Debate: "More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall is Obsolete"

This week's debate in Columbia University's Miller Theatre on online education entitled, "More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall is Obsolete" was well attended, including more than a half-dozen very interested CCNMTL staff. The event, organized by Intelligence Squared and the Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy, was broadcast live on the Internet and featured TV-game-show like production.

The debate featured Jonathan Cole, former provost and dean emeritus of Columbia and author of the book The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role, Why It Must Be Protected and Rebecca Schuman, a columnist for Slate Magazine, against the motion and Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, and Ben Nelson, CEO of Minerva Project, for the motion.

An audience vote was used to determine the debate winner. The Agarwal/Nelson team drew many more believers to their side, but the Cole/Schuman team still held a slight majority based on a pre- and post-debate poll.

The big gain from the event and the post-debate reception was that many Columbia faculty, students and administration were engaged in conversations on education and how to use technology wisely to improve learning.

Intelligence Squared has posted the full debate results and a video recording on their site.