Newer universities are blitzing our academic landscapes. Swinburne University has introduced a five minute ‘datablitz’ in which “bite-sized information” is presented in every day language. Similar bite-sized information was undoubtedly on the menu at Deakin University’s media roundtable at the RACV club. A mediablitz is also renowned for the five-minute-grab.
Data and media blitzes are designed to make academic ideas accessible. However, these superficial academic and media performances are not a replacement for rigorous scholarly activities such as academic seminars and Dean’s lectures.
Some academics say they are “too busy” to participate in traditional academic seminars. They say that they do not even have the time to engage in in-depth discussions with colleagues that may spark new ideas. Their lack of time to engage in scholarly activities raises important questions. Most importantly, will this busy-ness and bite sized information be responsible for the ‘dumbing down’ of our newer universities?
First published as a letter in The Age on 16 May 2005