Sunday, February 8, 2009

Is Recording Class Lectures Productive?

Some people have posed the question of whether recording classroom lectures is a productive endeavor.  Many administrators, as well as some students worry that recording lectures will cause students to skip class because there would no longer be a reason to go to class.  But if one were to try this out, they would come to realize that skipping class to watch a class on a small laptop screen is not that convenient, and has no interactivity.  In addition, many professors have a classroom participation grade, which would deter students from skipping class and watching every session online.  

Most importantly, the hypothesis that students will skip class to watch lectures online is empirically false, according to a study regarding lecture recording technologies by six university professors.  The study indicated that that students preferred going to see lectures in person because they wanted to meet their friends, they felt that the presence of the lecturer had value , they felt that live lectures were more motivating, they wanted to be able to communicate with the lecturer, and they felt that if they just kept putting off lectures, they would never end up listening to the recordings.  And according to another study about a trial at Duke University in 2005: 
Allaying the concerns of many faculty, students continued to attend class regularly despite the availability of recorded lectures. While the Duke faculty involved in the pilot did not keep attendance figures, simple observation demonstrated that students not only continued to attend in their usual numbers but also became more interactive during class sessions, using the time to ask questions derived from their review of recorded lecture materials.

No comments: