On-line instructing’s TikTok pedagogy is main college students a merry dance

We tell our students that a solid attention to detail and evidence are hallmarks of good scientists and collaborators. Qualities should also be the hallmark of policy-making at universities, of all places.

Within such a structure, employees should also be encouraged to provide their experience and expertise in a real consultancy process, rather than stamping long predetermined, cobwebbed management decisions. This applies in particular to teaching and curricula, areas in which university managements rarely have real theoretical and practical know-how.

However, such a consultation is noticeably lacking at some Australian universities, which are taking the breakneck step to abolish face-to-face teaching in the face of the pandemic. Driven by study and teaching groups with excessive power and influence over curricula, there is a risk that the transition to a teaching style driven by TikTok pedagogy will become the norm.

Colleges and universities feel both tempted and threatened by the existence of online teaching systems. In a letter in 2018, Subhash Kak stated that online learning “would close up to half of colleges and universities in the US over the next few decades as distance students receive comparable training over the Internet”. But online delivery was also an excellent opportunity for the budget conscious.

Last year, for example, Curtin University made a proposal to end exams and physical education. The institution’s proposal was to replace each lecture with three 15-minute videos. There are some arguments in favor of breaking up lectures and using some video-based content, but reducing theoretical and content-related topics to such a shortened format is counterproductive. Such a reference to short attention spans inevitably leads to a cheaper product in the truest sense of the word. A humanities scholar, Curtin, who was named for fear of losing his job, summed it up quite aptly in a newspaper report: “The topics we teach cannot be reduced to three points.”

Similar steps were taken at another Western Australian institution, Murdoch University, which promised to have all of its lectures online in 2021 – although “most” of the tutorials should take place in person.

“Even without the impact of Covid-19, this is a contemporary and educational approach that enhances students’ flexible access to learning and aligns with our technology-enabled learning strategy,” said Kylie Readman, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Education and Justice.

Although Tasmania is relatively unaffected by the pandemic, the University of Tasmania announced in November that it would also be giving up face-to-face lectures as the students made it clear that “small groups on campus” activities like workshops, according to its academic director, Mitch Parsell , Tutorials, internships and seminars ”value them“ most ”.

The University of the Sunshine Coast has also “taken into account student feedback and will offer more contemporary and flexible approaches to learning”. In other words, all lectures, in person or online, are being phased out in favor of tutorials, podcasts and quizzes.

But what about the evidence to the contrary? Student response to online learning has been mixed to say the least. After polling 118 higher education providers in the first half of 2020, the Agency for Quality and Standards in Tertiary Education found that between 33 and 50 percent of respondents “stated that they did not like the online learning experience and would never want to “. Relive. ”Students also noted embarrassment using their video in online classes, IT issues (41 percent), lack of academic interaction (34 percent), and lack of engagement (29 percent).

Concerns were also raised by University of Tasmania Student Association President-elect Sophie Crothers. Describing their experience in their fourth year at university, Crothers noted the unsettling nature of suddenly “seeing no one” with new students who couldn’t make new friends and who didn’t know who they were studying with. She also noted that it can take a lot longer for students to work through online lectures because academics “don’t have to worry as much about how they convey the content”.

The critics who claim that attending lectures in person is not the be-all and end-all of university experience are in some ways right. Stumbling into an 8 o’clock lecture given by a stereotypically decrepit, barely audible professor who has slumped over a book of his or her authorship and is unable to consciously beyond the lectern is not recommended to become.

But much intellectual pouring takes place outside the stale confines of the classroom, where the intellectual seeds are sown first. The online experience is pipeline education of a different and altogether impoverished kind. It blocks the human connections between students that allow the flow of ideas. And it won’t be long before the cracks become impossible even for college managers to ignore.

Binoy Kampmark is Senior Lecturer at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne.

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