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.”