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Are lecture hours an appropriate measure of teaching quality?

17 May 2012

Derek Thomson

An interesting day in the sphere following HEPI’s contention that the ‘failure’ of universities to increase contact lecturing hours in response to the introduction of student fees is, somehow, a failure to offer teaching quality.

It is so disappointing to see this attitude from a think tank that, at one time at least, had a Dearing connection.  It is now widely known that lecturing is the lowest common form of teaching.  Indeed, the fact that universities have not increased lecture hours in the face of fees should be commended as it implies that they actually care about teaching quality.

I suppose, now, the acid test will come.  It seems that new customers about to enter the sector do associate teaching quality with lecture hours, even if this is a horrible mistake.  With the advent of KIS data as a marketing tool next year, I suspect that lectures will be increased, even though it is one of the least effective ways of education.  It delivers content cheaply, but that’s it.

Anyway, here is an interesting article on this in today’s Telegraph, in which their education correspondent shows no understanding of education theory and simply regurgitates HEPI’s press release.  The comments are interesting too: those by students and academics are clearly differentiated.

The Russell Group have issued a great response, which gets to the root of the misconception.

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