Learning outside of this structure engages students more deeply, recent data indicate. Professors talking for 16 weeks or so, assigning readings, and then testing students often appears to yield a bunch of quickly memorized facts that are soon forgotten. . . .
Courses won't go away completely, Mr. Bass argues—they do provide a handy framework. But he said he hopes that professors will stop thinking of them as a goal unto themselves and focus more on linking skills conveyed in the classroom to hands-on student activities.
Really? "Quickly memorized facts"? Where do these people go to school, the Mr. Gradgrind Academy? Yes, if you set up a straw man of a Facts-O-Rama education and then test for the kind of learning that takes place, you might see that it doesn't work very well.
The second quotation has more going for it and a couple of things wrong with it. The first point is that hands-on student activities are important. Here's my question: where do you do the "hands-on student activities" if you don't have a class? If you have a course in which content (as in "a body of knowledge," not "how I feel about looking at this video") is important, hands-on learning can't do everything, although it can help.
The second point is that the author is almost apologetic about the concept of a classroom. What is a classroom but a place where presumably interested parties get together to work on learning and contributing to a body of knowledge? Unless you're Stephen Hawking, rattling around in your own head with a text doesn't get you nearly as far as discussing it with others.
Another person quoted in the article has made the astonishing discovery--hold on to your seats--that "The class discussion only really works when everyone is prepared." Instead of seeing that as a reason to give up on class, however, I see it as a reason to keep trying harder with the admittedly useful "framework" of a class rather than to give up and send them to YouTube.
I can't speak to the efficacy of podcasted lectures in, say, science classes, but in the humanities, which apparently nobody cares about anyway, there's a give-and-take in the classroom that can't be replicated. In short, let me state a fact:
I have never given the same exact lecture twice, and my classes have never discussed the texts in the same way twice. We see each others' faces, hear each others' voices, and learn from each other, and it's that process that's valuable.