New web-communication technology and teaching

An interesting article via BBC News: Education reports on how a lecturer at Bradford University "has abolished traditional lectures in favour of podcasts."

In brief, "Students will access the podcasts via their MP3 player, phone or computer."

Further moves include, questions about lectures via text message to be answered on the lecturer's blog, and, appointment times can be arranged online so students can check if the lecturer is available or book a meeting without coming into the university.

I might try the text message thing myself next academic year as I currently use blogs as a further means to communicate with students, as an approved resource centre, an a place to respond to general questions and queries, etc. I've also thought of summarising lectures so that they can be downloaded as MP3 files, but yet to get a gadget or software to do so.

I'd agree with the lecturer in question (Dr Bill Ashraf) in that: "the move would better suit the needs of distance learners, part-time students and those balancing studies with family and work". However, I'd be far more inclined to use the new technology to cement learning rather than as an end itself. I'd also be concerned that such work could be copied and used without reference or acknowledgment from students and other lecturers, i.e. if they supplement what has already been communicated then a third-party may not be able to readily copy what is someone else's intellectual property.

Personally, I'd like to see academic journal articles available in podcast format so I can use the time I spend driving too and from work more productively. Discuss!

See Podcast lectures for uni students for more details.


ellenweber said...

Thanks James, for this thoughtful look at the possibilities that could be out there for podcasts and especially for their convenience to students and other adults. I'd like to see interactive media that could edge us away from lectures altogether and make a more interactive and invesitigative discussion... What do you think?

James said...

Thanks for the comments Ellen. I know what you mean and in the past thought about the relevance and actual value of lecturing to many students at once. To be honest it's not the greatest of mediums, but it does give both parties a bit of space, i.e. students just to listen and lecturer to be heard. Whether we use new technology or old technology the resources and ability to interact with students will always be the main deciding factor.