College classes in high school:

Let's go to college together.

Permalink by:Bethany Kelly May 2nd, 2009 View Comments

I've been digging around in Open Yale Courses. They offer full courses in several departments through their website, so that anyone can sit in on class and learn the material. They give access to course documents and videos, but no personal attention and no credit. It's great stuff for the self-motivated and the curious, but what I want to know is: how can I use it in my high school classroom?

Supposing I taught in a school with a block schedule (75-120 minutes per class period), I think it would be possible to use one of these college lecture series to teach a high school college prep course. I'm a fan of the concept that a teacher is a "master learner" in the classroom, and using a college-level online course, a teacher could demonstrate which skills are needed to succeed at the college level.

Using a literature course, like the American Novel one, a high school class could read a text, learn reading strategies (such as setting a purpose, varying reading speed, or how to "hold thinking" Cris Tovani-style), have discussions, view the college lecture, discuss how prepared they felt for the topics of the lecture, then do extension activities (projects or presentations) to reinforce concepts.

The goal would be to get the most out of a college lecture. The process would include reading and writing workshops, meta-cognition, note-taking and study skills, and practice in listening and speaking.

Considering my own experience, I wasn't ready for a college-level literature classes when I arrived to college. A course like this, where we're all struggling through dense material together, would have provided me the strategies to deal with the work load when I arrived in the campus environment.

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