I’ve just been writing a few of those irritating module descriptors that I know are necessary and, by and large, a good thing, but it got me thinking about how we do things in this country. I was splitting my module into contact time and independent learning time, as required, and I did what most people do. I simply substracted the timetabled time (36 hours) from the required module time (125 hours) and got 89 hours. Done.
The problem is that when you look at the figures, you see that the students are expected to engage in a level of study that I know is not happening. For example, our second years were expected to do a total of 516 hours independent learning last semester. Allowing say 18 weeks from semester start to exam end, this amounts to more than 4 hours independent learning per day. If this is what we are genuinely expecting, we need to get that message across to students. If not, there is no point in just saying “Mad isn’t it Ted” and doing nothing about it.
I think we need to have a realistic discussion of what is expected of students at third level.