AN experiment costing $100,000 could be about to improve poor communications between lecturers and their students, according to an eminent scientist and educationist. The attempt to end the age-old problem will make use of advanced education technology, Sir Eric Ash told the 48th congregation at the Chinese University. An 'electronic feedback path' from each student to the lecturer is to receive a trial run at the Department of Physics in University College London next October. And he indicated collaboration with the Chinese University was also a possibility. Students will get a response unit, a small box which will let them signal their level of understanding to the lecturer. The former rector of Imperial College and a professor in the physics department of University College London, said that university teaching methods simply had not kept pace with advances in technology. 'The dominant teaching modality is still the lecture, which does not work very well. The concept of the lecture as the major component of a higher education is deeply flawed,' he said. 'In my own experience, tutorials are effective with good teaching and good learning in small groups.' But Sir Eric, who received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Governor Chris Patten, acknowledged that not every university could afford to conduct all teaching within tutorial sessions , especially with higher education in such great demand, hence the experiment. 'Hopefully, this preliminary experiment will be carried out in either the Chinese University or the University of Science and Technology, the two tertiary institutes I have contact with,' Sir Eric said. At the congregation, some of the 26 Bachelor of Social Science in Architectural Studies graduates said they had few communication problems with lecturers since there was frequent face-to-face interaction. One graduate, Alfred Tze Kin-hung, said: 'Our lecturers tended to stay in their studio after class, so we could easily approach them and ask them whatever questions we have in our studies. 'This also allowed us to voice our opinion about the new course to our lecturers in consultation.' The graduates - now in their year out working in architecture firms mostly as assistant architects before returning to Chinese University for a two-year master's degree course in architecture - believe better communication with lecturers has helped the department reassess resources. Most of them intend to stay in the territory after 1997, as they consider Hong Kong to be the hub of Asian economic development. Also graduating were 51 Professional Accountancy students and 11 Specialisation Programme in Translation students.