An Outsider Calls for a Teaching Revolution

by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Mr. Khan has begun adding what amounts to a robot tutor to the site that can quiz visitors on their knowledge and point them to either remedial video lessons if they fail or more-advanced video lessons if they pass. The site issues badges and online “challenge patches” that students can put on their Web résumés. He guesses that the demand for his service was one inspiration for his alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to start MITx, its self-guided online courses that give students the option of taking automatically graded tests to earn a certificate. Mr. Khan also works the speaking circuit, calling on professors to move away from a straight lecture model by assigning prerecorded lectures as homework and using class time for more interactive exercises, or by having students use self-paced computer systems like Khan Academy during class while professors are available to answer questions. “It has made universities—and I can cite examples of this—say, Why should we be giving 300-person lectures anymore?” he said in a recent interview with The Chronicle.

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