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Groundbreaking approach for improved online college classes

For colleges, a third option for safe online reopening in the fall

(Reprinted from EurekAlert! Press Release, July 27, 2020)

As colleges and universities grapple with reopening plans for the Fall, 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."

Find out more SmartNoter is offering early access and a variety of discounts to help professors rapidly migrate their courses to the improved online versions, and to offer colleges a practical solution to reopening safely in the Fall.

SmartNoter has scheduled the release of this new paid, proprietary software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for the first week of August, and will be relaunching a redesigned website at at that time. Meanwhile, U.S. college professors, administrators, staff, or teaching assistants can apply for free early access to [their new course creator] by sending an email to SMARTNOTER INC. CREDIT: COPYRIGHT (C) 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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