”iTunes university” better than real-life lectures

February 19th, 2009 - 2:42 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 19 (ANI): University students have got a new excuse to skip classes podcast lectures.

According to a new study, university students who download a podcast lecture achieve substantially higher exam results than those who attend the lecture in person.

With Podcasted lectures, or ”iTunes university”, the students can replay difficult parts of a lecture and take better notes.

“It isn”t so much that you have a podcast, it’’s what you do with it,” New Scientist quoted Dani McKinney, a psychologist at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who led the study, as saying.

Apple’’s iTunes university was launched less than two years ago and offers college lectures on everything from Proust to particle physics to students and the public.

While some universities make their lectures available to all, others restrict access to enrolled students.

In fact, McKinney said that some professors even limit downloads to encourage class attendance.

In order to know how much students really can learn from podcast lectures alone, researchers presented 64 students with a single lecture on visual perception, from an introductory psychology course.

While half of the students attended the class in person and received a printout of the slides from the lecture, the other 32 downloaded a podcast that included audio from the same lecture synchronised with video of the slides along with a printed handout of the material.

After one week, it was found that students who downloaded the podcast averaged a C (71 out of 100) on the test, which was better than those who attended the lecture and averaged only a D (62).

However, the difference could not be seen in students who watched the podcast but did not take notes.

Students who listened to the podcast one or more times and took notes had an average score of 77, McKinney says.

Subtitled “Can podcasts replace Professors,” McKinneys paper indicates that these technologies can bolster traditional lectures, particularly for a generation that has grown up with the Internet.

“I do think it’’s a tool. I think that these kids are programmed differently than kids 20 years ago,” she said. (ANI)

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