Thoughts on design: The 100,000-student classroom

There is currently no consensus on how closely...

This video was shared by Peter Allen, and a few things caught my attention. The first was the use of written notes captured by a camera…it feels counter-intuitive, but they had good feedback about the sense it created a more knowledgeable friend explaining something. The second thing to jump out is that everyone was working on the same thing at the same time; again, this seems to go against notions of personalisation and differentiation, but I can see how it would lead to a ‘critical mass’ in the subject associated forums. And the final thing was making some of the material available for a limited time to help with motivation and work to deadlines.

Hmmm. While I really ‘get’ some of this, and for sure deadlines for example, can be a great motivator. But to remove the material completely seems to negate the notion of being able to review, recycle, and reflect. Also, with the handwritten notes – are there issues of accessibilty here (low vision learners for example)? And finally, everyone learning at the same time at the same pace…Peter Norvig mentioned Sal Khan as a source of knowledge, but something that Khan’s research is indicating is (no surprise here) everyone learns at a different pace and in a different way.

What are your thoughts?

The description from the site reads: In the fall of 2011 Peter Norvig taught a class with Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence at Stanford attended by 175 students in situ — and over 100,000 via an interactive webcast. He shares what he learned about teaching to a global classroom.


There is currently no consensus on how closely the brain should be simulated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ ( I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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