Friday, September 10, 2010

Tweckled at ALT!

Missed the Tweetstorm after my ALT Keynote at the University of Nottingham, as I was on the road without a mobile for the following two days. I don’t have a mobile phone as I’m not really a Gadgetboy and enjoy my periods of solitude and privacy when I travel. Nevertheless, from London to Dundee I kept bumping into people who told me that the Tweckling was fierce. I even had someone come up to me and mention the tweets as I stood outside a burning building in which I was due to deliver a keynote. She had been watching my talk online. As I say, I’m not a mobile Tweeter, so will respond here.

Don’t lecture me
‘Don’t LECTURE me (yes I’m aware of the contradiction)’ was the title of my talk. A number of people objected to me criticising the lecture, using a lecture. Ho hum. First, I explained myself in the title and verbally at the start of the talk. I was deliberately provocative as I wanted to show that the lecture is an odd format and explained the weaknesses of the format as I spoke (one hit, psychological attention, dull, memory fade etc).
To effect change, which is why I do this stuff, you need to create a sense of urgency and that means getting to the people who matter. In this case, in HE, they happen to love attending conferences. I don’t, but that’s where they hang out. To catch fish, you sometimes have to trawl in the cold, cruel sea, a place you’d rather not be. And if you think it’s easy to stand up in front of hundreds of people and say things you deeply believe but know they won’t like – try it.
I did this talk because Seb Schmoller asked me and spent a day of my life getting to Nottingham to say what I had to say, for free, so was probably the only person in the whole lecture theatre who wasn’t being paid to be there. I have never deliberately asked to speak at a conference. I do it because I’m asked. I could, admittedly just say NO, but if my aim is to change things, that would be counterproductive.

Lack of evidence?
Another charge was that I didn’t provide evidence. Sorry, but almost every point I made was backed up by a published source and, often empirical studies.
My analysis of the Socratic method included analysis by Xenophon and Plato and I gave accounts of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, along with a linguistic analysis of the word ‘lecture’, from it’s original 14th century meaning to its semantic shift in the 16th century.
I showed the covers and quoted from of five books; The Media Equation by Nass & Reeves from Stanford, What’s the use of Lectures? by Donald Bligh, Peer Instruction by Eric Mazur, Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman by Richard Feynman, Lectures in Physics by Richard Feynman.
In addition to the studies presented in these books I gave detailed slides showing the methods and results of large scale studies on the FCI test and the work of Eric Mazur. On the psychology of learning I showed research by Ebbinghaus and a contemporary study by Paul Kelley, and summarised the results from the Institute of Theoretical Physics (even promising to send people the papers on request). I also showed a summarising graph from a five year study on lecture attendance. In addition I showed two slides referencing Carol Twigg’s $8.8m research project on transformational learning. I also quoted detailed figures for the numbers of views of Lewin’s physics lectures. This, in my experience, is a great deal more than most conference presentations.
So to be accused of not presenting evidence seems to suggest that people were spending too much time tweeting and not enough time listening (one of my criticisms of the lecture format!)

The backchannel was showing tweets as I spoke. I rather like this, as it at least provides some form of feedback and a variety of views, although it would have been better if the chair had given me a chance to respond. Interestingly, it sort of indirectly reinforces my view that lectures are pedagogically odd (why cut out to tweet if you like the format so much?). It’s like a game where the speaker is playing shot-put and the audience darts.
However, pedantic tweets are infantile, and there were plenty of those. Puzzlingly, a fair number got upset because I swore a couple of times. There’s something deeply reactionary about portions of HE audiences, definitely a touch of the old-fashioned ‘schoolmaster’ or ‘angry from Tunbridge Wells’. Welcome to the real world, where people get passionate enough to say ‘bollocks’! Do they turn their TVs off when Frankie Boyle appears?
On the other hand some excellent blog posts have appeared from Stephen Wheeler and others, with some reasoned argument. I’ve never attended ALT, as I don’t like sitting around listening to conference lectures for two or three days but I do like the online material, Seb’s fortnightly newsletter and subsequent blog posts.


Bob Harrison said...

Hi Donald I was there and loved every minute of it....including the twitter channel. Im not sure academia do irony ( a lecture on the death of the lecture) but one tweet really made me laugh out loud with it's irony! An academic tweeted "which planet is this guy on?" This from an Academic is surely the irony of all ironies?

Seb was right to ask you and you delivered what was needed for ALT.

Lets have some more cage rattling of the ivory towers(mixed metaphor I know)...I'm up for it :)

Natalie said...

Good response to the critics! It was good to chat to you yesterday. It's a shame the fire forced the change of venue and my colleagues and I couldn't sneak in to hear your keynote. Hope it went well.

Doug Belshaw said...

Donald, I was there in the audience at #altc2010 and, to be fair, was one of the ones giving you some stick. I was bitterly disappointed with both the content and condescending manner of the keynote. Having followed your work over the last few years I thought this was a real shame.

To respond to your points above:

1. You don't create a 'sense of urgency' by criticising something and not pointing to any solutions. You were asked twice in the Q&A to do so yet merely said that it was 'obvious' there were a range of options. Well 'obviously' not!

2. Evidence to most people, including me, involves more than sticking up a few book covers and a graph. I felt, along with many people in the backchannel, that you were presenting opinion as fact. I'll cite two examples: your criticism of the Socratic method and Maslow.

3. You don't have to 'cut out' to tweet whilst listening to a keynote. I, along with everyone else there, was perfectly capable of forming an opinion in 140 characters whilst listening to you. It's not rocket science.

4. People were annoyed by your swearing because it seemed a desperate attempt at some kind of credibility. As one tweeter put it: 'serious dad tries to impress hipster audience'

5. You criticised *all* Physics lecturers based on your own, narrow, experiences. You did likewise with schoolteachers because you're a school governor. Having worked in schools up until this year, I found your undifferentiated criticism and lack of nuance unjustifiable.

As you well know, the opening keynote sets the tone for the conference. I'm not sure it was the best tone to set.

Martin - TheUniversityBlog said...

If lectures were the single source of information intake, we'd be in trouble. But they're not.

That's why I see a purpose in lectures, and a wild variation in how effective they are. Lectures needn't be obligatory, but they are useful in certain learning situations.

What I couldn't make out was how you proposed lectures should be fundamentally changed. You said that the answers are staring us in the face. At the same time, you argued that new technology and shorter TED-style lectures were not enough. That may be the case, so what should be done?

If new techniques don’t resemble lectures, we end up abandoning lectures rather than rethinking them. You may be comfortable with that, but it sounded like you weren't specifically calling for the outright death of the lecture in all forms. Am I right that you were saying "Don't fiddle with it, rethink it"?

Sue Beckingham said...

Given that many delegates had got up at an unearthly hour that morning to catch a train or drive from various parts of the country, I personally thought your keynote was just what we needed to wake us up and get things buzzing! My perception of the audience reaction was not that you didn't have evidence, not that they actually all disagreed, but actually that you didn't supply them there and then with the 'magical' alternative that would keep all students engaged for ever more! If you know the answer, you could become a very rich man!

Seb Schmoller said...

I'm grateful to Donald for having had the courage to be very challenging at ALT-C 2010.

Later this month the full video of "Don't lecture me" should be up on ClipsFromALT, along with a transcript.

Concerning Twitter, I've got mixed views about the way that Twitter works in these situations.

Personally I'm incapable of following a line of argument whilst i) trying to write pithy observations on it, and ii) keeping an eye on what other people using Twitter are writing; and I suspect that the research evidence would show that those who think they can multi-task in this way are, like texting drivers, deluding themselves.

And my experience has been that the value of the "back-channel" has varied widely: sometimes it seems to work like a vile feedback loop on a sound system; sometimes it seems to add focus and clarity to a discussion, and to induce productive involvement. In the case of Donald's keynote it seems to have done both.

Concerning the "back-channel", unless a speaker actively wants it displaying whilst they speak, with a view to using it actively in the course of their talk, I'm against its use in this way (and in the case of Donald's talk it was not displayed).

Seb Schmoller

paul martin said...

Chill ....

Jerry Bakewell said...

So bad lectures are bad and good lectures are good (ditto lecturers) and during the course of the past 3000 years some well-known people did or didn't lecture with varying degrees of success and lecture comes from the Latin meaning to read, and all this makes for an entertaining, hard-hitting, provocative lecture, and this sentence is already too long. Hard to see what the fuss is about.

Unknown said...

I see the point your getting across. Sometimes people have to be challenged, if you were wanting to instigate discussion you certainly did.

Sometimes bribary works as well.

Overall a thought provoking talk, would definatly keep doing the conferences.

Harold Jarche said...

Well said, Donald. I'm sorry I missed it, but like you, I don't attend conferences and only speak when invited. Do you know if the session was recorded?

Donald Clark said...

Jerry Bakewell
A snide, selective sentence is not an argument. I presented a range of sources and piles of evidence showing that 'lectures' are pedagogically weak. If people want to live with the fact that HE teaching is poorly executed then so be it. Just don't expect me to agree.

Donald Clark said...

Sorry, but replying to comments one by one is difficult in Blogger. I had 40 mins to do the groundwork so couldn't provide all the alternatives in that time – that would be several other presentations, and believe me I’ve given many of those. I suppose my point was to demolish the current practice, and give evidence for my belief that HE has at its core, some very weak pedagogy, rather than present full alternatives.
However, I have devoted the whole of my adult life to providing learning solutions that were ALL alternatives to 'lectures'. I have a passionate belief in alternative pedagogic techniques which include sophisticated blends (blended learning, not blended teaching), but more importantly have implemented large scale solutions in FE, HE, public and private sector organisations. I continue to support this effort as a non-exec in public (UFI) and private sector organisations. In addition I have published dozens of papers outlining these alternatives and presented dozens of talks that focus on real case studies and alternatives.
On alternatives, I pointed towards these through the Carol Twigg research and gave a detailed account of how lectures could be improved through an extremely detailed case study by Eric Mazur at Harvard. I was also precise in recommending a break between the competences of research and those of teaching. Far too many researchers who can't teach are teaching (not all as I said in response to a question).
I feel that people were tweeting so much that they failed to listen to what I was saying, dropping attention being a common failure in the lecture format!

Donald Clark said...

Doug Belshaw
1. You do, especially of you only have 40 mins. Read Kotter on change management, who explains that this is precisely how one can create a sense of urgency. The problem in HE, I feel, is that few stick their neck out and really question the questionable practices and few discuss the serious topic of change management.

2. Socratic method - I quoted Xenophon and gave an account of Socrates method and its weaknesses. One of the weaknesses of a lecture is the inability to give detail on everything. If you want a more detailed account I blogged this (search Socratic in my blog). I also published a paper on the subject when I was at Epic. I also, on the day, quoted detailed research from Professor Guy Claxton at the University of Bristol on the weaknesses of the method in educational institutions.

On Maslow, again, I've given a detailed account of this on my blog and repeat that his hierarchy of needs was not 'evidence-based' and has been widely criticised as an impoverished model of human nature. I've also published a paper on this.

3. Read research on multi-tasking - you do.

4. You flatter yourself and the audience if you think that I think of you as a 'hispster'! I'm not some cosy, middle class lecturer and come from a working-class culture where things are often a little more direct. I sometimes swear because it's part of my normal speech pattern - ask people who know me. All I can say to this is 'you need to get out more'.

Not sure what you want on 'tone' but I don't do these things for 'tone'. I do it because I believe what I say is right and that we're letting down learners by sticking to cosy old conventions. If you want cosy 'tone' as opposed to genuine debate, then I'm not your man.

Terry McAndrew said...

I enjoyed the keynote, and the enthusiastic style of delivery. As a lecture it worked very well because it stimulated discussion, further critical thinking and a common sense of being part of an exciting conference. However I have a different criticism t those listed already. Yes, there are plently of bad lecture situations that CAN arise but I do not think they do with the frequency you assumed. The academic community has been aware of them for a long time now - we have moved on. Your criticisms are not *universally* valid IMHO - perhaps 15 years ago they were. We know how to break up lectures with stimulating activities, images, animations, video, questionnaires etc. because the lecture still has a role as a significant 'live' node within the course. There has been lots of CPD and publications to tackle the boring lecture problem. Timetable abuse is a more realistic description of the problem -the issue is more curriculum design and delivery in a severely constrained and overloaded environment. You may end up misleading LT's and those with a political axe that replacement with streamed 'expert' lectures (or similar) are the optimal and cheap solution, and I think this could be very damaging.

Donald Clark said...

Thanks Terry. At last, some debate, rather than comments on 'style'!

I take your point on improved lectures but would need some convincing that there's been a sea change here. I sat through six lectures in one day this week and every one was a full 55 mins of uninterrupted talking, with one that was so full of pregnant pauses that it was almost impossible to to maintain attention.

My experience of lectures at conferences, where some academics still think it's OK to read the entire lecture from paper, is one of continuous disappointment. I am always asking students about their experiences at Universities, and most report really bad experiences in the lecture theatre. To be fair they often report the stars as well.

In addition, if the evidence from Youtube EDU or iTUNES E is anything top go by, not much has changed.

My own view is that, rather than desperately preserving the 'lecture' we rethink courses and move towards an OU model with a seriously designed pedagogic model, rather than accommodating this relic.

Frances Bell said...

I was sitting next to Seb during your keynote and I agree that you satisfied the ALT goal of a controversial keynote to kick off the conference. I have seen many positive comments on your keynote but also a sense of disappointment from some people who do enjoy a good debate - it was in some ways a missed opportunity.
I had three main problems with your keynote lecture. Firstly, you looked at lectures as standalone, not as Terry McAndrew says 'live' nodes within a course. The concept of eventedness that Dave White introduced illustrates some of the value that lectures and other events can bring especially to campus-based learners. We should definitely be debating the value of lectures but looking at how they should/should not be used in specific contexts.
My next objection was that your lecture and some of the subsequent discussion paints a stereotype of academics (as distant from students in their ivory towers) that fits few of the ones I know. There are some very significant discussions to be had about how resources (including LTech) are deployed in HE but most academics I know care about students and do the best they can within their workload. (I know there are some bad lectures). I remember hearing the word 'academic' spat out by an learning technologist several as though it were a term of abuse. I hoped we had moved on from there. Effective deployment of learning technology will be based on research, pedagogy, and a good working relationship between learning technologists and academics.
On the swearing, it just got a bit wearing. I have no objection to a few swear words in social contexts that tolerate it but your swearing reminded me of what I sometimes hear on my train commutes - too loud, wrong place.
I seem to recall posting a tweet about lack of evidence, and you are correct in saying that you did produce a lot of evidence. On reflection, I'd like to be more specific, it was your assumptions about current HE contexts that lacked evidence. I suspect that's what turned off some of your audience (including those of us who think lectures can be overused) - that the picture you painted didn't quite ring true.

Doug Belshaw said...

@Donald (you need some threaded comments on here!)

1. The substance of your argument should suit the time slot, I agree. I walked away from your keynote not actually understanding what your main points were. I think learning objectives may have helped.

2. I'd love some *links* to those things. Have a look at Dave White's presentation from the second day of ALT-C. Now *that's* how to cite as you go along.

3. As I replied to Seb over at my blog, perhaps it's a generational thing. I have no problem at all in engaging with a keynote whilst tweeting heavily. Not that I'd want to, but I reckon I could give your presentation pretty much verbatim.

4. I have no problem with people swearing in everyday speech and when it's appropriate. I'm not sure the opening keynote of ALT-C is the time or the place. It's interesting that you did so increasingly as the audience pointed out the flaws in your arguments.

5. Oh, you didn't respond to this one. :-(

Finally, I want a move away from a tired, staid system as much as anyone. I just don't think that the content or the tone of your keynote helped do that.

Instead of talking about HE, we're talking about you. So not *all* discussion is productive and useful.

Donald Clark said...

Doug – not more comments on 'style'?
1. Learning objectives make no sense to me; old Gagne theory for old-fashioned trainer types.
2. Use Google. Packing slides with text - bad practice. Full transcript is coming out and I'll include links in text.
3. You couldn't recall my presentation verbatim. What exactly did I say in relation to The Media Equation? What project did I say I had worked on in HE in relation to 'avoiding duplication' and with whom? The 'verbatim' claim shows a deep misunderstanding of how memory works and, as a by product, why lectures are a pedagogic plague. Read the research on multi-tasking. I don't, we don't, you don't. It ain't a 'generational' thing.
4. What is it with the swearing thing? I'm a real person, not some clone that has to conform to your rather dated social norms.
5. I did not base my talk only on 'my' experiences of physics lectures. I based my talk on lecture across 2000 years; first physicist (Aristotle), Newton (who read lectures to empty rooms), Feynman (who didn't believe lectures were useful), Mazur (who has alternative model), Lewin (with figures), study on non-attendance at five UK universities, case study from Institute of Theoretical Physics in Trieste etc. Your verbatim recall fails again.

You seem to be obsessed by 'tone' and yet quite happy to be accusative and shrill yourself e.g. I'm the 'dad' trying to impress 'you' the 'hipster'. Much as I admire ALT 'hip' it is not!

Donald Clark said...

Hi Frances
I was criticising lectures as stand-alone entities because I think they are rarely integrated into optimally designed learning experiences for students. However, I did present a rather lengthy case study from Eric Mazur at Harvard, explaining how lectures can be transformed using key questions, feedback and peer instruction, even including a flowchart to explain the process. I also quoted Twigg's research on not fiddling around with courses, but redesigning them.

On 'academics'. I am a huge fan of HE and good research and it has been a crusade of mine to push a more 'evidence' approach in education and training. My arguments are that the pedagogic techniques used in HE do students a disservice. I am not criticising academics, but a deeply embedded pedagogic technique, mostly used in an unquestioned manner by people who are primarily researchers and secondly teachers. I happen to think that the competences are different and roles confused, resulting largely in poor teaching.

I still don't get the 'swearing' thing and find that criticism a bit prissy.

What has been interesting in the aftermath of this talk is the obsession with style and lack of real 'debate'. If I have misrepresented HE in terms of lectures, what portion of lectures do you think are recorded in the UK? Why do students cut out of attending lectures? Who do some people still 'read' out lectures verbatim from notes?

Mazur has a brilliant analysis of this in his talk posted on Seb's Fortnightly Newsletter. He recalls lecturers at Harvard (even Nobel laureate's avoid lectures if they can, relying on anecdote rather than evidence and largely blaming the students for their poor teaching). I have had wide exposure to lectures and academics and while I feel that things are improving, it ain't no sea change.

Doug Belshaw said...


I'm going to disengage at this point as you refuse to link to the evidence backing up your claims, and think that adding a link is 'covering a slide full of text'.

Hopefully they'll let Dave White keynote next year so the world can be shown how it's done properly.

Donald Clark said...

So your famous 'verbatim' memory has failed you! And you sign out with an insult!

You can disengage if you want - I never regarded your patronising comments on style 'engagement' in the first place. Bye.

Frances Bell said...

Thanks for your reply. I was interested in your comment "I think they [lectures] are rarely integrated into optimally designed learning experiences for students". A quick search suggests that although there are reports of how to do lecture-free teaching, detailed information on the breakdown of t/l activities within student experience is not easy to find - good research project? If you have evidence of this I'd be pleased to see it.
I know that effective integration is my goal and that of many of my colleagues.
This article gives an idea of the complexity of the situation regarding student/tutor contact
I know that Rhona Sharpe and others have been doing Learner experience research but I don't know what that has thrown up regarding the place (if any) of lectures in the mix.

Donald Clark said...

Hi Frances
In all areas of education there is strong evidence to suggest that teachers, trainer, lecturers default to 'talking at people'.

Guy Claxton in 'What’s the point of school?' and James Dillon in 'The Practice of Questioning', both quote an interesting study showing that primary and secondary schools children hardly ever ask their own questions. I quoted this study from Bristol University during my talk (it doesn't count as evidence apparently because I only named the source and didn't show the URL (because it's only in print document). The study showed that students volunteered only TWO questions to the teacher’s EIGHTY FOUR!

I suspect it’s even worse in the lecture driven pedagogy in our Universities, where critical thought is certainly thought, but not taught. We have, of course the OU, with 200,000 students and little or no lectures. It is clear, therefore that lectures are not a necessary condition for success. They seem to do well without the format.

Other than that, there doesn't seem to be reliable data on how many lectures are delivered straight, how many recorded, how many with electronic feedback, how many with additional activities. However, I do find it barely credible that lectures delivered straight are a thing of the past. I am convinced on what experience I have gathered that it is still the norm. In fact, many of my academic friends are surprised when I ask the question, as they have never thought that there were any alternatives.

Jerry Bakewell said...

Donald, sorry you inferred I disagreed with you. I don't.

Sue J said...

I didnt attend the conference, I wish I could have. The post comments read like a HE version of an episode of Big Brother, now theres a thought!

The critics seem intent on missing the key message, instead they point score by micro analysis.

I always thought the lecture was designed to be the film preview to the real event of learning. I can honestly say that in most instances,I have seen better designed film previews than I have Lectures.

Rob Alton said...

I’d hardly call it heckling – I thought they were mostly pretty restrained. I listened to most of the ‘talk’ (or was it a lecture?) on elluminate, read the live comments and had the twitter stream up as well and it made for a memorable experience. It would be good if all lectures had these features.

My thoughts and 0.2:

You presented your case very well, but you were a bit light on what to actually do about the current situation. Perhaps you needed to flesh out your point of teaching v. research universities for the future. Maybe also talk about timescales – next 10 years to improve it? 5 years?

Good point about 3rd rate research – there is a lot of it about.

I really had no idea you did these things for free – I presume they paid your bus fare and put you up in a study bedroom.

Swearing – again, a lot of it about these days and yours was not really proper f’ing and blinding. From what I remember you didn’t call anybody a swear word, so no big deal for me at least.

Recording lectures – it’s a very good idea, but it can cost. I used to work for the world’s best university for 4 years in an ed tech role, we offered a cheapish lecture capturing service that was underutilised because of the cost of setup, recording and post production – it ran into hundreds of pounds per lecture and was not scalable. It all depends on your institution - some get tshi stuff free, others have to pay a day rate (often hundreds of pounds).

All in all, you held your position very well. It sounded to me like you were being savaged by an old black Labrador – i.e not much 

Keep up the good work.

Donald Clark said...

Hi Rob
I suppose my aim was to do what it said on the tin - argue for a reassessment of the 'lecture' as the main pedagogic technique in HE. Even after a solid 40 mins of evidence many said it wasn't enough (though few actually commented on the evidence I provided), so trying to provide full alternatives was beyond both scope and allotted time.

However, I did deliberately include a detailed exposition of Eric Mazur's work at Harvard, where lectures in physics are completely redesigned around questions and student responses (3 slides). This included details of how to deal with notes, retention value of note taking, seating recommendations and a flowchart outlining the process. In addition, I pointed towards the OU model as an obvious and well tried alternative.

I was also clear on my belief that not all teaching should be done by researchers or research Universities. I much prefer the US model, where there are many more teaching universities.

Interesting point on recording of lectures. I mentioned the best example I've seen of this at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, with stills every 15 secs and audio. System is dirt cheap and results on student learning astonishing.

I agree on the Labrador comment. What surprised me most was the lack of constructive comment and debate (with some notable exceptions). To be honest I don't see much potential for change within HE and hold out for political change without. A good example was the OU, which would never have come from the system itself. Similarly with UFI, University of Phoenix etc.

Donald Clark said...

Absolutely. The refusal to engage with the key argument was weird. Mazur got it right when he described HE as resorting to anecdote and often just going into the huff when it comes to discussing lectures. "The plural of anecdotes is not data" MAZUR

ctl_alt_del.geek said...

Lovely to see such lively debate as ever! There are interesting contrasts in our house at present - I am doing OU Post-Grad my two eldest are in the throes of 'Proper' University both doing science based things.
I have listened to a single 20 minute pod-cast so far this module with 4 different contributors discussing personal reflections on a single topic to provoke thought. My son was disgusted that I didn't have to go and sit through "3 hours of dogs**t rambling" (a direct quote) but was simply let loose on the materials and asked to blog and discuss with tutor and fellow students.
Int3erestingly, module one of my course discusses ePortfolios - and I was amused to note the quote "100% of faculty adopted ePortfolios, students have [have] not see their value because the faculty have not rethought their courses to accommodate electronic portfolios" (from Batson 2002, The EPortfolio Boom just in case anyone was checking on whether or not I'd done the research.... :-)

Rina said...

Many complicated terms and theories but what I know is Julius Caesar was so much fun when our teacher stormed into the class and started enacting. Suddenly there was pin drop silence n the class and the most rowdiest of the kids were spell bound compare this too kids throwing paper balls, making faces, doodling in copies, kicking under the chairs. This is the usual scenario, so what was different was that the English teacher never delivered a lecture, she presented live, entertaining drama! I agree with you completely, we don't need lectures, we need performers who turn learning into a live and enjoyable experience, which becomes unforgettable. Sadly as you said researchers who don't have a clue are lecturing and sometimes due to blocked forts of academia those who can create learning are not QUALIFIED to do it! The teacher I mentioned was not a qualified teacher! Good that you did it for free, it is worth it when it can trigger change.

Donald Clark said...

Exactly. HE's progress has been patchy and glacial. The lecture is a given, not an option. Why have most Universities ignored the ou model for the last 50 years?

Sue Stapely said...

How I agree with all this, Donald...unless there is dialogue instead of monologue nothing is achieved... keep going... Sue x

Seb Schmoller said...

The video of "Don't Lecture Me" is now at on the ALT YouTube Channel.

Anne Marie Cunningham said...

I've just watched this on YouTube. I think you did an excellent job.
Well done!

Deirdre said...

I'm feeling a little at a lost by your comments about Gagne. We are trying to develop an integrated curriculum over the 4 years of a professional curriculum and objective setting has been a key component of moving profs from discussing whatever they feel like that day towards what do students need to learn at this stage of their development.

What would you do instead?

Donald Clark said...

I support 'objective setting', if done well (few really know much about how to construct good performance objectives), but abhor the practice of placing these on the first slide of a presentation or e-learning course. Learning objectives should be explicit to the teacher but revealed through interesting learning experiences to the learner. Just don't plaster them up at the start of courses. Hope this is clear.

Cath Ellis said...

I've posted my reflections on the twitter responses to two ALT-C keynotes on my blog:

Mike Johnson said...

Thanks for your time and effort Donald but, and you'll not like this but re. swearing. I agree that you're a 'real person, not some clone that has to conform to your rather dated social norms.'
I am not convinced that 'swearing' is in any way 'progressive'. Nor does it evince that you are a real person. I think I'm pretty real and I dont bother with swearing, AKA profane speech. It clearly has a variety of effects, but if that includes distancing people... it spoils and distracts from the message for these people. Or perhaps you've given up trying to win people with those of us with 'rather dated social norms'.
Now for some 'non-style' comment!
With the advent of 'student as customer', students actually require a 'piece of me' as an academic. How do they get that on a programme with 400+ undergrads if the course materials consist largely of last year's recorded lectures and links to open courseware? They get it through regular lectures in huge rooms! And this is certainly not great in my view. However, is your only answer that this model is broken and we all need to adopt the OU method? I am not finding that particularly helpful or realistic.

Donald Clark said...

To be frank, you seem to be almost obsessed with the 'swearing' thing. I'm an adult, not one of your students. Am I interested in speaking like some dull academic or reading straight from notes - no. The way I speak has nothing to with being 'progressive'. I have a strong accent, attitude and sometimes swear. Big deal. As for being 'profane' - don't patronise or lecture me - I'm too old for that crap!

Now to the argument. I did not merely point to the OU as the only alternative. I have spent the whole of my adult life delivering real alternatives in education and training that never include dull, 1 hour lectures. In the talk I gave, I outlined, in detail, the Mazur method, widely adopted in the US as one of many alternatives to lectures. I also explained the importance of recording lectures in terms of the evidence in terms of student performance. I'm fine with lectures, just not the lecture as a core pedagogic technique, delivered by people who can't do it well and refuse to make them available in a recorded medium.

Mike Johnson said...

Thanks for that Donald - my apologies for bothering you - I somehow got the idea that you thought that lectures were _only_ ever 'bad'.
We are without excuse, with so much that can be done to improve practice and the experience of the paying customer.
Thank you again for your time and reply.
Nice quote tho: Donald Clark "I'm fine with lectures" ;)