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World Association of International Studies

Post An Instructional Model for the Post-Coronavirus Era: CLASS
Created by John Eipper on 04/01/20 3:24 AM

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An Instructional Model for the Post-Coronavirus Era: CLASS (The Administration, USA, 04/01/20 3:24 am)

No segment of society has been more impacted by the coronavirus pandemic than the field of education. In recent weeks, students and educators alike have experienced the benefits of Internet-based instruction, which provides flexible, multi-platform solutions to current challenges while remaining sensitive to a diversity of learning styles, needs, and outcomes.

Yet the contingencies of Quarantine and Shelter-in-Place cannot last indefinitely, all of which has led education policymakers to ask: What is the face of the next generation of instructional delivery?

Introducing CLASS: Collaborative Learning as Social Space

Unfettering Student-Centered Learning:  CLASS

CLASS is a holistic, cutting-edge learning interface that leverages the potentialities of on-line education into the next dimension. Through CLASS, learners convene in a physical, interactive setting, under the guidance of an Instructional Facilitator-Mentor (known in CLASS as "Teacher"). Students in CLASS encounter course content through both auditory and visual media (the latter presented via a "chalk-" or "whiteboard"), and can engage in synchronous discussions and request clarification in real time. To ask a question, student-learners simply extend their hand in a vertical position, as if playing the Theremin or Nintendo golf. No digital device or Internet connection is required, which makes CLASS customizable for applications such as outdoor instruction (on warm, sunny days) and Developing Nations.

CLASS method of signaling student input

CLASS also permits small-group or "breakout" activities, accomplished through the creative rearrangement of chairs. In addition, Facilitator-Mentors in CLASS can tailor outside projects to student abilities and specific learning objectives. This self-paced ancillary learning ("homework") is then evaluated according to the Facilitator-Mentor's time and level of interest. Finally, CLASS offers numerous assessment tools, including the Quantified Uniform Inquiry Zone (QUIZ), which is configurable via a variety of templates, such as True-False, Multiple Choice (a, b, c, d, None of the Above), and the optimized format for critical thinking, Fill in the Blank. Students can complete the QUIZ either independently or in a team-based, collaborative process known as "cheating."

We expect CLASS to become fully operational in the fall of 2020, conditions permitting. Some Facilitator-Mentors may resist this out-of-the-box, disruptive initiative, but the under-25 demographic, already technology-savvy and accustomed to evolving modes of social interaction, will find CLASS intuitive, motivational, and even fun.

Launch date, August 2020: See you in CLASS!

JE comments: The only constant is change, the old saw goes. But as an educator, I would be insincere if I didn't acknowledge my jitters as CLASS approaches. How do I prepare for CLASS? Will youngsters receive this innovation with an open mind and positive attitude? Will they even show up? Should I wear a tie?

It's only April 1st, so I have five months to get ready. In the meantime I'll reach out to experts and experienced colleagues for guidance. For now, let's stay safe and stay home.

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  • Scrutinizing CLASS: Serious Breakthrough or Promotional Exercise? (Henry Levin, USA 04/01/20 7:56 AM)
    I don't know who wrote the CLASS prospectus (see The Administration, April 1st), or what the data show for effectiveness of this approach in which the theory of action and details are not presented except as a promotional exercise.

    I have enclosed the most recent review of face-to-face relative to virtual learning approaches. Susanna Loeb is one of the top economists in the world in economics of education (now at Brown University after two decades at Stanford) and has her PhD in economics from John E's alma mater, U Michigan. Susanna's summary is balanced and fair based upon the evaluation results for the two approaches.

    Could John or someone provide the evaluation of CLASS (not correlational, but causal, based on randomized control trials or sound quasi-experimental studies)? If CLASS can be shown to be a serious breakthrough with good evaluations, we should be able to read the studies.

    JE comments:  Henry Levin (Columbia U) is my go-to authority for the theory and economics of education.  Hank, I second your skepticism on CLASS.  Until we have quality, peer-reviewed studies, the proclaimed benefits can be nothing more than speculation.  Dare I ask, is CLASS merely the latest in a long line of education fads?

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  • CLASS Notes: April Fools' in Coronavirus Times (Enrique Torner, USA 04/02/20 10:37 AM)
    Our dear editor played a great, hilarious April 1st joke on us! Very well done, John: under these circumstances, I was not expecting any jokes about Coronavirus, but you were able to pull it through beautifully!

    There's nothing like going back to the good, old-fashioned, face-to-face, write-on-the-board education.

    JE comments: Thank you, Enrique. I struggled for several hours to come up with a tasteful April Fools' joke for these horrible times, and then it jumped out at me from the computer screen: Good God, this on-line teaching is driving me nuts! Take me back to CLASS...

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  • Why Couldn't They Kill that Bat? (A. J. Cave, USA 04/03/20 4:45 AM)
    A followup to The Administration's CLASS initiative (April 1st):

    Also, effective immediately, all those employees and contractors working on WMDs are fired. We have given you trillions of dollars, and all the Chinese had to do was to send a guy into a cave to kill a bat. Somebody in the USPTO should check and see if they have filed a patent on the process.

    JE comments:  The Long-haired Boys (and Girls) lost control again--this time with a bat.  By the by, what is the latest on the "bat theory" of coronavirus?  I fear the pandemic will lead to an international campaign against bats, which by and large are extremely beneficial.  The former WAIS HQ in Adrian always hosted them in the basement and attic.  At first I was combative, but then we settled on a peaceful coexistence.  I even named one long-term lodger, for no particular reason, Ramiro.

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