So, I am yet to make up my mind on which is a superior mode of teaching in flipped classroom videos:

  1. Khan academy type model where you only listen to the instructor.
  2. Or a video in which you see the instructor communicating with you. Maybe in 1/3rd of the video and the rest of the screen real estate is focused on graphics, video etc.

Let us assume that both 1 and 2 are superb communicators.

Which model is superior? Have there been any studies in this field?

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    I'm leaning toward calling this a question that has no clear answer - it's very opinion-based in that some people need the person-to-person contact, and others just care about the content. – tonysdg Jan 7 '16 at 20:17
  • Isn't this part of stackexchange for opinions? This is my first time outside the programming side of SE. I would like to hear diverse opinions. – maximusyoda Jan 7 '16 at 20:21
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    That's true - I'm just not sure you can answer "which model is superior". You can answer "which model is superior for individuals with XYZ traits", though that may no longer fit for Academia SE...it just seems a bit vague in my opinion. But as you noted - that's my opinion :) Stick around a bit and see what others have to say! (P.S. Welcome to Academia SE!) – tonysdg Jan 7 '16 at 20:23
  • Thank you. I understand your perspective. Alternatively, I am happy to hear what kind of people (personality traits) can 1 and 2 target. – maximusyoda Jan 7 '16 at 20:32
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    Hm, seems like kind of an interesting research question, at least, though I can't say I've heard of any research in this area I'd imagine this would be heavily in the education field. It could potentially be in HCI though in the area of intelligent teaching agents, though I don't recall a study looking at something close to this. Would love to read such a study if anyone finds one, though! – BrianH Jan 7 '16 at 22:58

I cannot cite studies, but extensive anecdotal observation (maybe 5,000 undergrad students, 500 grad students) suggests that about 1/4 of students do not need, or do not care, about the person who is the instructor. But a vast majority, perhaps 3/4, do care. There is a sense of needing/wanting reassurance from a person, and caring about the insights of a person. The lack of this need/want comes in (at least) two very opposite forms: obviously the oblivious/incompetent failure to see what's going on, but also the relatively-very-competent student who scarcely needs or wants reassurance and has better ways to spend their time. The middle ground seems not to exist.

So, operationally, for almost all purposes, the person who is the teacher matters, whether or not they are a truly wonderful teacher (as long as they're not completely inert as a human being).

(The "funny case" is the few students, both at undergrad and graduate levels, who for some reason expect/demand the teacher to be an automaton, reciting a text, not looking at students, not caring about students, not contributing, not critiquing, not improving. Yet they come to class rather than read the book? Maybe in anticipation of "books on tape", to have the classic text read to them out loud, in a room with other people?)

(The aspect of trusting in the expertise of the instructor seems, sadly, less relevant than the mandated understanding of their "authority". Tsk.)

  • Thank you. I am guessing this need of human body interface translates into online video as well? In that way, other models where the instructor faces the student in the video maybe more effective than Khan Academy where you only hear the audio of the instructor. – maximusyoda Jan 13 '16 at 21:04
  • I would think that for the vast majority of students, a video that shows the person would be more effective, yes. Still, there is a significant minority of students (in math, for example, perhaps a somewhat extreme case) who seem happier to not have the instructor be present as a person... – paul garrett Jan 13 '16 at 21:16
  • I would think so. Math/Programming etc. are special cases. – maximusyoda Jan 13 '16 at 21:26

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