Posted by Emily Singer
On Dec. 7, the Skidmore faculty gathered in Gannett Auditorium for the last time this fall semester to discuss news regarding the Skidmore community, including the prospect of having MOOC's, or massive open online courses.
The faculty spoke about the possibility of Skidmore participating in eLearning, through which students would take courses on the computer instead of in the classroom. These courses would either be part online and part taught in the classroom, serve as a mandatory prerequisite for students to take before in-class learning, or completely replace certain classes, such as the introductory, 100-level courses, while teachers merely assist with the student's understanding of the online material rather than teach it directly.
Several faculty members voiced their concerns that technology might replace the benefits of having classroom discussions and take away the experience of a true liberal arts education. Skidmore's number one priority however, they recognized, is enhancing the learning for students, so applying online learning to course curriculums would only be used if it accomplished this goal.
The suggestion arose that online courses could help with admissions, since prospective students could look at course materials that way, although faculty members decided it would be more important to focus on the education of the current students before speculating about future ones.
In addition to the discussion about potential online courses, the meeting brought up several newsworthy events within the faculty, including the distinguished faculty award won by American Studies professor Mary Lynn and the hiring of two new faculty members within the past month for Environmental Studies and Sustainable Skidmore.
The two new members, Rachel Wills and Levi Rogers, will work on a sustainable tour for prospective students and will also develop environment-centered internships and projects for students at the College.