Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Sun Sep 29 11:25:37 AEST 2013

At 10:42 AM +1000 29/9/13, Tom Worthington wrote:
>I would prefer if the certification was available with the
>on-line/flexible courses, avoiding old fashioned "Lecture 1.0". I never
>enjoyed attending lectures and gave up giving lectures, around the time
>I was appointed a "Lecturer" at ANU:

Lectures have their place in teaching-and-learning.

But I very much agree with the proposition that they should have long 
ago ceased to be the centrepiece of university education.

Anecdote:  in late 1994, I proposed to the ANU Dean of Commerce that 
I would reduce lectures from 13 wks x 2 hrs to c. 6-10 x 1 hr, and 
invest the time in a mix of workshops, and visual and interactive 
teaching materials using this newgfangled web-thingie, to complement 
the exising 12wks x 1 hr of tutorials.

He threatened me with the intellectual equivalent of castration. 
Okay, he was a thorough twerp and a nasty piece of work;  but his 
shall-we-say caution reflects the views of the time.  Is it all that 
much better now?

Where I think lectures help is in assisting candidates to break into 
a new topic-area, or a new school of thought.  A lot of students also 
appreciate a wrap-up lecture at the end of a unit, and sometimes even 
at the end of a logical block within a unit.

Recorded lectures can work well for a particularly hard-to-grasp 
topic.  You can more easily 'get yourself up' to do a good lecture on 
a particular topic once;  whereas repeating a good performance year 
after year, and even semester after semester, is near-impossible.

[Underlying philosophy:  you can't hurt the top 10-20%;  you can't 
*help* the bottom 10-20%;  you can make a difference for the middle 

Declaration:  Like Tom, and probably a lot of us on this list, and 
indeed the average student in 1967 and 2017 alike, I attended a small 
percentage of lectures in most subjects - but there were exceptions, 
to some extent for individual lecturers, and where I really could not 
work out what the heck the subject was supposed to be about.  Corners 
of math stats, the strange legal notion of equity, international 
trade theory, ...

Qualification:  My comments relate to the disciplines I've been 
involved with - info sys, comp sci, accountancy, law, economics.  It 
may be different in divinity, history, etc.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 6916                        http://about.me/roger.clarke
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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