The Lecture System

Dublin Core


The Lecture System


book, books, Economics, English, History, lecture, lecturing, note-taking, medieval origins, Philosophy printing, professors, reading, Shakespeare, student learning, teaching, teaching methods, University, university origins, university examination, university teaching, class, education


Weighing in on a wider printed debate about the cost and value of university teaching, the author of this article takes issue with the prevailing focus on lectures as the principal delivery mode for teaching in universities. He associates the development of lecturing with the medieval origins of universities and the need to disseminate knowledge before the invention of print. Following ‘the book age’, however, the author suggests that lectures are redundant and superfluous. Rather than guiding students in their wider learning as intended, he argues, lectures have the opposite effect in that students regarded them as an adequate alternative to reading. In an age where books are accessible and the ability to read almost universal, he recommends that the teaching of subjects such as English, History, Economics and Philosophy should instead be based on independent student reading followed by class discussion. This would also have the effect of allowing professors more time to conduct research instead of preparing lectures. “In the tenacity with which they [universities] still adhere to the propagation of knowledge by lectures”, the author chides, “there is something peculiarly medieval”.


“Diogenes Mactub”


National Library of Australia


The West Australian


8 August 1931, p. 4


The West Australian


Newspaper Article;



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Original Format


“The Lecture System,” Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory, accessed March 18, 2018,