The lecturer, if he's a good one, has a loud, clear voice, and his handwriting is not too illegible. He goes slowly enough for them to get most of it down, but fast enough to keep them out of mischief.
Suddenly, disaster strikes! A student drops his pencil! He gropes for it frantically. He can expect no help from his classmates; it's sauve qui peut with this crowd. If he finds the pencil immediately, he's all right; but if it takes more than a few minutes he's had it. He might just as well go back to his room and sleep it off.
Robert T. Morrison, The Lecture System in Teaching Science, New York University.
From: Proceedings of the Chicago Conferences on Liberal Education, Number 1, Undergraduate Education in Chemistry and Physics (edited by Marian R. Rice). The College Center for Curricular Thought: The University of Chicago, (October 18-19, 1986). http://www.entropysite.com/morrison (accessed 2 February 2009)