Sydney University picture exposes the reality of uni in 2022


University professors are hosting lectures in empty classrooms as thousands of students across Australia attend remotely after the pandemic made hybrid learning commonplace.

Jan Slapeta, a Professor of Veterinary and Molecular Parasitology at Sydney University, posted an image of his empty classroom on Monday with students instead choosing to participate remotely.

He said it represents a greater issue that has come as a consequence of Covid, with people missing out on the social element of tertiary education.

‘Should I be shocked again? 1 pm lecture – no one! I lectured empty chairs,’ he posted to social media.

Professor Jan Slapeta posted an image of his empty classroom on Monday with students instead choosing to participate remotely – laying bare the sad reality of hybrid learning

The image showed an empty auditorium with dozens of spare seats – with the teacher forced to talk into a digital classroom of face-less students.

Professor Slapeta tagged Sydney University in the post, asking for answers after the only person who turned up was early for the next class.

’10 min in a student that was early for 2 pm lecture showed up (completely unrelated subject different degree). We had a great discussion, and I had one keen student learning,’ he wrote, before asking the uni: ‘Where from now? Help @Sydney Uni’

The veterinary professor told Daily Mail Australia it was an issue that ‘required deep thought’, while Sydney University admitted lecture attendance had been ‘declining for several years’ – even before the pandemic.

Peter Black, a senior law lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, revealed he often hosts digital lectures to students with cameras turned off.

‘This was almost just as depressing, teaching to unresponsive blank screens on Zoom,’ he replied to Professor Slapeta’s post.

The response to the image was mixed, with some suggesting universities needed to adapt to modern demands while others lamented changing practices.

‘As someone who taught for over 25 years (high school and undergrad) I can honestly say I find this really upsetting. Teaching is social, and there is nothing like building knowledge together with students in a room,’ another professor at QUT replied.

‘We are in a global pandemic. Why is it surprising to anyone that people don’t want to risk serious illness to do something that can be done remotely?’ Astrophysicist Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith said.

Peter Black, a senior law lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, revealed he often hosts digital lectures to students with cameras turned off

Peter Black, a senior law lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, revealed he often hosts digital lectures to students with cameras turned off

 

Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson, a Senior Lecturer in Australian History at Sydney University, thought the picture showed the problems with modern learning.

‘This shows that the current way of approaching hybrid teaching isn’t working. We need a rethink,’ she said.

‘Lectures are a vital part of university life and can provide transformative moments in students’ education. We need to value them. The current model does not.’

A PhD student claimed the structure of classrooms was wrong and should encourage more debate, which may be leading to a lack of attendance.

‘Lecture theatre design is outdated! Look how the space is arranged. It implies that only you have something worthwhile to say. 

‘In my opinion, the design of learning spaces impacts on how we view them. Students will show up not to be talked AT but to be in conversation WITH,’ she replied.

Sydney University said lecture attendance has been 'declining for several years', even pre-pandemic, with students preferring to view classes digitally

Sydney University said lecture attendance has been ‘declining for several years’, even pre-pandemic, with students preferring to view classes digitally

Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson, a Senior Lecturer in Australian History at Sydney University, thought the picture showed the problems with modern learning.

‘This shows that the current way of approaching hybrid teaching isn’t working. We need a rethink,’ she said.

‘Lectures are a vital part of university life and can provide transformative moments in students’ education. We need to value them. The current model does not.’

A PhD student claimed the structure of classrooms was wrong and should encourage more debate, which may be leading to a lack of attendance.

‘Lecture theatre design is outdated! Look how the space is arranged. It implies that only you have something worthwhile to say. In my opinion, the design of learning spaces impacts on how we view them. Students will show up not to be talked AT but to be in conversation WITH,’ she replied.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk