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Waikato University defends abandoning face-to-face lectures

Online videos will replace lectures at Waikato University, a decision it stands by after lockdown changed the way students learn.

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Waikato University says lockdown changed the way students learn. Source: 1 NEWS

Following a disruptive year, not all students are happy with the modern way of learning as full lecture halls will now be a thing of the past.

“We'd been moving in this direction of blended delivery, face-to-face and online, for a number of years now and Covid has given us an opportunity to keep thinking, keep moving forward, flexible working practices,” says Robyn Longhurst, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic.

Tutorials and workshops will remain face-to-face, but lectures will be replaced with online videos.

“The learning outcomes are so much better when students are engaged actively rather than sitting passively with material simply washing over them in the space of a traditional stand and deliver lecture,” says Ms Longhurst.

However, the move is causing angst amongst students.

“Yes, lectures should be available online, but it shouldn’t be the only way lectures are delivered,” says NZUSA president Isabella Lenihan-Ikin.

The organisation says students have seen enough change this year.

“In a time where we've already have an incredibly disruptive semester one, this only adds to disruption, uncertainty, and confusion among student body,” she told 1 NEWS.

New Zealand's seven other universities are sticking with lectures as usual for now, but they'll be watching Waikato to see how effective online lectures will be.

And there's concern the move will put extra responsibility on lecturers.

“They might be used to working offline and if the lecturers cant adapt then it can be difficult for students to also adapt,” says Waikato University Student, Bradley Gielen,