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Earlier this week University of Alberta Provost James Fasth took to Twitch in order to announce a pilot project of bringing lectures onto the popular streaming platform.
“Blended learning is about giving students the freedom to choose how they learn, and encouraging self-regulation,” he explains. “Students can now more efficiently spread their time between reading the textbook chapters of the week, watching the assigned YouTube videos, and, of course, following the stream.”
Blended learning is a class structure with a 50/50 split between classroom instruction and online learning. The replacement of lectures by Twitch streams is presumed to be the next stage of this learning approach after the project was proposed to the Board of Governors in March.
During the stream, Dr. Fasth admits he was inspired by his son during an episode at the dinner table. “We were just eating when I saw him looking down at some flash of light… he told me what it was and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is genius.'”
By tabling this idea, Dr. Fasth hopes to resolve issues around attendance and assignment submission in blended learning classes. “You just gotta try to be with it… I would’ve never thought some loser playing Fournight or whatever could be so big.”
Just like any other streamer, students will receive email notifications of when their professor has begun streaming. Under the university-sanctioned plan, students will have the option of making a “donation” of at least $1 to ask a question that appears onscreen as a banner. For an additional $4.99 a month, students will also have the chance to “subscribe” and participate in exclusive seminars to ask questions and receive advice. There are also plans to incorporate ONEcard payments into Twitch, which critics say will raise tuition in the long run.
The stream was cut short, however, after the chat was reportedly raided and filled with Toucan “copypasta art.” Several questions remain unanswered, including whether tuition will be the same or go up, but board members remain confident.
“Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing that we haven’t hopped on this train yet. Yhis is gonna be so cool,” Fasth says.