The LectureFail Project

Students and Professors Sound Off on the State of the College Lecture

January 24, 2012

The New Question: Is Sal Khan Right About 'Flipping' Classrooms?

Last Updated: Thursday, April 5

The founder of Khan Academy, Sal Khan, argued in a recent TED talk for an idea called the "flipped classroom." Now that videos of lectures can be placed online, he said, students should be assigned to watch those as homework—so class time can be used for discussion and other interactive experiences.

College students: What do you think of this idea? We want to hear your views on whether this model would work for you, or whether you'd prefer the traditional lecture format. Use your smartphone or Webcam to shoot a short video commentary, and we'll post it here. Send your short video to, or post it to YouTube and send us the link.

Salman Khan at Ted 2011:

The Original Question: Do Lectures Work for Today's Students?

Last Updated: Friday, March 23

We're still accepting video commentaries from students and professors on whether lectures are working See details below.

PowerPoint is boring. Student attention spans are short. Today many facts pop up with a simple Google search. And plenty of free lectures by the world's greatest professors can be found on YouTube.

Is it time for more widespread reform of college teaching?

This series explores the state of the college lecture, and how technologies point to new models of undergraduate education.

This year, we began inviting students across the countries to fire up their Web cameras or camera-phones to send us video commentaries about whether lectures work for them. Below are highlights from the first batch of submissions, which are full of frustration with “PowerPoint abuse” – professors’ poor use of slide software that dumps too much information on students in a less-than-compelling fashion.

Students Share Their Critiques of College Teaching

Professors Push Back

We’d like to hear from more professors. What is your perspective? Do you believe the lecture should die? Or do you see tools like clickers and classroom Twitter feeds gimmicks or fads? Perhaps some lectures are just fine and others need improvement, so how should colleges address that issue? Should institutions change the way they reward teaching or train professors? Please e-mail your video commentary to Or better yet, post it to YouTube and tag it "LectureFail?"

If you’d rather chime in by text, post your views as a comment below, or e-mail your response to the above address.

We are still accepting new videos from students and professors. See the video below for more details on what we’re looking for.

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Background Stories From The Chronicle

Tech Therapy Podcast: The Battle Against Bad PowerPoint
A Tech-Happy Professor Reboots After Hearing His Teaching Advice Isn't Working
An Outsider Calls for a Teaching Revolution
How 'Flipping' the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture
Reaching the Last Technology Holdouts at the Front of the Classroom
Teachers Without Technology Strike Back
Actually Going to Class, for a Specific Course? How 20th-Century.
When Good Technology Means Bad Teaching
Treating Higher Ed's 'Cost Disease' With Supersize Online Courses