A brief history of the lecture and a reflection on its value in present-day classrooms.
Absorbing a long, complex argument is hard work, requiring students to synthesize, organize and react as they listen. In our time, when any reading assignment longer than a Facebook post seems ponderous, students have little experience doing this. Some research suggests that minority and low-income students struggle even more. But if we abandon the lecture format because students may find it difficult, we do them a disservice. Moreover, we capitulate to the worst features of the customer-service mentality that has seeped into the university from the business world. The solution, instead, is to teach those students how to gain all a great lecture course has to give them.
Worthen, Molly. “Lecture Me. Really.” The New York Times. October 17, 2015
Natasha Singer, “Online Test-Takers Feel Anti-Cheating Software’s Uneasy Glare,” New York Times, April 5, 2015.
Once her exam started, Ms. Chao said, a red warning band appeared on the computer screen indicating that Proctortrack was monitoring her computer and recording video of her. To constantly remind her that she was being watched, the program also showed a live image of her in miniature on her screen.
Even for an undergraduate raised in a culture of selfies and Skype, Ms. Chao found the system intrusive. “I felt it was sort of excessive,” she said.
Examining recent efforts by Rutgers University to require virtual proctoring in online courses, the author considers the challenges of technology aimed at impeding academic dishonesty in online class activity. Issues of intrusiveness, cost, and privacy protection are raised, and remain unresolved, as universities struggle to create appropriate practices and policies.