[LINK] the net, higher ed, and change

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Mon Jun 15 12:50:34 EST 2009

At 06:10 PM 12/06/2009, David Lochrin wrote:
>On Thursday 11 June 2009 12:38, Tom Worthington wrote:
>> I announced last year I was not giving any more lectures ...
>> <http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/2008/08/my-last-lecture.html> ...
>Yes Tom, but what does it all actually ~achieve~ over the
>traditional university culture, and what is lost? ...

What I suggest is cut out the lectures, but retain the discussion.

By the way, greetings from the ANU, where a lively discussion of the use
of Learning Management Systems is currently taking place. Issues of the
effect on the university ethos, including ethics and role of instant
messages is taking place. I will blog some of it

>You described what might be done and the technology (Moodle) 
>involved, but not the costs & benefits. ...

With a typical university one semester course, it works out that each
student gets about the equivalent of 15 minutes of the lecturer's time.
Most of that is used up in the lecturer talking at a large group of
students, with minimal opportunity for any discussion. As a result the
average student will only get a few minutes of personal attention.
Scrapping the lectures allows more time per student. There are not a lot
of savings in financial terms, as you still need staff: I am not talking
about replacing people with automated courses.

>I received a traditional education at Sydney University, and 
>believe me it involved far, far more than reading course notes. ...

The idea is to scrap the lectures, but retain the discussion.

>I suggest that a "degree" obtained by sitting at home in 
>front of a terminal is at best a vocational training course, 
>not an education. ...

In the area I teach, which is ICT, there is no clear distinction between
vocation and education. I am interested in teaching people to do things
which will be useful. This tends to annoy some colleagues, as after each
esoteric seminar on some new bit of computer science, I ask: "but what
practical use to you see for this?".

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                     
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National UniversityNational
  Tom Worthington FACS HLM
  PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia

More information about the Link mailing list