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Sharing classroom lectures online: “beneficial” or “beware”?

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The latest Campus Computing study, which gathers data on classroom technology nationwide, found that 28% of colleges already have a strategic plan to record and post lectures online. Another 35% more are working on a plan. With more and more classrooms being equipped with microphones, video cameras and editing equipment, is this the wave of the future?
On the one hand, it can be greatly beneficial to students who can now be exposed to more and more information on potential majors and areas of study. Simply by watching the professors’ lectures, they can easily – and for free – explore multiple disciplines of study. Also, professors would definitely be able to learn from each other and improve their knowledge and teaching methods. MIT posts content to iTunes regularly which would indicate they have found online lecture content to be beneficial for them.

However, many professors don’t feel it’s the right time yet for coursecasting. A classroom is a place where ideas are formed and debated, with the professor playing devil’s advocate. So, posting the lecture could mean the professor is now ‘on the record’ saying something they don’t even believe. Also, some professors fear that students might skip class in favor of just watching the online lecture – depriving the student of the actual academic experience. To take it a step further, administrators worry that giving away lectures for free will cheapen the perceived value of an already expensive education…making it harder to maintain enrollment rates.

Do you have a plan for coursecasting? Or, are you already posting lectures online for free access? Let’s hear your experiences!

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