If not lecturing, then what?

I have posted several articles about lecturing, lecture theatres, information abundance – all of which have a common thread. Given the changes that are happening all around us, how can we (HE) adapt to maintain our purpose.

Keith Hampson writes about Christensen’s disruptive innovations, attempting to bring precision to the concept. I prefer to keep the concept loose, and look at the disruptive innovation we are facing in HE as being the move from information scarcity to information abundance. in the face of a complete shift in the foundation upon which we are built, what do we do now?

In my earlier post on information abundance, I stated that I thought we need to focus on teaching and assessing higher cognitive and academic skills wrapped around some content that will engage students.

I have been teaching my Science of Education module for a couple of years now based on a philosophy of information abundance, and maximal engagement (using evidence based practise). The results have brilliant (from both my own, and the students point of view – click to read their unabridged comments).

The ideas I have drawn from in order to develop my teaching according to my understanding of information abundance rely on a presentation given by Peter Nicholson back in 2009 (a couple of decades ago by online standards – but still great). I have expanded his three principles to five, and adapted them to fit.

The principles underlying the design of my teaching are 1) the ubiquitous nature of information today, 2) the change in the perception of knowledge today from there being a “stock” of knowledge to there being a “flow” of knowledge, 3) the emergence of crowd-sourcing as a source of expertise, 4) the change in emphasis from content to skills (especially higher thinking skills), and 5) the importance of academic reputation and academic expertise in the accreditation and recognition of formal learning.

This, in combination with utilising the research outlining how to engage adult students in a learning environment (see Jones’ MUSIC model of engagement), has led to a highly successful method of teaching that is leading to a new post-graduate programme based entirely on my philosophies.

We’ll have to see how well it works out, but if it is half as successful as the single undergraduate module, it will be immensely popular, and will be available as a residential, online, or blended learning experience.


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