Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Khan Academy: A Game Changer?

According to its web site, The Khan Academy "is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere." The driving force behind this academy is Salman (Sal) Khan (see clip above). According to his bio, Sal has BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, a BS degree in mathematics and a MBA from Harvard Business School. More recently, he was senior research analyst at a Bay Area investment fund. Sal has generated over a thousand instructional videos (available on YouTube) in areas such as mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, economics, and various areas of finance. The vision of the academy outlines its goal of providing high-quality instruction that can be delivered online (and offline) and at the pace of individual students.

I have watched several of the chemistry videos and generally found them to be of high quality and engaging. Many of the videos at the Academy web site are appropriate for college-level classes and raise important questions about how these videos (or similar videos found on the web) should or could be used in our courses. I invite you, if possible, to view a few videos in your discipline, or a related discipline, and consider the questions below. If you have any comments, please click the link below and give us your thoughts.

1. What are your thoughts on having these types of instructional videos available on YouTube? Can they make an impact on K-12 or higher education?

2. Is there a place for these videos in your courses at Murray State?

3. Should we be thinking about how to design our courses around the availability of these and other quality instructional materials available on the web?