Teaching By Walking Around

Classroom - image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhillan/

A recent article from Tomorrow’s Professor discussed a new model called Teaching By Walking Around, and looked at how this might be useful when looking at the differences between online and traditional classes:

In the midst of a proliferation of cost effective online courses, universities will have to differentiate in order to charge a higher fee for similar courses with face- to-face contact. This is the main challenge for differentiation in order to charge a premium price.

L and I have actually been having a similar discussion over the past few weeks. Online courses are becoming cheap and easy to offer to ever larger numbers of students. The questions that looms large is what role traditional campuses will play in this environment. For many, this is a scary question, but I believe there is a lot that can be offered in person that is lacking online.

The traditional classroom model of a lecturer standing up front won’t stand up anymore with the availability of online classes. Instead, the article suggests looking into some new roles for teachers:

  • Teacher the relationship builder
  • Teacher the listener and helper
  • Teacher the counselor and motivator
  • Teacher the provocateur

Of course, one might argue these are all roles that good teachers already take on, but they are not exactly widespread practice at the college level. Do you think instructors can adapt to these new roles? Can you think of other roles it may be important for teachers to fulfill? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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