Jon Udell on technology in education

I recently listened to Jon Udell’s interview with CJ Rayhill, CIO of O’Reilly. They talked about O’Reilly’s Safari U project which allows college professors to compile chapters from various books into a custom book for their own classes, available in print and online.

I’ve written before about what I wanted in a college textbook. I wish I had had Safari U in college, though I was in the business program and Safari U may not have many business texts. Being able to search textbooks would have been incredible.

They also talked more generally about technology in education, including Jon’s vision that most lectures could eventually be available online, to be viewed at the student’s own pace and schedule. Classroom time could be reserved for group projects and class discussion, never for one-way lectures.

This is actually how BYU teaches its introductory accounting class, Accounting 200. Professor Norm Nemrow’s lectures were available on CD-ROM, with video, audio, and notes all synchronized. It was great to watch these on our schedule and at our own pace. (Most students downloaded a plugin that played the video at 2x speed!) The class only met 6 times that semester, and the in-person lectures were more anecdotal and conversational.

One reply on “Jon Udell on technology in education”

  1. I’ve never been one for sitting in a lecture hall and learning. My mind always races with what might be if… Even if the content is interesting. It always gets me thinking.

    I got my master degree from Mercy College via an online forum. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. For me, I was forced to focus and participate. A classroom never required that.

    I think everyone should study in this fashion at least once.

    My hardest class as an undergraduate was a home-study course on art history. The 1,200 pages of that text were the ones I read as an undergraduate. But I read every word of every book as a master candidate.

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