Monday, February 28, 2011

Flash Seminars -- A New Concept in Learning

In a recent post, we spoke of the great coverage the New York Times has done on education.  Not to be outdone, the Washington Post recently posted a story on a concept called "Flash Seminars."  No this isn't about computer programming, it's about using empty classrooms to have impromptu lectures.

Over the past few years, the idea of flash raves or mobs have become fairly popular.  Here, students choose a time and place and congregate.  Check out this one from UNC Chapel Hill.

Flash Seminars are a bit different.  The idea came from a student at the University of Virginia.  The article describes them in the following way:
Once or twice a week, students at the state's flagship public university collect in some idle classroom or lounge for a "flash seminar," an ad hoc performance of pedagogy.
The time and place, professor and students are always different. But the goal never varies: "to find learning outside the classroom," said Nelson, 22, a senior from Westwood, Mass., who is majoring in political and social thought. "To find other people who really value being a student."
There's a nice tech tie in if you switch from the idea of a face to face lecture and consider screencasts or 5 minute lectures (see the University of Wisconsin's 5 minute lecture site).  At UDC, we have Wimba and Echo 360 which integrate with Blackboard to allow professors to record lectures and deliver them to students. 

Here's a screencast that shows students how to upload an assignment.  Whether it be a lecture, demonstration or other visual experience, screencasts should be in every pedagogues technology toolkit (read about toolkit theory).

Please stop by the Center for Academic Technology to find out more about these tools.

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