10 January 2012

Nigel Thrift on contemporary academics

What does it mean to be an academic? Nigel Thrift paints us a picture:
...I am now pretty sure, the lecture in its old form, understood as a direct oral presentation intended to present information or to teach students about a particular subject and delivered by a lecturer standing at the front of the room and giving out information and judgments, will become a minority teaching method. Instead, what were lectures will be recorded for students to consult–many universities have already produced a library of such presentations–and the time previously put by for lectures will be used as a surgery, as a time for problem-solving, clarification, and the like. This is a no less time-consuming method of teaching–indeed, it may involve more work. But I think it is likely to become the norm in many disciplines.
These comments sound about right to me - and I say that having just penned my 20 Tips for Teaching. I've been recently taking the f-MRI tutorial in exactly the way that Thrift points out. In some sense, I think this is a loss. I love lecturing. But the academy moves on....