Online Education on the Rise at Yale

By Shelton, Jim | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), December 5, 2013 | Go to article overview

Online Education on the Rise at Yale


Shelton, Jim, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


New Haven » As Yale University grapples with the ramifications of online education, faculty and students are rolling out their own initiatives in a big way.

More than just a digital fad or an interesting offshoot of classroom teaching, online education continues to expand. Next semester at Yale, more students will be taking online quizzes before class, more professors will be honing their lecture skills in front of a camera crew and more graduate students will seek online teaching experience so they can get faculty jobs in the future.

"There is no turning back now," said Diana E.E. Kleiner, an art historian who will teach an online course in January through a pilot program Yale has launched with the Coursera online platform. "Whatever education will be, it will be different."As evidenced by a recent campus forum on the subject, Yale's online plans are about as open-ended as an essay question on existentialism.At the Yale School of Medicine, a portion of the Cushing Library is being turned into a recording studio. Faculty will practice and film short videos that medical students will study before small group sessions with instructors. Students will be able to access the videos on all their digital devices, including iPads.Michael Schwartz, associate dean for curriculum at the medical school, said the online efforts are part of a broad overhaul of the school's curriculum over the next year or two. Some of the online videos will replace traditional lecture time, and students will understand that online work is an expected part of their medical training.

Perhaps the best-known approach to online classes is what is known as the Massive Open Online Course -- also called a MOOC. These are free courses designed to reach thousands of people around the world.

Kleiner's upcoming MOOC will include online quizzes, assessments and discussion. She described it as part of the evolution in online education. "We at Yale can't shape that evolution without being part of that evolution," she said.

Yale psychologist Paul Bloom also is teaching a MOOC and has been involved in online teaching for several years. He said lecturing into a camera will never replace a college seminar course, but it's likely more effective than a large lecture course. …

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