Internet unseats lecture theatres
The vice-chancellor of WA’s biggest university says traditional lectures are a thing of the past as technology revolutionises the way students learn.
Deborah Terry, from Curtin University, said the Bentley institution would not build another lecture theatre because it made more sense for students to watch or listen to lectures online.
The comments from Professor Terry came at a lecture — to celebrate the works of famed engineer C. Y. O’Connor — where she faced questions about whether technology was undermining higher education through cheap online courses.
Professor Terry said that while she had “moments of pessimism” she felt universities would always be able to offer students experiences and services they could not get from the internet.
However, she said these services did not include lectures delivered in big theatres — a cornerstone of the university experience for hundreds of years.
According to Professor Terry, it made just as much, if not more, sense for students to watch their lectures on a computer away from the distraction of hundreds of other people.
“We won’t build another lecture theatre because lectures are a thing of the past, ” she said.
“What we will do is build the rooms in which students can interact and engage with each other and work on projects and learn through doing.”
With more than 30,000 students enrolled at Curtin, Professor Terry said it was imperative the university offered “face-to-face” experiences that could not be replicated online.
© The West Australian