All we need is one superb remedial algebra course that can be effectively delivered online and, theoretically, the demand for a zillion remedial algebra courses taught at a zillion community colleges suddenly drops off a cliff.
This hypothetical drives me up the wall, oblivious as it is to all the very interesting things that can happen in a brick-and-mortar classroom that can’t yet happen on the Internet.
The Internet is like a round pipe. Lecture videos and machine-scored exercises are like round pegs. They pass easily from one end of the pipe to the other.
But there are square and triangular pegs: student-student and teacher-student relationships, arguments, open problems, performance tasks, projects, modeling, and rich assessments. These pegs, right now, do not flow through that round pipe well at all.
So I’m aggravated by the hypothetical and, especially, its seductive allure to money-men and policy-makers.
But it also energizes me. It makes our job rather clear, doesn’t it?
Promote the hell out of the square and triangular pegs.
Push them into the plain view of anybody who’d love to believe math education isn’t anything more than a set of round pegs ready for a trip down the round pipe.