Thursday, February 23, 2006

Why don't we listen to what students are telling us?

I've ranted previously about how Higher Ed is so entrenched in tradition that it is generally slow to change and this appears especially true when we talk about whether Higher Ed is changing as our student population is changing. The examples of reluctance to change in Higher Ed are rampant. One area that has particularly piqued my interest lately is the controversy swirling around putting podcasts of classroom lectures on the Web for students to download.

Faculty near and far are pulling their podcasts off-line because students won't attend their incredibly boring lectures in the classroom if they can listen to the incredibly boring lectures at the time and place of their choosing. Right now there should be the sound of 1,000 voices saying DOH!!

Now I'm not trying to pick a fight with all faculty who stand in front of students and TALK AT them for an hour or more at a time. It has been my experience that about 10% are able to do that rather effectively. So you 10% (and you know who you are) can excuse yourselves from the rest of this rant.

The students are trying to tell you that your lectures are not captivating enough to bring them to class if they have any other alternative. LISTEN TO THEM! Why not let them listen to that material outside the class, and then .......(pay attention, this is KEY)..... do something interesting with your class time. Give them a reason to attend class. Create active learning opportunities for your classroom hours. Give them meaningful, engaging, learning activities and assessment activities in the classroom. If you give them a reason to come, THEY'LL COME!

I'm sure that I offended some readers (if there are any), and I'm sorry....but only to a point. We have to start engaging today's learners or we will lose them altogether.

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