Most instructors who teach face-to-face in higher education, especially those who tend to have fewer 30 students in a class have long held that recorded classroom events would add little benefit in terms of learning. Indeed, the greatest fear is that learners would use the recorded events as an opportunity to skip class, erasing all possibility of their productively interacting with the instructor and other learners.
However, if used appropriately, this technology can increase learning through improving student ability to interact with each other and course materials. Just consider the following technologies and teaching practices that make this possible:
- Interactive and Collaborative Notetaking: Many of the lecture capture systems available today allow learners to take notes specific to a certain point within the presentation. Learners can then refer back to their notes when studying or participating in a classroom discussion.
This capability is only enhanced when presentations are included as part of online course materials. For presentations imbedded within an iAuthor textbook, learners can interact with the materials by making printable notes. Learners can also email contextualized questions to the instructor or to other learners. Moreover, if presentations are published in an online platform such as GoodSemester, students can instantly share their notes with the instructor or other learners, in addition to making comments on notes posted by others. Not only does this benefit the student, it also gives instructors vital, lasting information student interaction with the material. This allows instructors to better tailor lectures and materials for future classes.
- More Classroom Time for Face-to-Face Interaction: Through making materials, including recorded lectures and presentations available online, instructors gain more time for interactive discussions in their classrooms. Presentations that can be made available consist of not only lectures, but also tutorials for lab work, presentations by guest speakers, and demonstration of complex procedures. Moreover, students can access these materials from virtually anywhere and anytime. Recent surveys, such as that conducted by Fernandez, Simo and Salan as part of their article entitled Podcasting: A new technological tool to facilitate good practice in higher education, have found that students respond well to this flexibility.
- Better Retention of Class Concepts: Although not directly related to interaction, students feel that offering lecture recordings (both audio and video) benefits their ability to learn and retain class concepts. Numerous studies report that students overwhelmingly feel that reviewing recorded material had a positive effect on their exam grades. Research done with undergraduate general psychology students shows that those who had access to recorded materials and took notes while accessing them scored significantly higher than those learners without access.
This brings us to one of the issues that instructors cite for not making lecture and presentation materials available to learners – the fear that they will use this as an excuse not to attend class. However, an excellent article published only last year, entitled Lecture Capture: A Guide to Effective Use, compiles a convincing display of evidence to show that learners view electronic materials as an excellent opportunity to review new concepts. Although some learners accessed materials directly following the class session, the majority of learners reviewed the recordings right before the exam.
Another reason that instructors cite is the difficulty of recording presentations and the need to frequently revise them; however, audio and video podcasts can be easily created outside the classroom. Classroom-based recordings can be made with the investment in one of the many automated lecture capture systems.
In short, a technology that seems that it would decrease interactivity within the classroom, actually can be seen to enhancement. That enhancement only becomes magnified through the capabilities of new publishing systems for electronic media, such as iAuthor. Indeed, this is the wave of the future and an essential means for reaching today’s learner.