Dino Spagnoli

ACSME Panel: Are lectures a thing of the past?

Dino Spagnoli

Dr Dino Spagnoli

The University of Western Australia

I taught in the 2nd half of the year as I was on sabbatical during the 1st half of 2020. Therefore, I was not directly thrown into emergency teaching mode for semester 1 2020, when my colleagues had to quickly pivot to an online mode of teaching. We did continue the online teaching for lectures during semester 2, 2020. There were several restrictions put in place on us when we were asked to deliver all content online. We had to deliver lectures and content in an asynchronous format, meaning we had to pre-record all content and upload it on to Blackboard. My approach was to split the lecture into short 10-minute recordings, instead of recording one longer 45–50-minute video. I was very careful to make sure that each video had a slide to let students know what they would learn from this video and also a slide at the end to summarise the content. I felt it important to make sure each video told a complete story, rather than cutting up an old live lecture recording of mine into sections. I was also careful to release the videos in stages throughout the semester, so that it would mimic the delivery of lectures if students could attend class.

My overall feelings about this approach were that it did the job, but I wasn’t happy with it at all. I had no idea if students were understanding the content or if they needed extra clarification at particular points. I do believe that it is really important for staff to have the interactions with students. Therefore, going forward, if there is a real push for online delivery of content there must be extra training and resources provided for staff to be able to engage with students on an online platform. Moreover, additional resources should be provided for staff to facilitate student peer-to-peer learning. I do believe that online community of learners can be a great way for students to learn. However, how we do this does remain a mystery to me.