Combining Synchronous and Asynchronous Instructional Models

Distance Education Report

When Washington University School of Law enlisted the help of 2U, Inc. (www.2u.com) to develop its online master of laws program, the challenge was to figure out how to make the Socratic case method work in an online environment.† Further complicating the challenge was the issue of scalability. It might be possible to engage a small group in synchronous session in a Socratic dialogue, but that approach would not work with hundreds of students enrolled in the program. To solve this pedagogical puzzle, several faculty members and 2U instructional designers looked at a key assumption about the Socratic methodóthat it is highly interactive. It is highly interactive, but not for everyone all the time

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