Archives For Video – Wednesday Watchlist

Despite erroneously suggesting that MOOCs were invented in 2013 Anant Agarwal, the President of edX — Harvard’s and MIT’s collaborative MOOC venture and the instructor of the first edX course on circuits and electronics, points to some key aspects of the edX courses which contribute to student achievement. These include:

  • Active Learning – Lessons are interleaved sequences of videos and interactive exercises.
  • Self Pacing – Students can hit the pause button or even rewind the professor.
  • Instant Feedback – Students can try to apply answers. If they get it wrong, they can get instant feedback. They can try it again and try it again until they great it right, and this really becomes much more engaging.
  • Gamification – You can engage students much like they design with Legos…the learners are building a circuit with Lego-like ease. And this can also be graded by the computer.
  • Peer Learning – Students answer each others questions in the online forums and the Prof confirms the right answer. Students are learning from each other and that they are learning by teaching.

A well designed online course that provides the opportunity for active learning, self pacing, instant feedback and peer interaction can contribute toward student achievement and success. As we can see from John Hattie’s examples below of Teaching Effects several of the edX effects make the the top fo Hattie’s list:


Rather ask if online learning is working perhaps we should be asking if we are getting these same effects in our traditional classrooms.

In the post Conference Call Hygiene Seth Godin offers the following principles to help us avoid pointless and painful conference calls:

  1. When in doubt, don’t have one.
  2. Everyone now knows precisely what time it is. Show up ten seconds early; one minute late is too late.
  3. If you can’t live with rule 1, can we live with this one? 10 minutes is the maximum length of a conference call. In, out, over.
  4. If the meeting is only ten minutes long, good news, you have time to pull over, time to let the dog out, and time to give us your undivided attention.
  5. If you’re not planning on speaking, no need to attend. You can listen to the recording later if you need to, or we can send you 8 bullet points and save us all time.
  6. While we’re on the topic, audio is a truly powerful means of communication, and if you want to record your message and send it to all of us, I’m totally in favor of this. But don’t confuse the one-way broadcast power of audio with a pretend meeting where you’re talking and we’re supposed to quietly listen in real time. That’s not a meeting and all the trappings of a conference call detract from the thing you were trying to do.
  7. Before you waste a thousand dollars of company time on another conference call, listen to Read This Before Our Next Meeting. Almost all conference calls that involve more than five people are either a lazy choice or a show of power, and should be eliminated. If you want to talk, for sure, please pick up the phone and call me.