Exaggerated reports

October 22, 2015

When I started university teaching in 1971, experts both recommended and predicted the demise of the lecture. Your report shows that these experts are still around, and still without impact (“Lecture theatres should be ditched for ‘21st-century teaching spaces’”, News, 13 October).

Throughout my time as lecturer and later vice-chancellor at the University of Portsmouth, universities built ever larger lecture theatres, which remained the main constraint on timetabling. After I retired, I enrolled as a student, and found that lecturers are the same mix of interesting, informative and the rest as they were 45 years ago. Technology has changed: when I started, the problem was locating the chalk and cleaner; now the problem is summed up as “no signal”. The only technology really needed is an electric fence to prevent the lecturer from pacing around, pretending that it helps them to think. You will publish more articles on this, over many years to come.

John Craven
Sometime vice-chancellor
University of Portsmouth

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