A new look for 8.01

The NYT reports how  at M.I.T., Large Lectures Are Going the Way of the Blackboard.

The physics department has replaced the traditional large introductory lecture with smaller classes that emphasize hands-on, interactive, collaborative learning. Last fall, after years of experimentation and debate and resistance from students, who initially petitioned against it, the department made the change permanent. Already, attendance is up and the failure rate has dropped by more than 50 percent.

Seems like this course change has been a great success. Still, it’s not clear how many introductory classes could eliminate their big lectures. After all, MIT is a research institution, and it’s already hard to find enough faculty to lead those classes. And as long as junior faculty get tenure based on research instead of teaching, that’s not likely to change.

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