Time to cut lectures

March 9, 2007

In all the recent talk regarding abuse of lectures and lecturers, the blame is put solely on misbehaving students. Yet the most satisfied students seem to be those at the Open University, who are not lectured at.

That the fault could possibly lie with the medium has been known since Donald Bligh wrote his classic What's the Use of Lectures? 35 years ago, and five centuries after the invention of movable type made the medieval lecture redundant.

Since then, more effective methods for the transmission of knowledge from lecturer to student have been known but rarely used.

Surely the time is overdue for the lecture to find its true role in its inspirational form - once a week and not three times a day.

Lewis Elton.
Manchester University

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