Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/18/nus_chief/

Student leader demands lectures be 'put against the wall'

Citizen Streeting wants end to fleshy student interaction

By Joe Fay

Posted in Bootnotes, 18th June 2009 12:00 GMT

The leader of the UK's students has declared that "come the revolution", lectures would be put up against the wall and shot in favour of virtual teaching.

Wes Streeting, the head of the National Union of Students, has dismissed lectures as redundant and out of date in an article in Policy Review Magazine, The Times reports.

Streeting said that as education budgets come under pressure, educational institutions should exploit new technologies, including online learning, to free up academics to conduct the sort of small scale tutorial sessions that are usually the preserve of a handful of top flight Unis.

He declares that “Come the revolution, I’d see virtual learning environments acting as a space for students to come together and collaborate.”

“Why is it, in the age of mass higher education, that we keep packing lecture theatres with hundreds of students for a format designed for teaching no more than 20 in an elite system?"

It doesn't seem to have occurred to Streeting that hundreds of students might like being crammed into a small room together, giving them the opportunity to eye up the opposite, or indeed same, sex without the impediments of subdued lighting and blaring music.

Lecture halls also provide somewhere to rest before heading to the bar. Without the occasional need to turn up on campus, student hygiene would surely collapse altogether.

Sometimes they even pick up some valuable information from the haggard old corduroy standing at the front of the room, as they wander off topic and explain exactly why they were forced out of the SDP and back into a career in higher education.

And if students weren't forced to cram themselves into lecture halls, they might not appear on campus at all, leaving a serious dent in the NUS's own revenue stream as its bars stand empty.

Of course, this might actually be exactly what Streeting wants. One of his previous campaigns was a crackdown on binge drinking by students.

Call us old fashioned, but we thought occasional lectures and frequent binge drinking were the whole point of University. If Streeting's plans come to pass, the country's semi-educated classes would cease breeding altogether - except of course, for the occasional coupling in an intense, small scale tutorial session.®