Call It A SMOC

Career College Central summary:

  • When two University of Texas at Austin psychology professors take the stage for the fall semester’s first session of Introduction to Psychology later this week, their audience will consist of a production crew and their equipment. The professors’ research shows their students benefit from computer-based learning to the point where they don’t even need to be physically present in the classroom.
  • The university styles the class as the world’s first synchronous massive online course, or SMOC (pronounced “smock”), where the professors broadcast their lectures live to the about 1,500 students enrolled.
  • The course is the result of almost a decade of research into how students learn. After teaching separate 500-student sections of the introductory course, the professors decided to schedule the sections back-to-back. They then began experimenting with adaptive learning, requiring students bring a laptop to class so they could take multiple-choice tests and receive instant feedback. The professors then built group chats that randomly paired five or six students together for in-class discussions. Last year, they moved one of the two sections of the course online. And with this change, the class will be taught exclusively online.

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