The Beauty of the Virtual Discussion Section - Michael Munger writes for The Chronicle of Higher Education
Look, today’s students are grossly overscheduled, with commitments to clubs, activities, work, and athletic team practices and travel. Most of them have a computer, even if it is in their phones. That gives them access to a world of high-quality specialized, educational, entertaining, and informative digital content. It takes the form of videos, podcasts, recorded lectures, and animated features that explain or illustrate fundamental points about a wide variety of subjects.
Doing more with less is not very rewarding. But if we can do better with less, and use existing resources more wisely, we can serve our students’ needs and our administrators’ wishes all at the same time. The virtual-section solution accomplishes two goals: (1) It facilitates much larger introductory classes in ways that don’t sacrifice — and may enhance — student learning and enjoyment, and (2) the resources that are freed up create a space for a much better variety of creative and challenging upper-division course offerings.