In Nagy’s “brick-and-mortar” class, students write essays. But multiple-choice questions are almost as good as essays, Nagy said, because they spot-check participants’ deeper comprehension of the text. The online testing mechanism explains the right response when students miss an answer. And it lets them see the reasoning behind the correct choice when they’re right. “Even in a multiple-choice or a yes-and-no situation, you can actually induce learners to read out of the text, not into the text,” Nagy explained. Thinking about that process helped him to redesign his classroom course. He added, “Our ambition is actually to make the Harvard experience now closer to the MOOC experience.”

Nathan Heller: Is College Moving Online? : The New Yorker. Fewer essays, more multiple-choice tests: the wave of the Ivy League future. Can’t wait to get on that train.