Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Emporium Models & Quantway/Statway: Living in Harmony

It may seem counter intuitive that these two initiatives could work together, but I believe there is a way to make that happen.  Most faculty are in one camp or the other.  That seems logical since emporium models are about lab-based learning, working on an individualized program of study at one's own pace.  The Pathways initiatives are about students working together in a classroom at the same pace.

So how could they marry and live happily ever after?

Well, consider this:  both need the same things but offer them in different percentages.  Both want to offer the student a new experience that serves their needs more than the traditional lecture-based approach.  How they achieve that is different, for sure.  But both want students to get the skills and connections.

Emporium models focus heavily on skills and at many schools, solely so.  But ask instructors and students and they will say that they do want interaction, they just don't want lecture.  Students want to gather together and instructors want to talk with them as a group.  But problem solving together would be the ideal, not just answering questions as a group to students who are at different places content-wise.

The Pathways models focus on group interaction and problem solving, but skills have to be included.  Skills exist in the classroom as does lecture, but in lesser proportion to problem solving and connections.  They're often reserved for time outside of the classroom so that students can spend as little or as much time as they need.

Both models use interaction for connections and online homework systems for skills. 

In our course, we've already seen students need more skill work than we can do in the classroom, so we're beefing up the online component to allow for that.  Emporium schools often complain that they need more than just skills so they try to beef that up with a once weekly problem solving session.

How about the best of both worlds?

Emporium schools could use Quantway or Statway lessons during their once-a-week problem solving sessions to make connections and solidify understanding.  Students who haven't seen the topic will get an introduction in a way different than the static, online lecture.  Students who have learned the topic will make connections.  Everyone gets something out of it even though they're on different skills they rest of the week.

Pathways schools could have once-a-week lab time just for skills.  That would give students who need more time for skill development just what they need along with the instructor there to support their individual needs.

What I like about this idea is that it gets the best of both worlds and would not be that involved (or costly) for either camp to implement.  What do you think?

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