Philip Fourie, Gordon’s Bay
The article “Phones are distracting students” (Bolander, Wednesday October 25) refers.
The researchers who investigated the use of cellphones by students during lectures report inter alia: “A strong body of evidence (shows) that media use during lectures is associated with lower academic performance”, which hardly comes as a surprise.
As the use of cellphones on all occasions is already so ingrained that it has almost become a basic human right, is seems pointless, however, to try and control their use during lectures.
Looking at the issue from another angle, the question is really whether teaching through lectures is still relevant at all.
In a letter that Bolander published in April 2016, I described my vision for tertiary education in 2026.
This included the following: “..free undergraduate education is offered as distance learning (i.e. via the internet) in all official languages for which there is a demand (Unisa offers a proven and very successful model)”.
This would do away with all the problems of providing huge lecture halls, accommodation, sports facilities and everything else included in the traditional concept of a university.
Above all, it would do away with the problems of admission criteria: there would be none, except sufficient proficiency in the use of computing facilities.
Strict academic admission criteria would however apply for the four or five research universities which enjoy international recognition.
All the other universities could be turned into community colleges, to provide computing facilities for the undergraduate courses mentioned above, and courses in technical and artistic subjects for all ages.