In the digital age, is the lecture dead?
by Roberta Nicora

It’s interesting to see that many universities are taking a different approach to teaching and the University of Adelaide is taking the bold step of replacing live lectures with video learning material. There is the obvious advantage of flexibility, allowing students to engage with the lecture at a time and place that suits them. It also means that the university isn’t restricted by the physical limitations of lecture theatres and scheduling conflicts which could help reduce costs in the long run.

However, the students still have to engage with the lecture content and I can see some potential issues that will need to be overcome.

Will creating recordings save academics time? I assume that the preparation time will remain the same but will the creation of the video footage take longer than a traditional lecture? It is possible that more than 60 minutes worth of content would be required to be edited into the final product. Another consideration is how to keep the content current? In some subjects you need to be aware of the latest examples and research to reference in course work, which would mean that for many subjects, recording new material is required each year to stay current.

Of course it may be that only the basic learning concepts will be covered in the video and the theories will be fully explored in the small group environment, which I can see being very successful.

As the university begins to invest in the creation of content for a fully online setting or as part of a blended approach, I wonder if they have given enough thought to using existing content and platforms in a way that works for them. There is a wealth of content available from multiple sources, including textbooks, so why recreate the content? If they were using the Kortext digital learning platform, the university could create groups and encourage the academics to share their views on the content via our note sharing feature. Saving money from eContent creation would allow the university to provide students with a core etextbook for each of their modules and possibly attract more students because the core reading material is provided. There are many opportunities to use existing content and platforms that haven’t been explored yet, and as higher education moves further into blended learning there will no doubt be multiple variations on this theme and it will be interesting to see the results of this approach in the years ahead.