High Touch Engagement – an idea whose time is coming

wallby easylocum

They just feel threatened by a change agent
[Via Unqualified Offerings]

By Thoreau

Yesterday, while talking to a colleague who’s more enthusiastic about online classes than I am, I promoted High Touch Engagement by noting that I just had a research article accepted with three undergraduate co-authors, describing a project they did with me.  I noted that this sort of thing cannot be scaled into the traditional factory model of the online class.  This person’s very defensive, reactionary reply was “There’s more that you can do with a MOOC than just lecture.”  Silly traditionalist, clinging to last year’s buzzword.  It’s not about online lectures vs. online interactive activities or whatever.  That is an outdated paradigm.  The traditional MOOC model is a factory that focuses on massive dissemination of known ideas, while High Touch Engagement is about the creation of new knowledge through research projects mentored in small, supportive groups with expert role models.  This is a transformational new concept, and any institution that doesn’t want to be left in the dust will have to embrace High Touch Engagement.  How else we can move more people into the STEM pipeline without intensive mentoring on research projects?


I’m already working on this but with a different name. And it will not be housed inside traditional academic walls but will exist in a public space open to all. It will remove barriers that separate science from society.

I hope to have more coming in the next few months.