The special feature in the latest issue of HKU’s Convocation Newsletter (my daughter is an alumnus) showcases a number of e-learning initiatives (e.g., MOOC; Flipped Teaching) at HKU. Two sentences in the opening paragraph of one of the articles caught my attention: “Skipping class is common, lecturers say. Some students feel that a lecture is just a set of presentation slides.”.
Of course, to me, e-learning is not the solution to the question of students skipping class. E-learning should aim to enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning. But if it is true that some students feel that lectures are just sets of PPT slides, then this is cause for alarm for university teachers. Some lecturing is probably unavoidable, but are we paying enough attention to our presentation skills? Are our slides simply lists of bullet points which we read out to students mechanically? What is the purpose of the university lecture?