UNIVERSITY lectures as we know them could become a thing of the past because so many students prefer to learn online, vice-chancellor of the University of Canberra Stephen Parker has said.
Digital recordings of lectures have been viewed nearly half a million times in the past six months, while attendance in lecture theatres has dwindled.
”The lecture is going the way of the paperback novel: it’s going digital,” Mr Parker said. ”It’s going on to mobile phones and it’s travelling with the students.”
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has broadly supported the changes but wants its members to be given training and support to deliver quality digital lectures.
Professor Parker said the shift was being driven by changed student habits.
”This is true for universities around Australia; in the first week or two the attendance at lectures is good and then it really drops away,” he said.
”But we know they are watching the lectures online or listening to them online.
”It can be about student hardship, there is pressure on them to earn money and they want the flexibility to access lectures at different times.”
Students should be able to get more face-to-face time in small groups so they could demonstrate they were learning and discuss their ideas, Professor Parker said.
”This is not about putting lecturers out of work, students need to be able to talk about their learning, not just be sitting passively,” he said.
NTEU’s ACT division secretary Stephen Darwin said the skills needed to give good digital lectures were challenging to learn, but also a part of the technological age.
”Students expect their universities to provide things for the iPad,” he said.
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