So Is That Your Final Answer? You've Just Won Yourself a Degree; WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE FORMAT FOR ENGINEERING STUDENTS

Article excerpt


IT MAKES compulsive viewing as a TV quiz show. Now academics say the Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? formula can do the same for lectures.

Strathclyde University lecturers regularly interrupt their monologues to play Chris Tar-rant in special Ask the Audience interludes.

As in the ITV quiz show, the audience is armed with keypads and asked to choose the right answer from four choices, A, B, C or D.

Instead of helping to win a complete stranger more money, the students are helping themselves to achieve better degrees, according to university bosses.

The pilot project at Strathclyde University is paying dividends. In the mechanical engineering department where the scheme was first introduced failure rates have fallen significantly.

The system is also being used in modern languages and widespread interest has been shown by other departments and other universities. However some lecturers are not Public entirely convinced by the innovation.

Eric Wilkinson, a professor of education at Glasgow University, said: 'I support it wholeheartedly for fact-based subjects but its uses are extremely limited.

'I would be very cautious about extending it to subjects where you have to develop an argument.' Owen Dudley Edwards, who reads history at Edinburgh University, said: 'Computers and lecturing aids are interesting toys but they are no substitute for the human stimulus that comes from a good lecturer on top form. …