Veni video vici

Western Australia’s Curtin University plans to abolish all face-to-face lectures and replace them with three 15-minute videos a week by the end of next year.

A draft proposal to redefine the way the university teaches its 50,000-plus students also says that no more exams will be held after mid-next year, except in special circumstances, and undergraduate units can have no more than three assessments.

 
The concerned academics interviewed for the report spoke anonymously for fear of being sacked. I have limited sympathy for them. “This is removing the students’ choice,” complained one. Back in the good old fat old days, academics weren’t noisily concerned about the erosion of intellectual “choice” on campus, nor did they protest about the painfully obvious decline of admission and assessment standards. Life came at them fast in 2020. If universities had never founded entire schools that are worthless, become crèches for undecided school-leavers and whores for Chinese money, they would be resilient bastions of learning today rather than everything-must-go impresarios of the rugs being pulled out from under them.

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36 Responses to Veni video vici

  1. notafan says:

    Hear hear

  2. H B Bear says:

    Beginning of the end. If you are not turning up (and why would you?) why not just log on to Oxford or somewhere with the best on-line lectures? Bit of a problem if you are sitting on tens of millions of dollars in land and buildings.

  3. Roger W says:

    Would it be reasonable to suggest that Curtin still calling itself a university would be a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act?
    Could students sue for misleading and deceptive conduct or misrepresentation?
    One definition I found was as follows:

    “Pre-contractual misrepresentations may provide contractual remedies at common law or statutory remedies pursuant to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (previously the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth)). The latter is more commonly used as it operates in a wider range of circumstances and generally provides better remedies.

    Misleading or deceptive conduct (statutory prohibition)
    The statutory prohibition of misleading and deceptive conduct can now be found in s 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (contained in schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) (previously the provision was s 52 of the Trade Practices Act and much of the case law – as well as many practitioners – will still refer to ‘s 52). Section 18 provides:

    18 Misleading or deceptive conduct
    (1) A person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.

    The reference to ‘trade or commerce’ excludes purely private sales but captures most commercial activity. Where a breach of section 18 is established a range of remedies are available including damages and contractual avoidance or variation.”

  4. H B Bear says:

    Hard to see not whoring themselves as part of the population Ponzi would have made much difference. In person experience may have been a bit better and not sitting in a lecture theatre aisle of some 101 subject trying to take notes on your knees before going to a group exercise meeting with half a dozen people who can’t even speak English. OK maybe it would.

  5. JohnJJJ says:

    But, but … how will the Oz University be a pathway to visas? Perhaps just offer that online. Pay the $100K and get a visa/citizenship. Have it as a button on the Uni webite.

  6. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Very interesting – strictly class attendance is mandatory for international students. Of course, uni’s don’t take roll (it is impractical in large classes – BUT I can imagine very simple technological solutions to this problem) so this is honoured in the breach and successful study is taken as a proxy for class attendance.

    But last year (2019) my employer started asking all students if they intended to attend class or not for room allocation purposes. To be fair – this is a practical solution to the problem that very large lecture spaces end up having a handful of students in them.

    I suggested to the relevant authority in my own school that we were acting inappropriately by asking international students if they intended attending class given their visa requirements.

    Now this year Covid has made class attendance impossible – but how does Curtin intend to assure the government that its international students are compliant with their visa obligations.

  7. j.arimathea says:

    That last sentence is worth framing. Bravo.

  8. Infidel Tiger says:

    All universities should be closed.

    Pointless wastes of money.

  9. H B Bear says:

    Snic bells the cat (at the Cat).

  10. H B Bear says:

    Now you can do your “lectures” on an iPad while waiting for the Uber Eats pickup. Damn now the burgers will be even more cold.

  11. Leigh Lowe says:

    But last year (2019) my employer started asking all students if they intended to attend class or not for room allocation purposes. 

    High demand for tickets to Economics lectures?

  12. rickw says:

    Education by correspondence used to be the norm for all manner of degrees and qualifications.

    People would get a job and then complete their education either after hours or on an allocation of company time.

    This approach turned out some of the best engineers, technicians and specialists the world has ever seen.

    We should use technology to get back to this gold standard approach to education!

  13. miltonf says:

    On line and on the job should be the way of the future plus a rigorous high school curriculum.

  14. PaulW says:

    45 minutes of lectures a week. That is all they have to do.

    And how much does it end up costing each student for that 45 minutes

  15. Gyro Cadiz says:

    Hmmm… which violin to use to play a sad song for these Chicom selloutsn and illiberal know-jockeys?

    The Nano violin looks far too large… so does my Pico violin.

    What about the Femto violin? It’s the radius of a proton? Nope, still too large.

    … so’re the Atto and Zepto violins….

    OK, don’t use the Yocto violin much, but here goes!

  16. Angus Black says:

    C’mon Currencylad, don’t hold back now. Tell us what you really think.

  17. Angus Black says:

    To be fair, it’s never been entirely clear to me what students gain, in the vast majority of courses, beyond that offered by a conscientious reading of the textbooks, a browse through the recommended reading, and a serious attempt at a selection of the exercises in the main text(s).

    What product do universities actually offer undergrads? Is it really limited to pseudo-certification?

  18. win says:

    Nursing on the ward and on line. Queensland university nursing training is criminal .They take the m oney and do not give the students a comprehensive all inclusive hospital ward experience. I know 2 wo worked in aged care to pay their fees only to put in aged care as work experience. Ever wonder why intensive care and hospital wards are staffed by people with English as a second language.

  19. Terry says:

    Are we meant to be sympathetic to the self-inflicted plight of faux Intellectuals flogging pseud0-credentials under the guise of knowledge and skills?.

  20. BM says:

    “Now this year Covid has made class attendance impossible…” (Sinc)

    No, you’re conceding to the Left with this statement. It was the overblown, tyrannical response by (predominantly State) Governments that made class attendance impossible.

    Covid is just a virus that would barely affect the overwhelming majority of the student population, even were they to catch it.

  21. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Western Australia’s Curtin University plans to abolish all face-to-face lectures and replace them with three 15-minute videos a week by the end of next year.

    I’m amused that they’ve decided that university students have a 15 minute attention span.

    An enormous 45 minutes of teaching per week for a 30 week year is so going to prepare our finest for their awesome performance in government. I wonder what the tradies doing 70 hour weeks think about these people?

  22. Angus Black says:

    @Sinc

    Now this year Covid has made class attendance impossible – but how does Curtin intend to assure the government that its international students are compliant with their visa obligations.

    If Curtin thinks Australian students don’t need to attend, on what basis would international students need to attend?

    If international students don’t need to attend, on what basis would it be necessary to do their non-attendance in Australia rather than back home?

  23. Sinclair Davidson says:

    What product do universities actually offer undergrads? Is it really limited to pseudo-certification?

    Mostly, yes.

  24. Sinclair Davidson says:

    If Curtin thinks Australian students don’t need to attend, on what basis would international students need to attend?

    International students are bound, in theory, by their visas.

    If international students don’t need to attend, on what basis would it be necessary to do their non-attendance in Australia rather than back home?

    Indeed.

  25. Tintarella di Luna says:

    So they’re drawing the curtains on Curtin. Such a shame.

  26. Frank says:

    What product do universities actually offer undergrads? Is it really limited to pseudo-certification?

    Tutorials. You get to work out the problems yourself with someone that knows what is going on to help when you get stuck. Important for STEM.

    It takes guts to charge people money for three 15 minute videos a week.

  27. Frank says:

    three 15-minute videos a week

    At some point in a decade or so we will be at the mercy of engineers and doctors that have gone through this. Avoiding illness and elevators/planes/cars/buildings/etc is probably the best strategy.

  28. DavidH says:

    Forty-five minutes of lectures per week! I’ve been studying off-campus with UNE for the past 4 years and there hasn’t been one subject where there was less than 2 x 1 hour lectures each week, mostly plus at least 1 x 1 hour tutorial session. (Actually, this year, the Zoom tuts have been quite good, as I have been able to join in, as opposed to watching a replay the on-campus students’ session.) At least half the subjects had mandatory “intensive school” requirements, where online students had to get to Armidale for labs, field trips, etc for 4 or more days, which took the place of further teacher-student time that on-campus students were doing weekly. The notion that a university can offer as little as 45 minutes of “effort” per week to students is laughable.

    As for online exams, I did one in trimester 2. I have to say, not a fan. A lot of prep and anxiety goes into setting up for it : clear the desk and surroundings, minimum lighting requirements apply (I had to have the hot sun streaming in before the app was happy), make sure you have good connectivity, download the computer mirroring and control app (each time), wait for a proctor to become available and to open your online exam, can’t leave the room (no toilet breaks allowed). Back in the day, you’d just enter the exam hall and sit quietly with your thoughts until time ticked over and you could start. You only had to worry about the course content you had to remember, not all the other stuff that an online exam demands of you.

  29. H B Bear says:

    Maybe it will go back to being WAIT and try and re-gain some credibility as a technical college? Couldn’t hurt. May not be as profitable or support as many six figure admin staff.

  30. Suburban Boy says:

    Spot on, C.L.

  31. Robbo says:

    It is not all that newsworthy to read that Western Australia is dumbing down it’s major University. What it means is that the Curtin University will now truly reflect the intellectual lows that permeate the State.

  32. A Lurker says:

    @ David.H

    My UNE experience was the same as yours, only I did examinations at a regional examination centre.

    15 minute lectures? Wow, most online lectures I did were an hour each, with some going onto almost two hours. Usually three lectures a week (full time study) plus readings of texts and articles, expected Moodle participation by all students, essays, assessed quizzes and exams.

    I graduated with a 6.2 gpa.

    I realise BAs aren’t worth much nowadays, but the ones that will come out of Curtin University will worse than useless.

  33. Entropy says:

    Curtin hasn’t been a good uni for years. But UNE has gone downhill a fair bit too. No one wants the work involved in a four year rural science degree.
    And don’t get me started in that woke international student farm Griffith. It is in a world of pain, and thoroughly deserved.

  34. Entropy says:

    You just know the feds will bail all these basket cases out. Too many mates and future post politics jobs involved. I expect an announcement of massive grants soon, and maybe even a massive restructure of the way R&D funding is made. For example, farmer R&D levies belonga the government which will decide how they are used, not the farmer run RDCs.

  35. Squirrel says:

    Sounds like bad news for student accommodation slumlords and businesses on/near campus.

    Purveyors of the sorts of real estate which is a favoured parking place for funds from overseas students with “well connected” families might need a bit of fancy footwork to deal with this.

  36. DavidH says:

    UNE has gone downhill a fair bit too. No one wants the work involved in a four year rural science degree.

    There were over 100 students in this year’s trimester 2 Soil Science unit, many (I gathered from the Zoom tutorials) doing agriculture courses, from farming families and they all seemed motivated. Me I was doing it as a prescribed unit for my Geology degree (*), but I did it because of talking to a young Ag student in the White Bull in Armidale who talked up the soil unit – he was doing his last 5 units of his degree that term. I do know that UNE, like many universities, has had budget issues and cutbacks, but not as much as others since they have not been anywhere near so reliant on foreign students. I’m interested in knowing why you say it’s gone so much downhill.

    (*) I call it Geology, they call it Geoscience. I once read that the fake sciences are the ones with “science” in the name, while the real ones have proper names: geology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, medicine, etc.

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