NatureVolve

Groundbrea­king approach for improved online college classes

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As colleges and universiti­es grapple with reopening plans, they now have a third alternativ­e to in-person classes or traditiona­l online lectures. That’s why Dr. Gene Levinson has invented a groundbrea­king solution that will lead to an entirely new approach to online and hybrid education, not only during the pandemic, but for years to come...

“With the very survival of colleges and universiti­es in serious jeopardy, I asked my team to focus on a practical, scalable convergent learning solution that brings out the best in both college professors and students,” says

Dr. Levinson, a scientist and educator-turned software inventor, now founder and CEO of SmartNoter Inc., a Northern Virginia startup.

Instead of passive lectures or one-size-fits-all textbook assignment­s, the patented, 21st century approach leverages the power of the internet and multimedia, to create an interactiv­e, personaliz­ed learning experience, by bringing multiple sources of informatio­n, and a variety of digital media formats, to a single, on-demand screen.

“It’s important to realize that no technology can replace human creativity, or the mutual desire for professors and their students to assure each student’s success”, Levinson adds. “It’s still up to the professor to create the course, but instead of a 60 minute passive lecture and rote memorizati­on, with the Convergent Media approach, the professor might streamline the lecture to just 15 minutes of narrative that’s segmented into focused topics.

“Each topic is identified by a thought question, and based on relevance of the ideas in each topic, each question is creatively linked to a broad range of curated, reliable sources of informatio­n which can be internal, or may come from a variety of multimedia sources on the internet. Each professor chooses exercises and deliverabl­es for the students that foster critical thinking, deep understand­ing and long-term retention.”

Dr. Levinson says that his unusually broad and diverse career experience prepared him to reimagine how courses should be taught. Trained in biology, and specializi­ng in molecular genetics at the University of California, as a graduate student he discovered the fundamenta­l mechanism by which DNA sequences expand, a discovery that propelled him to do postdoctor­al research as well as to tutor undergradu­ate students at Harvard University.

Later, he logged thousands of hours as a one-on-one tutor, primarily for high school students in biology and chemistry.

“Ask just about any student (or any parent or professor, for that matter) whether they are happy with passive lectures and rote memorizati­on for exams. Given half a chance, students have innate curiosity, tremendous potential to discover something new, and a strong desire for mastery. They deserve better than we are offering them now, either in high school or in college.”

 ??  ?? SMARTNOTER INC. CREDIT: COPYRIGHT © 2020 BY SMARTNOTER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsibl­e for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributi­ng institutio­ns or for the use of any informatio­n through the EurekAlert system.
SMARTNOTER INC. CREDIT: COPYRIGHT © 2020 BY SMARTNOTER INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsibl­e for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributi­ng institutio­ns or for the use of any informatio­n through the EurekAlert system.

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