Online learning platform uses ‘Hollywood Squares’ model to boost engagement

“They all just love it because if you teach 12 students, you know their name, their family, their job, why they are taking this class,” Shackelford said. “Faculty love it because teaching is much more personal, and very few students who are lost and doing poorly because our classes are small enough so that it can turn into a sort of individual tutoring session.”

For faculty members critical of online learning for its purported lack of engagement, Johnson said a live, interactive setting could show skeptical educators that there are classroom models even better than the traditional brick and mortar.

“If you’re forced to look into a camera, you just can’t do things like check Facebook or chat with friends online,” he said. “It’s better than being in a small study group at a table,” where students can still peruse their favorite social sites while others talk.

Shackelford said UNC officials chose 2tor’s platform for its online MBA program because it would most closely reflect the experience of an on-campus student enrolled in the university’s traditional MBA courses.

“The technology is good enough now to recreate what we do in the classroom at the same level we do it here at the school,” he said. “You can’t say that with all [online programs].”

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