045-05:00Marc --
You raise interesting points; in particu...Marc --<br /><br />You raise interesting points; in particular, I think we'd agree that with distance education, there are a variety of delivery models, and it's clear that the model of a standard semester-course is not necessarily the right product for all distance students. For better or worse, though, it's the way my class is offered, because it's essentially piggy-backing on the Harvard course I'm teaching.Michael Mitzenmacherhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02161161032642563814noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8890204.post-77798772993167932002010-01-30T11:31:07.847-05:002010-01-30T11:31:07.847-05:00Michael: For transparency purposes, maybe I should...Michael: For transparency purposes, maybe I should have indicated my standpoint, so that it would have been more obvious that my questions were in no way naive (as I suspect they could seem).<br /><br />I've been teaching for the last 25 years in a distance-education-only university, and I do know about the consequences of (1) openness (as in "open learning"), which includes not putting to much emphasis over formal or specialized study requirements; (2) the fact that older students, with full-time jobs and full-time family responsibilities can hardly be... full-time students.<br /><br />But, like the saying goes, never ask a question if you don't know the answer. But what prompted me to probe your views on the subject is that a few years ago, our (small) university were integrated into a (large) campus-based university, supposedly to work hands-in-hands with our classroom-teaching colleagues. But to this date, it hasn't worked very well, to say the least, partly because many of these colleagues are quite skeptical about distance education per se (especially when they barely know a thing about it).<br /><br />The problem is that we didn't really have occasions to discuss (with these same colleagues) the kind of issues your raise in your response, which by the way I find very sound.<br /><br />Too often, distance education is opposed to regular instruction, each with its advocates who, more often than not, don't have much consideration for the other point of view. Your attitude is a refreshing one.Marc Couturehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/04614893340544821766noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8890204.post-41198137621358101722010-01-26T18:31:56.940-05:002010-01-26T18:31:56.940-05:00Marc : Yes, a far greater proportion than the reg...Marc : Yes, a far greater proportion than the regular student group.<br /><br />Experience suggests there are two main reasons distance students find the class more than they can handle.<br /><br />1) They don't have the background (primarily in mathematics). Harvard students taking the class have already passed through a pretty robust filter and generally have the background to take the course (or know when they don't). The Extension school lacks an adequate pre-filter, and some students sign up for the class when they really need another discrete math class or more background/prep first.<br /><br />2) They don't have the time. I expect students to spend 10 (or more) hours a week outside of class on class, on average. Roughly speaking, my class is 1/4 of their "job". Many extension students already have jobs. And families. And other priorities. They may not have the time my class requires.<br /><br />Neither reason is meant to disparage to the Extension students. <br /><br />David -- 300 students, that's big. For Harvard, 50 is already a well-above-average sized class... I teach in a nice large classroom, though, so there's plenty of seats still available.Michael Mitzenmacherhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02161161032642563814noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8890204.post-14569547319339934142010-01-26T18:14:19.488-05:002010-01-26T18:14:19.488-05:00Our Algorithms and Datastructures 1 class at The T...Our Algorithms and Datastructures 1 class at The Technical University of Denmark have over 300 students this year (I am TA on the course). Now we do not have enough seats for all the students :/David Kofoed Windhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08647615661806588719noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-8890204.post-27342730880893130092010-01-26T15:19:29.275-05:002010-01-26T15:19:29.275-05:00Could you explain why you fear (if it's the ri...Could you explain why you fear (if it's the right word) that "many [Dist Ed students will] quickly figure out the class is more than they can handle"? And does "many" mean "a greater proportion than in the regular student group"?Marc Couturenoreply@blogger.com