The death of lectures

The death of lectures

: Lectures (and books and shows and other one-way sharing) are OK if you have something to say. But when you don’t, they are torture, all the more so now that we are spoiled by the ability to control and create, whether in weblogs or in Bloggercon-style conversations. Boy has the last two days been the demonstration of that: Yesterday was front-to-back dull; today was a compelling conversation. No fault of yesterday; it was just yesterday, metaphorically, too. Susan Crawford says this isn’t just about conferences. It’s about classrooms, too.

  • I agree.
    Though I have a passion for the format of speeches and lectures, as you say, they are torture when you, or worse, the lecturer, are not interested.
    The internet, I expect, will play an important role in this “death of the lecture” in bringing video lectures on demand.
    Whats really happening is is the “death of time and space.”

  • Michael

    The “death of time and space” has been declared with the invention of the railroad, the telegraph, the communications satellite, and now the Internet and blogging. How many more times can it die?

  • button

    Some time ago, Xeni Jardin adminstrated a blogging conference on the West Coast and somehow arranged for us to get an audio feed. I listened to the whole thing while I was in NJ and marvelled at how she pulled it off.
    I wish the next Berkman Global Voices Confer would be held earlier in the year when it is warmer in Boston. And I wish they’d talk to Xeni about how to broadcast the confer like she did.

  • I find 99% of all lectures excruciating. I find just sitting in a classroom excruciating most of the time in fact.
    And I’ve worked as a professional trainer and am told I give wonderful lectures. Funny, I can give them much better than I can sit through them.

  • I am the biggest critic of education. (Visit my blog if you don’t believe me.) But before we start throwing the baby out with the bathwater, comparing a conference to a classroom is a bad comparison. I hate to admit it, but there is a boatload of data that–particularly for poor and minority kids in lousy neighborhood–direct instruction (ie. the lecture) works very, very well.
    Maybe for our precious, affluent, techno-savvy kids we can have all that nifty, progressive, hands on nonsense. But for the kids who really need to learn the basics, it’s a bad way to teach.
    So let’s just say that conferences are boring if it’s lecturing, and classrooms are effective if there is good teaching.

  • The problem isn’t the lecturers or the panelists– hey, we can’t demand perfection all the time. The problem of having experts with a large audience is the quality of questions brought forth. And here’s an idea I have which leverages the back-channel to encourage the best questions to be asked. (I posted this to Susan’s blog post as well.)
    Jon