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Sunday, November 01, 2015

Embracing high-tech for higher learning

"As Stanford University students watched Professor John Taylor present his “Principles of Economics 1V” study course during the 2014 summer session, they weren’t just learning the basics of global economics." according to Carey Sweet, Freelance Writer.

Virtual Human Interaction Lab manager Cody Karruth, left, fits the virtual reality helmet to test subject Lucas Sanchez. Stanford is exploring new ways to use virtual reality to teach students.
Photo: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News

They were making history. While perhaps wearing their pajamas.

Debuted as Stanford’s first completely online credited course for undergraduates, the experience offered students the opportunity to participate from the comfort of their own homes. As students watched at their computers, Taylor expounded on the nuances of the supply and demand model versus the competitive equilibrium model.

It’s a brave new world in higher learning. Today, Stanford students can get a preview of the course on YouTube, as Taylor explains how he used to teach the popular course to hundreds of students packed into a large lecture hall. But now, the massive open online courses, as the sessions are called, are here to stay.

While some may wonder how a student can gain a powerful education without human interaction, institutions of higher learning are exploring that very scenario.

“Stanford is thinking broadly about how we will best educate students in the 21st century,” said John Mitchell, Stanford’s vice provost for teaching and learning.

This year, the campus has started an initiative called the “Year of Learning” to investigate new ways for tech saavy students to learn.

“We’re asking fundamental questions, such as how should we as a research university make sure that the teaching we offer and the learning we hope to inspire can both develop and improve?” Mitchell said. “How might we rethink our teaching in the face of new technology, new demographic trends, and the new political, social and economic realities?”

And that has led to high-tech online learning platforms, said Judith Romero, Stanford’s director of communications and marketing. Instead of capturing students on campus for 50-minute lectures, Econ 1V participants view short 12- to 15-minute online videos. 
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To preview the “Principles of Economics 1V class with Professor John Taylor, go to

Source: SFGate 

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