Lecturers to ask the audience

June 18, 2004

Audience voting keypads like those used on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? could become standard in lecture theatres across the UK and could push academics to change the way they teach, it was predicted last week.

Senior academics and university administrators were told at a conference in London last Thursday that some lecturers were already adapting their teaching technique in the light of interactive technology.

Lawrence Hamburg, senior e-learning adviser at the Higher Education Academy, said that electronic voting systems had the potential to help students and academics.

Academics could pose multiple-choice questions during a lecture and ask students to "vote" for the correct answer through an electronic handset.

Results are relayed instantly to the lecturer's laptop computer, Mr Hamburg said.

"This technology can help students reflect on what they are doing and help lecturers respond to topics that students need more help with," he told the conference on university infrastructure.

The technology is already in use on a number of campuses, including Glasgow University, where it has become a feature of lectures in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, biology, psychology, computing science, statistics and philosophy.

Steve Draper of Glasgow's psychology department said: "I think of it like central heating - a small but useful improvement that we did OK without for millennia, but we all prefer to have if we can."

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