Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Anyone...? Anyone...? Institutional Malpractice

Came across this video on Silvia Straka's excellent post on her blog.

All too realistic and the the only thing missing was an image of the yellowed notes the lecturer wrote the first semester he taught the class 10 years ago.

Oh… and maybe a few smudged up overhead sheets and the stack of unread hand-outs left behind on the lecture hall floor.

I know that there are lots of passionate, engaging lecturers and speakers of all sorts but they maybe in the minority. Any value in terms of content from this type of presentation could be easily delivered in a half a dozen different ways, video, podcast. At least that way students could review the material when they were ready to learn, or at least awake. They could pause for reflection, rewind to review, and use a social network to engage with the subject matter. And they wouldn't have to put up with the smell of the guy who came to class hung-over.

Everyday, thousands of people spend millions of dollars to drag themselves to a campus to participate in this sort of ritualized behavior. Just think of the carbon footprint.

To insist that students drag them selves into a lecture hall to sit for 50 minutes of this sort of mind numbing presentation is abusive and constitutes institutional malpractice.

Still in a lot of institutions this passes as the ideal of teaching and learning, predicated on the hegemonic assumption that the institution owns knowledge and can inject it into the minds of students. After a while there will be test or a quiz to test the student acquisition of knowledge, a dip-stick pushed into the mind of students to check the level. And then the assignment of a grade that permits the student to advance to the next stage of injection.

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