Tom Worthington tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Mon Sep 30 10:46:06 AEST 2013

On 29/09/13 11:25, Roger Clarke wrote:

> ... Is it all that much better now?

My anecdote is of a senior academic who congratulated me on the very 
high student feedback score for my e-learning course. He then asked "How 
many contact hours are there for the course?". I explained that an 
e-learning course has no contact hours, in the conventional sense. He 
looked very worried and said: "I think you need to invite all the 
students to come in, so you can ask them if it is okay not to have 
contact hours". I explained the students could be anywhere in the world 
(one Australian university had a student in orbit). The students might 
be a little annoyed to be required to travel to Canberra, just so they 
could explain they did not want to travel to Canberra.

> Where I think lectures help is in assisting candidates to break into
>  a new topic-area ... at the end of a logical block within a unit.

With the usual e-learning course you have a socializing period at the 
beginning, points for review along the way and summary/celebration at 
the end. On a finer scale I have proposed synchronization points:

> ... you can't *help* the bottom 10-20% ...

We can help the struggling students with progressive assessment and
feedback, to either improve or realize they should withdraw from the

> ... I attended a small percentage of lectures in most subjects ...

I attended most lectures, I hated them, but I attended. Perhaps that
was why I did not do well in my studies.

On 29/09/13 12:49, Roger Clarke wrote:

> I was meaning in the sense of attendances at lectures typically being
> half (or less) of the unit enrolment.   ...

About 25% attendance seems to be typical for blended courses with
optional lectures.

I ran my ICT Sustainability course with optional face-to-face tutorials
last semester. About one third turned up to the first one, by the last
one I was down to the 10% who were required by their visa conditions to
attend. I am dropping the set tutorials next semester. Students tend to
book an individual appointment, or come in with a friend, just before an
assignment deadline, for help.

Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
The Higher Education Whisperer http://blog.highereducationwhisperer.com/
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia  http://www.tomw.net.au
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards

Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science,
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/

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