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Subject:

[Net-Gold] Fortieth Anniversary of Donald Bligh's "What's the Use of Lectures?"

From:

"David P. Dillard" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

To support research in sports medicine <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 30 Oct 2011 11:28:57 -0400

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (412 lines)

.

.

Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2011 20:27:25 -0700
From: Richard Hake <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [Net-Gold] Fortieth Anniversary of Donald Bligh's
     "What's the use of Lectures?"

.

.

If you reply to this long (17 kB) post please don't hit the reply
button unless you prune the copy of this post that may appear in your
reply down to a few relevant lines, otherwise the entire already
archived post may be needlessly resent to subscribers.

.

.

**************************************************

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ABSTRACT: Philosopher George MacDonald Ross <http://bit.ly/w167Iu>
posted a link <http://bit.ly/rsHEFd> to his essay "What's the Use of
Lectures? - Forty Years On." Ross' wrote [bracketed by lines "RRRRR.
. . . . ":

.

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

.

It is 40 years since the first publication of Donald Bligh's classic
work 'What's the Use of Lectures?' (London, Bligh, 1971). It was a
devastating critique, based on thorough empirical research, of the
use of the lecture as the main method of teaching in higher
education. It had been established that the only educational function
lectures were capable of achieving was the transmission of factual
information, and even then they were no better than other methods,
and lecturers wildly overestimated the amount of information students
were capable of remembering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

.

Among educationalists, it is established orthodoxy that lecturing is
the least effective way of transmitting knowledge, understanding, and
intellectual techniques from teachers to students; and it is a
striking measure of the marginalisation of educational researchers
and developers that, on this issue at least, they have had virtually
no influence on institutional structures or academic practice. . . .

.

The idea of a university which replaces listening to the reading of a
text in a lecture by the reading of the text in printed form is known
as a 'post-Gutenberg University' - an idea first mooted by Frank
Lambert in the 1950s: <http://bit.ly/rvZB2f>. It is long overdue, and
one of the tragedies of current university education is that we have
abandoned the disputation, which really did force students to think
independently and imaginatively, and retained the lecture, which has
been redundant for half a millennium."

.

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

.

STLHE-L's Martin Rosenzweig (2011) responded (slightly edited):

.

"I would suggest that lecturing persists because:

a. it is 'cost-effective' - one lecturer serving many (paying) auditors,

b. it is how most lecturers were 'taught', a case of 'monkey see, monkey do',

c. teaching at the vast majority of major universities is unrewarded
or under-rewarded activity.
In the USA, the persistence of lectures has led to higher education's
being "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses"
(Arum & Roksa, 2011).

.

**************************************************

.

Monica Vesely (2011) initiated a thread (4 posts as of 29 Oct 2011
11:22-0700) on the STLHE-L Oct archives <http://bit.ly/rPoF3j> with
a post "Some fundamental questions." Paola Borin (2011) responded
[bracketed by lines "BBBBB. . . ."; my inserts as ". . . .
[[insert]]. . . . .":

.

BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB

.

In answer to the question. . . .[[posed by Vesely (2011)]]. . . .
about student attention:

.

'3. Instead of spending three or four hours in a row in the same
room, is it preferable to move to a different room after a period of
time? '

.

One place to look is the book by Donald Bligh in "What's the use of
Lectures?". . . . . .[[Bligh, 1998)]]. . . . . Quite a long time ago,
Bligh looked at student attention over the duration of the class.
Some very interesting work. See chapter 5, "Factors affecting student
attention." One of my favourite books. Hopefully this link to Google
books will work and give you a preview <http://bit.ly/vxUJSm>.

.

BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB

.

This set the stage for George MacDonald Ross' (2011) to call
attention to his insightful essay "What's the Use of Lectures? -
Forty Years On." In his STLHE-L post "Re: Some fundamental
questions," Ross wrote:

.

"Members of the list might be interested in an article I have written
commemorating the 40th anniversary of the publication of Donald
Bligh's book. You can download it . . . .[[as 41 kB MS Word document
at <http://bit.ly/rsHEFd>.]]. . . . . ."

.

In that article Ross' wrote [bracketed by lines "RRRRR. . . . . "

.

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

.

It is 40 years since the first publication of Donald Bligh's classic
work 'What's the Use of Lectures?' (London, Bligh, 1971). It was a
devastating critique, based on thorough empirical research, of the
use of the lecture as the main method of teaching in higher
education. It had been established that the only educational function
lectures were capable of achieving was the transmission of factual
information, and even then they were no better than other methods,
and lecturers wildly overestimated the amount of information students
were capable of remembering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Among educationalists, it is established orthodoxy that. . . .
.[[passive-student]]. . . . lecturing is the least effective way of
transmitting knowledge, understanding, and intellectual techniques
from teachers to students; and it is a striking measure of the
marginalisation of educational researchers and developers that, on
this issue at least, they have had virtually no influence on
institutional structures or academic practice. . . . . . . . . . . .

.

The idea of a university which replaces listening to the reading of a
text in a lecture by the reading of the text in printed form is known
as a 'post-Gutenberg University' - an idea first mooted by Frank
Lambert (1963). It is long overdue, and one of the tragedies of
current university education is that we have abandoned the
disputation, which really did force students to think independently
and imaginatively, and retained the lecture, which has been redundant
for half a millennium."

.

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

.

To which Martin Rosenzweig (2011) responded:


"I would suggest that lecturing persists because:

i) it is cost-effective - one lecturer many (paying) auditors.

ii) it is how most lecturers were 'taught', a case of 'monkey see, monkey do'.

iii) teaching at the vast majority of major universities is
unrewarded or under-rewarded activity.

.

This is why a recent study here (USA). . . . .[["Academically Adrift: 
Limited Learning on College Campuses" (Arum & Roksa, 2011)]]. . . . . . 
.has shown that students acquire little education for their years spent at 
undergraduate institutions."

Regarding "iii. teaching at the vast majority of major universities
is unrewarded or under-rewarded activity" see "Changing the Culture
of Science Education at Research Universities" (Anderson et al.
(2011) at <http://bit.ly/eSLoCl>.

.

.

.


Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the
Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)
<[log in to unmask]>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~sdi>
<http://HakesEdStuff.blogspot.com>
<http://iub.academia.edu/RichardHake>

.

.

,


REFERENCES [All URL's shortened by <http://bit.ly/> and accessed on
29 Oct 2011.]

.

.

.

Anderson, W.A., U. Banerjee, C.L. Drennan, S.C.R. Elgin, I.R.
Epstein, J. Handelsman, G.F. Hatfull, R. Losick, D.K. O'Dowd, B.M.
Olivera, S.A. Strobel, G.C. Walker, I.M. Warner. 2011. "Changing the
Culture of Science Education at Research Universities: Universities
must better recognize, reward, and support the efforts of researchers
who are also excellent and dedicated teachers," "Science", 14
January, 331(6014): 152-153: online as a 172 kB pdf at
<http://bit.ly/eSLoCl>. See also Hake (2011b).

.

Arum, R. & J. Roksa. 2011. "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on
College Campuses." University of Chicago Press, publisher's
information, including a synopsis and bio, are online at
<http://bit.ly/gPYBHj>. Amazon.com information at
<http://amzn.to/f1f45O>. See also Hake (2011b).

.

Bligh, D.A. 1998. "What's the Use of Lectures," 5th Edition from
Intellect Books, publishers information at <http://bit.ly/w08hmR>.
[The 1st edition evidently was evidently published in 1971]. An
expurgated Google book preview of Bligh (1998) is online at
<http://bit.ly/uu7BV3>. See also Bligh (1999, 2000a,b). For
references to some of Bligh's work see Hake (2003; 2010b). In Hake
(2010b) I reference the work of active-learning pioneer Lewis Elton
(2004) <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Elton>.

.

Bligh, D.A. 1999. "Understanding Higher Education." Intellect Books,
publishers information at <http://bit.ly/tpdQ6S>.

.

Bligh D.A. 2000a. "What's the Use of Lectures." Jossey-Bass.
Amazon.com information at <http://amzn.to/uRo4zv>. Note the
searchable "Look Inside" feature. CAUTION!! According to Bligh [as
quoted in Hake (2003)] this U.S. Jossey-Bass edition is a severely
eviscerated version of the British Intellect Books edition [Bligh
(1998)]. Evidently all U.S. editions after 1998 have been or will be
similarly degraded, presumably in order to increase sales to the
primarily non-scientific educational establishment within the U.S.

.

Bligh, D.A. 2000b. "What is the Point in Discussion?" Intellect
Books, publisher's information at <http://bit.ly/vxsM0F>.

.

Borin, P. 2011. "Re: Some fundamental questions," online on the
OPEN! STLHE-L archives at <http://bit.ly/upfglZ>. 25 Oct 2011
12:43:20-0400 to STLHE-L.

.

Elton, L. 2004. "Could undergraduate physics teaching be better?" The
Pantaneto Forum, Issue 16, October, online at
<http://bit.ly/vmp8Ja>.

.

Hake, R.R. 2003. "Re: Should Education Research Be Like Medical
Research?" online on the OPEN! POD archives at
<http://bit.ly/u0MgSz>. Post of 4 Dec 2003 20:40:51-0800 to EvalTalk,
Math-Learn, PhysLrnR, and POD.

.

Hake, R.R. 2010a. "Re: Confessions of a Converted Lecturer," online
on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at <http://bit.ly/juDixO>. Post of 16
March 2010 to various discussion lists and is also
online on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at <http://bit.ly/gXmkaT> with a
provision for comments.

.

Hake, R.R. 2010b. "Re: Confessions of a Converted Lecturer #5,"
online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at <http://bit.ly/ceFFrz>. Post
of 21 Mar 2010 11:35:39-0700 to AERA-L, Net-Gold, and PBL. The
abstract and link to the complete post were transmitted to several
discussion lists and are on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff at
<http://bit.ly/cCOEJ8> with a provision for comments. See also Hake
(2010a).

.

Hake, R.R. 2011a. Invited talk, "Should the Culture of University
Science Education Be Changed" Southern California Section of the
AAPT, 14 May 2011, Pierce College, Woodland Hills, CA; online as a
3.2 MB pdf at <http://bit.ly/iegznz> and as reference #63 at
<http://bit.ly/b2UsK6>. The abstract and link to the complete post
are on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at <http://bit.ly/lCyN97> with a
provision for comments.

.

Hake, R.R. 2011b. "Academically Adrift?" online on the OPEN! AERA-L
archives at <http://bit.ly/gwJD0W>. Post of 29 Jan 2011 10:00:09-0800
to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post
were transmitted to various discussion lists are also online on my
blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at <http://bit.ly/hVYzHI> with a provision for
comments.

.

Lambert, F. 1963. "My discovery of the Gutenberg Method, " Journal of
Chemical Education 40: 173-174; online at <http://bit.ly/hLMElH>,
scroll down about half-way to the end. The first part of
<http://bit.ly/hLMElH> is the hilarious classic "The Lecture System
in Teaching Science by the late Robert T. Morrison
<http://bit.ly/v45YhY> who wrote "Frank [Lambert] became my guru. I
still mentally bow toward the west when this subject comes up."

.

Ross, G.M. 2005. "How I Teach Kant", online as a 98 kB MS Word
document at <http://bit.ly/uZ9K2o>.

.

Ross, G.M. 2011a. "Re: Some fundamental questions," online on the
OPEN! STLHE-L archives at <http://bit.ly/rsySIF>. Post of 27 Oct 2011
18:15:28 +0100 to STLHE-L.

.

Ross, G.M. 2011b. "What's the Use of Lectures? - Forty Years On,"
online as a 41 kB MS Word document at <http://bit.ly/rsHEFd>. The
first two sentences are: "It is 40 years since the first publication
of Donald Bligh's classic work 'What's the Use of Lectures?' (London,
Bligh, 1971). It was a devastating critique, based on thorough
empirical research, of the use of the lecture as the main method of
teaching in higher education. It had been established that the only
educational function lectures were capable of achieving was the
transmission of factual information, and even then they were no
better than other methods, and lecturers wildly overestimated the
amount of information students were capable of remembering."

.

Ross, G.M. 2011c. "PS on lectures," online on the OPEN! STLHE-L
archives at <http://bit.ly/sqCHZQ>. Post of 28 Oct 2011 09:45:46
+0100 to STLHE-L. Here Ross indicates that his teaching methods are
set forth in "How I Teach Kant" [Ross (2005)].

.

Rosenzweig, M. 2011. "Re: PS on lectures" online on the OPEN! :-)
STLHE-L archives at <http://bit.ly/ujjbDm>. Post of 28 Oct 2011
08:31:52-0400 to STLHE-L.

.

Vesely, M. 2011. "Some fundamental questions," online on the OPEN!
:-)STLHE-L archives at <http://bit.ly/rTXFWC>. 25 Oct 2011 16:15:21
+0000 to STLHE-L.

.

.

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