Moving Lectures Outside of the Classroom

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By Tonya Kowalski from Washburn University School of Law

In higher education, it is almost axiomatic that students read and study problems in preparation for lecture, even if lecture is only one part of an otherwise active classroom experience. But what if smaller lectures could be used as preparation, freeing up that classroom time for discussion and practical application? This month, Inside Higher Edfeatured a Central Michigan University professor in Marketing who is doing just that. Professor Mike Garver lectures not to his live classroom, but to his webcam.

To provide his students more opportunities to apply knowledge and develop skills, Dr. Garver assigns students to view a small number of short video podcasts on the lecture topics before class, presumably along with some readings. In class, he reinforces and assesses the students’ learning with clicker questions, and then uses the rest of class time for small group work. Over time, he has learned to favor a few shorter clips over longer, traditional-length recorded lectures, which have the same (if not worse) problems as long in-person lectures. He sometimes combines the clips with PowerPoint slides, much like a “webinar.” For further details, see an additional feature on Dr. Garver’s approach from TurningTechnologies.com.

Finally, for advice and instructions on how to create your own video podcasts, see also the following presentation materials from the Institute’s 2011 summer conference: John F. Murphy, YouTube Pedagogy: A Practical Guide.

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