‘Course casting’ lets students listen to lectures on iPods | iLounge News


‘Course casting’ lets students listen to lectures on iPods

Several universities across the U.S. have begun distributing lectures in digital form so students can download and listen to them on their iPods. Critics complain that the “course casting” of lectures cuts down on vital interaction with professors, and also lets students get by with cutting more classes.

“Could ivy-covered lecture halls become as obsolete as the typewriter? This fall, a dozen colleges across the country have introduced a controversial new teaching tool called course casting, aimed at supplementing—and in some cases replacing—large, impersonal lectures,” writes Newsweek’s Peg Tyre. “Although it has been around for less than a year, course casting has become as popular as a keg party on homecoming weekend. Students at Purdue University have downloaded 40,000 lectures since the start of the semester—not bad for a school with an enrollment of 38,000. Drexel, Stanford, Duke and American University have begun course-casting programs, too.”

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Odd that critics would complain that course casting “cuts down on vital interaction with professors”. Have they ever been in a huge lecture hall with 200-400 other students? There’s no vital interaction with professors happening. You just sit there and take notes. Being able to listen to the lecture when you want to, and back up and listen again to things you didn’t catc, makes much more sense. Maybe all those people who sleep through 8am lectures might actually learn something if they can listen at noon <g>. When I was in college, it was always the kids who brought tape recorders and recorded the lectures that did the best in class.

Posted by Tracy on November 23, 2005 at 1:25 PM (CST)


Albeit this “supplement” to learning is a welcome addition it will never replace the rites of passage nor the community that one forever remembers and engages in as part of higher learning. Still, a wonderful and one of the better uses for the iPod.

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on November 23, 2005 at 1:47 PM (CST)


The Design Art Architecture and Planning (DAAP) college at the University of Cincinnati is largely Apple based. We have been “coursecasting” for 3 quarters now and it is gaining popularity. Public universities never get any innovation credits.

Posted by Michael Wigle on November 23, 2005 at 5:08 PM (CST)


Well, I can comment on the value of recorded lectures as it was a major part my success at college.  As a science major, there’s a lot of note taking along with the lecture, more often than not I’d miss a piece here or there.  For instance, many professors draw diagrams on the board and discussing it, most of us try to get the diagram down.  I used a digital record and changed my style of note taking to better utilize this tool.  It works great and I will never take another course without it.  As far as the comment of interaction with the professor and student, there are two aspects, first, as I mentioned, there are other things in courses, ie the diagrams, that just won’t work via a recording for obvious reasons, I never missed a day of class either, again, a science major.  But, with that said, it depends on the professor, for some, all you’d need is a recording as even when you’d be in class to see if the lecture wasn’t a pre-recored, if you know what I mean; for some professors, there is NO interaction.

Posted by kaioslider on November 23, 2005 at 5:49 PM (CST)


The University of Western Australia has had digital lectures available for years via the iLecture / Lectopia system (and the service is now podcast-enabled).

According to their ongoing research and feedback from the student body, having lectures online does NOT have a negative impact on student numbers (the lectures are most frequently used when revising before exams, but are also really useful for people who are sick of have to work ... who wouldn’t be able to attend the lecture anyway!

Posted by Tama on November 23, 2005 at 7:33 PM (CST)


Is this really all that new?

The university I go to (Murdoch) has been using the iLecture system for quite a while now, meaning that you can listen to the lecture a few hours after it happens. It seems like it’s fairly common here in Perth, such as what Tama is talking about. Difference is that they’re allowing the lectures to be downloaded as podcasts, instead of just being streamed.

Posted by ooda on November 24, 2005 at 2:00 AM (CST)


I worry about this.  One of the best things about lectures, in my experience, is that they free the teacher from the formal constraints that publishing articles and books bind them into.  Put simply, lectures are fundamentally “off the record”.  Unless offically published, letures cannot be quoted in student papers or academic work.  As such, lecturers can propose new ideas and feel free to postulate and pose new questions, in a way that they could never do in print.  That isnt to say that lecturers dont need to justify what they say in lectures - they do - but they can speak with more freedom without worrying that what they say will be quoted back at them, or come back and bite them on the ass in twenty years.  Recording lectures, however, makes a permanent record.  It is quoteable, because it is a public statement that can be referred to by anyone, not a private statement made to a classroom of students.  This practice might, therefore, reduce creativity and increase the extent to which lecures become a re-statement of dogma rather than a creative, truly educational exercise.  Obviously there are benefits in being able to listen back, take notes etc.  However i think that this should always be strictly un-official, done by each individual student with an italk/dictaphone, on the understanding that the lecture is still “off-the record”, if the benefits of lectures are to be maintained.

Posted by Mike Rundle on November 24, 2005 at 1:18 PM (CST)


I think is this is a great idea. Half of the lectures I attend I record so I can over them later if I have any questions. I would imagine if you could record the lecture given live and make it availible for download later, it would decrease attendance, but the majority of students who actually care about thier education will attend anyway and download it suppliment to the original. This may allow universities to cut back on the number of duplicate classes they have to offer. Just my 2cents

Posted by ImpactOrangeTJ on November 24, 2005 at 9:24 PM (CST)


A couple professors at Oklahoma City Community College have been course casting this year, too. It’s something we wanted to try and it’s been very successful.

Here’s our site: http://www.okccc.edu/mschneberger/podclass1.htm

I’m one of the few community college course casters, and the way I see it is the course casts are not the primary tools for our classes. It’s not a “choose us or choose the course cast.

Posted by mark schneberger on January 28, 2006 at 7:58 PM (CST)

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