Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Keynotes and controversy

Have just sat through Donald Clark's Keynote at Alt-C and wanted to capture a few brief notes about it.

Firstly, he seemed to manage to polarized the audience... but, to be honest, it felt like style over substance a lot of the time regardless of which side of the fence you decided to sit. I couldn't quite follow how you could start by arguing for scientific method and then proceed to fill your lecture with generalized ranting. Incorrect facts (the OU does have on campus students but hasn't been going for 50 years if you're interested, Donald) and single sample anecdotes. Do as I say not as I do.

Secondly, it was a strange old Keynote topic. Talking about the death of the lecture... in a lecture. Using a very traditional style. And, further to that, demonizing the face-to-face conference while he was at it. Apparently, he would never go to a face-to-face lecture or conference... while being okay to attend one as the Keynote. Most strange.

Thirdly, it was essentially a single point made over and over. And over. And over. But, it was the same negative point all the while. Lectures are rubbish. They are. They are. And did I mention... they are? But nothing about where to move from here. Where was the vision? Where was the light at the end of the tunnel?

I don't know. I get that he was there to get a reaction of some type to get people thinking. But, from where I was in the auditorium I saw people emailing, writing apps, eating, surfing the web, writing reports and preparing presentations. He was there to convince us lectures were bad. I'm convinced.
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