Using Technology to Improve Instruction

Source: HBR, Sep 2013

There is a significant opportunity to help reduce the lecture portion of expenses using technology innovations.

According to the American Institute of Physics (PDF), as of 2010, there are about 9,400 physics teachers teaching undergraduates every September in the United States. Are all of these great teachers? No. If we had 10 of the very best teach physics online and employed the other 9,390 as mentors, would most students get a better quality of education? Wouldn’t that lead to lower per unit cost per class?

Yes, you might argue the lack of “classroom experience” is missing. But when it comes to core classes which don’t require labs or much in-person faculty interaction, does the current model justify the value-price equation?

Imagine a business model where you take two years of courses online with the world’s best teachers, followed by two years in structured problem-solving environments. Driven by market forces, such new business models could emerge faster than we expect.


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