Challenging the lecture-homework paradigm

While discussion has always been a big part of my pedagogy, I very much enjoyed this item from an engineering professor about what happened when he pushed the lecture out of class time, and spent what used to be a lecture period as a lab. In my American Lit class, I’m not planning to record full lectures for students to watch passively for homework, but I will record short introductions to readings, and direct students to existing videos or other web resources that supply background information that will help them understand the primary texts we’ll spend most of our time discussing. During the class time freed up, I will spend more time on in-class writing activites — something I have in the past thought of as a solitary, contemplative activity. I hope to make it more communal, exploratory, and reactive. Students will still write two traditional papers, and they will do most of that on their own time, outside of class.

Gregory A. Moses, a professor of engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, has tried to reverse the “lecture-homework paradigm” in a computational science course. Instead of watching a lecture and doing homework later, outside the classroom, students study the lectures on their own time online. Class is a lab, with students solving problems under the supervision of faculty. Mr. Moses went from “not knowing the names of the students in his huge lectures to knowing which ones smoked and which ones didn’t,” writes Glenda Morgan, an e-learning strategist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who sent me an e-mail pointing to projects by Mr. Moses and other professors at Big 10 universities. Click on the link above Mr. Moses’ picture here to learn more about his work. —Chronicle

2 thoughts on “Challenging the lecture-homework paradigm

  1. Sorry it took a while to get back to you, but now I have a good example of what I mean. For a class that meets on Wednesdays, I have created a 30 minute audio podcast and a 15-minute video screencast, that I’ve assigned students on Monday.
    In the past I would have tried to deliver all this material during the 2.5 hr class time, and I would have assigned them some writing homework.
    Now, I’m asking that they absorb the lecture material on their own time, and they spend more class time writing (and talking with each other).

  2. Dennis,
    Could you write a little more about how you are freeing up class time, though. Isn’t there a lot to talk about, even if you record content and make it available. In other words, this may be a question about how lecture is mixed with exchanges of other sorts. I’m curious.

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