Monday, October 17, 2011

Are Podcasts Better Than Professors? Ctd

In August, this blog asked "Are Podcasts Better Than Professors?"

Since it came up a recent council meeting, I thought I would provide a little more detail.

Here is the direct link to the study. It was published in Computers & Education: An International Journal. It was conducted by the Department of Psychology at the State University of New York. The authors report that the "original intent of this study was to explore if getting a copy of the audio (along with copies of the PowerPoint slides) from a class lecture a student missed during the term would show the same detriment. The results of this study show there was no detriment—in fact, there was a signi´Čücant advantage."

Students who were given a podcast lecture and power point slides outperformed (by 10 percentage points) students who attended the live lecture and were encouraged to take notes on PowerPoint slides.

This is, of course, what advocates of the flipped classroom model have been saying for some time. Any time you're merely transmitting data to listeners, they will do better given the chance to pause, rewind, re-listen, and do so on their own terms. This frees up face-to-face time for questions, discussion, and one-on-one interaction. The flipped model is also a good fit for the blended model.

You could, for example, assign a reading assignment and an audio lecture for homework. They could also take the quiz on Blackboard (or your LMS of choice) before arriving in class. Once in class, you go over the quiz results to cover sticking points and then begin discussion or anything interactive. Since they've already consumed your lecture outside of class, you can spend that time going into more detail, applying the learning, or in discussion.

And it doesn't have to be a podcast. You can do a screen cast or narrative a slide deck. You can assign them to come to class with 2 questions from the lecture or have a quiz ready.

I think, in general, this model makes more sense for universities with large class sizes (attending a lecture with 400 students isn't that different from watching on on video), but it can also be utilized in small settings, and is especially workable in blended set-ups.

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