Jan Whitaker jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Sun Sep 29 12:17:27 AEST 2013

At 11:25 AM 29/09/2013, Roger Clarke wrote:
>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?

Given the reported statements of the new Education Minister, no. He 
wants to go back to telling students facts instead of engaging them 
in learning, even in the early school years. Another reason people 
who have no expertise in a profession should not be put in charge of 
it. Pyne is a Catholic School educated Adelaide 'trained' lawyer, not 
an educator. One would hope that people running our actual 
educational institutions would know better.

>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.

This is assuming 'sage on the stage' instead of engagement with the 
audience. Two different teaching/learning methods. Recorded 
presentation don't allow for interaction at the key moment of a 
question that can also spark ideas in the heads of others. Learning 
is and should be iterative, somehow.

>[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

Mostly agree. Learning is about what people do for themselves, not 
what others give them.

>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, ...

This may be cultural and possibly gender influenced. What is 
'average'? Back in the 60s, most likely male, even in Australia. My 
experience in the 70s was different in my American scene. I must 
admit, I didn't take classes that involved large lecture halls where 
you were anonymous, even in a large state university. So that context 
may have influenced attendance as well. It was noticed if I didn't 
show up and participate, both in my major classes, but also my 
general education classes. Plus, it was as much my social engagement 
with fellow students that was rewarding as what happened with a 
professor. I didn't skip out on something I was paying for!

What I find interesting about online learning systems is that people 
persist as often as they do. Research on motivation source - external 
or internal - would be useful. There has to be some reason so many 
people are doing this.


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com

Sooner or later, I hate to break it to you, you're gonna die, so how 
do you fill in the space between here and there? It's yours. Seize your space.
~Margaret Atwood, writer

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