Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tegrity: BandAid for a broken format?

I've been checking out Tegrity (or rather, its website), the 'lecture capture web service' I mentioned in an earlier post and have come away with mixed feelings. Tegrity captures audio and video lectures and presentations and stores them on a server. Lectures are delivered in a fairly ingenious way to students and there is some capability to search and drill down to specific bits of information. So far, so good.

Assuming the lecture format to be the Gold Standard for imparting knowledge, technologies like Tegrity and iTunes U serve primarily to fix deficiencies in it. The lecture format worked in an era of low mobility, small classes, few distractions. An instructor had all the time in the world to lecture, elaborate, explain, and answer all the questions of a small number of students who did not have to rush off to work, attend to families, deal with huge course load and indulge in entertainment and other distractions. A lot of things have changed since the lecture format was invented and refined. The nature and pace of life has changed dramatically, and so has the quantum of knowledge available and required to be ingested and digested. The lecture format does not work any more. Yes, the world cannot be changed in a hurry. Yes, the paradigm shift required is so huge that academic institutions and their associated structures as we know them may need to crumble and an entirely new way to educate developed. Are we ready for this? And if not, and if the existing format is so badly broken that it does little good, how long should we remain in a state of voluntary delusion?

Until we call it as we see it, repeatedly, at every forum, and through varied voices, the best we can hope for is series of BandAids of ever increasing complexity. And which will, in fact, lock us into a broken paradigm, eventually leaving us worse off than we already are.

I shudder to think of what is yet to come.


  1. Murli,
    The format which you are discussing as outdated, is it being followed in India ?
    If not what format is followed in India and how many years we are lagging in keeping pace with the world standards. Can the western format be followed if the number of students are huge as in India?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. @VS: I started my response to your comment, but it grew almost to the size of a complete blogpost. So that's where it has moved. So go over to:

    Of Lectures, Lamps and LEDsSee you over at that post. Cheers, m