Embracing Tech in the Lectures and the Role of Lecturers

My take on what ‘lectures’ should be like

In the previous blog, I talked about a lecturer who uses polling in the lectures to engage the students. While there are educators who use some digital tools to enhance their way of teaching, there are several others who are reluctant to use technology in their classes. So, what’s my take on this?

In the last few years, we have started spending more time on our devices than ever before. This has become part of our behaviour. Asking someone to not touch their devices for a duration of a few hours might seem ok to some educators; doing so, however, may make you come across as a control freak. Forcing someone to do this in a lecture hall maybe even impractical. I have come across lecturers who try to do this but only end up being judged by the students. In a world where technology is everything, educators need to embrace it and be at its forefront. So, from a student’s perspective, how could that be achieved?

Most of the topics that need to be covered can be looked up online or read from resources provided to the students on Learning Management Systems like Moodle. You can deliver only so much in an hour or two. So, the content being delivered is either very concise or just enough for students to work on a certain part of the assignment.

Imagine this: instead of paying your college tuition, you pay a small fee for every lecture that you attend. These lectures would likely include content that is available online (maybe on YouTube or Lynda) for free. Knowing this, would you attend the lectures?

I would like to see lectures transformed into more of a discussion, using technology as an aid. This would require a change in the attitude of both the educators and the students. ‘Lectures halls’ are spaces where students with a common objective of learning come together. They have a huge untapped potential to collaborate and discuss. People comfortable with expressing opinions could speak up while the shy ones could use technology to assist them; they could use messaging to communicate their views. The ‘lecturer’ could be an initiator or a moderator. At the end of the discussion, students could take a brief test or just summarise the discussion. The ‘lecturer’ could briefly explain or clarify certain points to the students. Student participation and other analytics could be measured using AI or other methods so that the ‘lecturer’ isn’t burdened with trivial tasks. Every once in a while, the lecturer could push certain resources to the students so that they can learn more about a topic if they wish to.

Traditional Lectures

Rethinking the Role of ‘Lecturers’

The reality is that online courses have gained popularity and their market will continue to grow in the coming years. Universities should see this as an opportunity to test and implement more human-centric ways of education delivery. In the current method of knowledge delivery aka ‘lectures’, we can introduce tools and, in a way, retrofit to make them more engaging. In the long run, however, rethinking the role of educators might be more helpful. I have been looking at ‘Heutagogy’ and the role of educators in such a system. In a future blog, I’ll talk about this topic and discuss its advantages in a tech-driven era.

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