All in with Lynda.com
I’m doing it.
Next semester, I’m going all in with Lynda.com.
For those of you have not heard of lynda.com, it is a website that hosts thousands of training videos on hundreds of topics. For a monthly fee, a user can watch as many of those training videos as they want. Recently, ECU has subscribed to the service, offering all the videos to all of our students for free. ECU is encouraging professors to use the videos in their classes.
That’s where I fit in. Next spring, I plan on chucking my existing textbook and instead require students to use the training videos in my web development class to learn HTML, CSS, and PHP. This should complete my initial forlay into the “flipped” classroom. I am done lecturing in the classroom for this course. Instead, all the materials are available online, either through lynda.com or through my own youtube.com videos.
So what am I good for? Am I marginalizing my own role in the classroom? I’m good for a lot and, no, I am not marginalized. Instead, I get to focus on more useful activities. Three in particular. First, I will have more time to develop and refine evaluation materials to ensure students actually learn the stuff meaningfully. Second, I have more time to develop support materials that better guide students in their learning. Third, I will have more time to directly engage students in the classroom and more quickly identify problems in understanding or confusion with materials. The ultimate objective is to help students learn better. By moving the lectures outside of class, I can move their assignments into class so I can give them immediate feedback.
That’s not to say I don’t have concerns. Number one is that students will not like listening to the videos outside of class. I know how few read the book. What makes this different? Well, nothing specifically. For those students how prefer to read, this might annoy them. For those students who prefer to listen to an instructor, this might be better. In the end, the presentation format will likely make little difference to students motivated to learn. But I still plan to hold them accountable for watching the lectures. To do this, my current plan is to require weekly progress reports. This should give students the freedom to learn at a pace comfortable to them, yet allow me identify problem areas so I can help them.
I’m sure I will learn some valuable lessons along the way, but if any of you would like to share your experience with lynda.com (or other video tutorials), please add them to the comments.