Discussion Session Comments by
Andrew Delbanco and Daphne Koller
IT IS EVIDENT that Daphne is a true believer! And when I referred earlier to the missionary spirit, here you see it incarnate, and it is wonderful to see. What I think is especially admirable is that in Daphne, the missionary spirit is blended with an understanding that you do have to test things and to look for evidence. As I have said, a big barrier to greater acceptance of online learning is the lack of evidence concerning both learning outcomes and cost savings. Assembling evidence takes thought and it takes patience; it is also very, very important.
Let me now turn to Andy’s remarks, which I thought were very good. Your comments, Andy, about the value of provocations remind me to underscore something that I may not have emphasized sufficiently. In our desire to experiment and to try new things, it is important to recognize that the pedagogy best suited to teaching in one field may not be the same pedagogy that is appropriate in a different field. A one-size-fits-all attitude is dangerous because it will lead both to bad teaching methods and to confusion about what is possible. I think there is merit in distinguishing, at least roughly, between fields in which there are understood facts or concepts that need to be acquired—and more discursive topics. What is a confidence