Top 5: Rebooting the Oral Exam Tops Most-Read List for October 2023

Changing teaching was the biggest theme of our most popular articles in October.

Topping our monthly Top 5 list was a look at how professors are rebooting oral exams to respond to concerns that students can now use ChatGPT and other AI tools to cheat on essays. And the list included an interview with a Nobel prize winner about his research to improve science instruction; a set of reader responses to our coverage of “math wars”; and a look at what’s keeping teachers from embracing edtech. Also making the list was an essay by a teacher launched into a leadership position at age 26 reflecting on a lack of support during the shift.

1. As AI Chatbots Rise, More Educators Look to Oral Exams — With High-Tech Twist: The rise of ChatGPT has left educators scrambling to find alternatives to written essays. Some are bringing back a classic approach that was once common in medieval universities: the oral exam. Can technology help make them less time-consuming to deliver?

2. How Teaching Should Change, According to a Nobel-Prize-Winning Physicist: Since winning the Nobel Prize for physics in 2001, Carl Wieman has devoted the bulk of his energies to trying to improve teaching. That has led him to promote active learning — and to look for better ways to evaluate teaching. Will the ideas catch on?

3. Readers Respond: Does Fixing the Leaky STEM Pipeline Require Calculus To Adapt?: With declining student math scores and “math wars” waging over instruction this year, EdSurge headed over to Harvard to observe instructors at work trying to update the calculus curriculum. They argue that their methods will keep more students from being pushed out of STEM. But that was just the beginning of the conversation. Find out what readers had to say, in favor and against that idea.

4. Catapulting Teachers Into School Leadership Positions Too Soon Comes With a Cost: Elevating young teachers into school leadership roles without adequate support can be risky, writes Lindsey Fuller, executive director of The Teaching Well. Fuller knows this all too well because at age 26, she was promoted from teacher to administrator without guidance or training. When teachers are promoted to leadership positions, Fuller says, they need support to do their jobs effectively.

5. What’s Really Getting in the Way of Teachers Embracing Edtech?: What’s holding teachers back from embracing edtech tools and tech-enabled instruction? That was the driving question behind a project designed to better understand the gap between teaching practices and tech use. Two researchers share what they learned about how edtech can be used most effectively in instruction, the barriers to adoption and the tools that can best support teachers in shifting their practices.

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