University of Colorado President Bruce Benson loosely tosses around the idea of "flipped classrooms," where students watch lectures online at their own pace, pausing the screen if they need more time to digest a concept, and then come to brick-and-mortar classrooms to discuss the ideas.
He also wonders about the potential of allowing students to earn course credit as soon as they can pass a test proving that they know the information -- using books and online materials for an independent study. The president of the flagship university has also given thought to whether universities should allow students to earn mini-certificates in specific areas, tailoring their education for particular fields of employment.
All of these now-hypothetical ideas could gain more traction when Benson -- with the help of his academic affairs chief and campus chancellors -- convenes a task force to brainstorm ways that CU can leverage technology to be more efficient. He expects the group to be put in place by Sept. 1.
"If you're going to think outside the box, you're going to take risks," Benson said.