College students surveyed in Britain reveal boredom is rampant in their classes, and they reveal further that Power Point lectures are the dullest of teaching methods in their classrooms. They give low points, as well, to other computer-assisted class activities. Jeff R. Young writes about how to combat this effect in his article in the July 24th edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
All this doesn’t mean technology should be removed from the classroom but that it should be used more effectively. Now that information can be so easily transmitted by technology, there is more to do in the classroom. Jose A. Bowen of Southern Methodist University suggests students be given access to lecture information BEFORE they go to class. Then professors are free to open their classrooms to “practical sessions” and discussion which engages students in more creative ways over problem solving and application.
This seems to be the next challenge for teaching at the college level. If technology can deliver information so easily now by giving access to lectures online and “libraries of information on the Web,” how can the college classroom engage students and still offer a valuable service? If classrooms can not compete, students will overwhelmingly go for more online and cheaper education programs. There is another catch, though. Students who are used to passive education are resistant to this challenge of more active classrooms, too. They want to be spoon-fed material and not have to read on their own or think in class.
We hope we can all look forward to some different routes to college education so students can experience more for their money on college campuses.