HOW TEACHERS TEACH,
HOW STUDENTS LEARN:
TEACHING IN A BLIZZARD
PETER SUBERFor a conference held at my college, I was asked to think
about how my teaching -- not my research -- would be affected by
rapid, cheap, and simple access by computer to all the published
literature of the human race. Forget what impediments stand in the
way of this hypothetical future and imagine that your campus has
the means for you and your students to locate, search, sort, copy
and store anything in digital form that has ever been in print. How
would you answer?I am a computer enthusiast but, while I find this hypothetical future terribly exciting for research, I do not find it unambiguously good or exciting for teaching. Most of my reservations are not
specific to my discipline.First it is well to admit some of the large advantages.
|1. When more full texts are online, we could assign what we
wanted without regard to whether it was in print or out of
print. Without resort to Kinko's or its competitors, we
could assemble a reading list of just the right fragments.
Teachers would find new flexibility in designing their
syllabi; rich and poor students would find themselves on
equal footing for at least one important resource. Even if|
Suber is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Computer
Science, Earlham. College, Richmond, Indiana.