Students Writing Their Own Lectures with a Wiki and the CSA

Students Writing Their Own Lectures with a Wiki and the CSA

Cath Ellis, Sue Folley
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-380-7.ch015
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This chapter examines why despite decades of research and overwhelming evidence questioning the pedagogical effectiveness of lecturing as a teaching and learning strategy, it remains the dominant pedagogical mode in most higher education institutions worldwide. The authors explore further why lectures are not the most appropriate teaching strategy in the current higher education climate for three main reasons: the way we now view ‘knowledge’; the information society in which we are currently immersed; and the diverse background and experience of today’s student population. The authors offer an alternative to the lecture which can achieve what a lecture aims to, but in a more student-centred way. Their alternative is informed by the contributing student approach, devised by Collis & Moonen (2001), whereby students collaboratively find, explore, share, and engage with the content which they would have otherwise received passively via a didactic lecture.
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For well over 50 years scholarly research has been questioning the effectiveness of lecturing. Despite this, it remains central to University teaching and learning practice. The resilience of lecturing to the ongoing criticism of it has left many scholars baffled and frustrated. As the rather exasperated title of Graham Gibbs’ essay, ‘Twenty Terrible Reasons for Lecturing,’ makes plain, the arguments often put in its defence are rarely edifying, let alone erudite. In his conclusions he says ‘I do believe there is far more lecturing going on than can reasonably be justified’ (Gibbs, 1981, p. 12). In this paper we argue that deposing lecturing as the mainstay of teaching and learning in Higher Education is now more imperative than ever. We suggest, however, that to counter the resilience of lecturing requires a variety of strategic approaches and propose one such approach. This suggests replacing what lecturing should do through the use of a Contributing Student Approach (CSA): effectively having students write their own lectures. We start by examining the lecture itself, and then outline how in an industry characterised by widening participation, in a postmodern and information rich world, it is now obsolete. We then go on to explore why there is still so much lecturing going on and how it might be strategically replaced. We then examine the risks and benefits of using a CSA in combination with a wiki and argue how this compares favourably with lecturing. We end by outlining how the roles of students and academics change with this approach, concluding that it has the potential to bring about widespread institutional change and, ultimately, challenge the ubiquity of lecturing.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Contributing Student Approach: An approach to learning developed by Collis & Moonen (2001)

Wiki: A collaboratively authored, linked, set of web pages

Pedagogy: The principles, practice, or profession of teaching

Web 2.0: Collaborative web tools e.g. wiki, blogs, podcasting

Collaborative Learning: To work together, in a joint intellectual effort.

Teaching Strategy: The methods used to facilitate student learning

Lecture: An exposition of a given subject delivered before an audience or a class, as for the purpose of instruction.

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