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Research Proves College Lectures Need to Go the Way of the Dinosaur

A recent experiment proves what we all know: Talking at college students is a terrible way of teaching.


I signed up for a calculus class my freshman year of college that had almost 100 other students. Our professor talked into the whiteboard the entire class. I had a hard time staying awake, and had pretty much no clue what was going on. Too many professors feel right at home talking at students instead of fostering an engaging and interactive learning environment. Students are expected to sit there, take notes, and find some way to stay awake. The suck-it-up-and-endure-a-mind-numbing-lecture mindset is so ingrained in college, schools even assign room names like "Lecture Hall 4".

We know anecdotally that this is a terrible way of teaching, but now a recent experiment has proved that the lecture method really does need to go the way of the dinosaur. Science reports that a team of researchers, led by physics Nobelist Carl Wieman, recently conducted experiments in classes at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver and at the University of Colorado at Boulder which proves that "students learn much better through an active, iterative process that involves working through their misconceptions with fellow students and getting immediate feedback from the instructor."

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@GOOD Asks: If You Could Make One College Course Mandatory, Which Would It Be? The Community Answers

What courses should every college student take? The GOOD community suggests Intercultural Communications, Ethics, and Basic Accounting, among others.

Yesterday on GOOD, Twitter, and Facebook, we asked our friends: If you could make one college course mandatory, which class would it be? We ask a question to our Twitter and Facebook faithful once a day, so if you’re not yet following @GOOD or a fan, make sure to sign up and participate in the conversation.

Check out what our Twitter followers had in mind:

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We ask a question to our Twitter and Facebook faithful once a day, so if you’re not yet following @GOOD or a fan, make sure to sign up and participate in the conversation.

Tomorrow, we will post a roundup of our favorite responses, so stay tuned. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Image (cc) by Flickr user California Cthulhu (Will Hart)

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