After reading this in the New York Times, I was wondering how many would agree. Should college lectures, and all direct instruction for that matter, be replaced by video? If there are better teachers out there, shouldn't the students learn from them? I’m not ready to say yes.
Face-to-face still has value, even in a lecture hall with several hundred students. Every day, I teach the same lesson to three different groups of 7th graders. Though similar, each lesson takes on its own personality as a result of who is in the room. Each class asks different questions and reacts differently to the information being presented. I might recognize a misunderstanding in the first lesson and be able to adjust for future lessons. If anything, chemistry professors at the University of Nebraska should be viewing the online lectures in an effort to improve their own.
Another negative result of having all students watch “the best” lecture or lesson would be its cultural impact on society. A lot of who we are is shaped by our experience in school. If we all had the same math lesson, same introduction to philosophy and the same lesson on the civil rights movement, our interactions with each other would be less interesting and have less value.