This year, we are launching HPS100 Intro History & Philosophy of Science, our first fully flexible online course with pre-recorded high-quality video lectures (think TED-talks) and live online tutorials. If you wonder why on earth anyone would take this course, check out the course trailer on YouTube.
A few facts about this course:
- Watch Lectures Anytime: The students can watch the pre-recorded video lectures any time at their convenience on our YouTube channel (but they must do that sometime before the week’s online tutorial in order to be prepared to discuss and raise questions).
- Live Online Tutorials: For our online tutorials, we are using Blackboard Collaborate, an online Java-app that runs through the portal. This app is like Skype only with tons of useful add-ons, such as breakout rooms, group and personal chats, quizzes, polls, whiteboards, drawing and writing tools, and many more.
- Skill Learning Activities: Each online tutorial has a DIY section geared towards mastering a specific analytic skill important for succeeding in the course assignments. In these DIY sections, students learn to identify problems, conceptions, arguments, analyze and evaluate the soundness and validity of arguments, design new arguments, and complete essays.
- Flexible Tutorials: Our tutorial sessions are interchangeable, so if for whatever reason a student happens to skip her usual session, she can participate in any other session of that week.
- Teaching Team: Every tutorial session has a front-TA and a back-TA. While the former does the regular talking and essentially runs the show, the latter monitors the chat window and, if she finds an interesting question or a comment, she brings it to the attention of the whole seminar by voicing it. This model with division of labor works much better than having just one TA who does both. Besides, a back-TA comes in handy if the front-TA happens to experience connectivity issues.