Why Digital Lectures Don’t Work…

Reinventing the Lecture:
Why Digital Lectures Don’t Work, and What We Can Do About It

…A video I did for my Digital Storytelling class final project.

While many who use digital technology in education are attempting new and innovative approaches to teaching over the internet, the use of videotaped lectures is still commonplace in distance education and in open education initiatives. This video argues that the lecture a classroom technique that can be argued to be vestigial at best, even in the classroom ought to be updated rather than reproduced in the online classroom, by paying attention to the limitations and strengths of online video as a medium.

My primary goal is to encourage people to think about the way that various media affect how we communicate, that there should be different pedagogical approaches online than in the classroom.

It seems rather obvious, but theres also a lot of tone-deaf stuff out there. And my pet peeve is the use of recorded classroom lectures for open ed and distance learning programs.

The only thing more boring than a bad lecture is a decent lecture on Youtube.

8 thoughts on “Why Digital Lectures Don’t Work…

  1. I remember taking a “distance learning” class through Sinclair Community College to knock out a gen ed over the summer. There was a professional video recording of the professor delivering a lecture at a desk, a la a newscaster. I think I watched the first lecture on VHS on an actual TV. It was so hard to stay engaged I simply read the book and didn’t watch any more of the lectures on VHS.

    I passed the course with no problem.

  2. Tad

    Hey, welcome!

    I sometimes am somewhat afraid that there’s a translation problem with THATCamp. It’s hard enough to explain how it WORKS, let alone give a rundown of how various panels go. And the emphasis on making– producing code, writing syllabi, creating conceptual models for new systems– it’s a good thing, but it also means that we put a lot less energy into trying to transcribe or translate the proceedings to others.

    I think that M. Gariépy does have some good points, I just think that he was using THATCamp as a bit of a strawman… and not intentionally, but because he was getting the wrong impression over our many communications channels.

    Maybe next summer, there should be a THATCamp lifecasting team, focused on broadcasting as much information as possible live from the Camp, and then working on a curation project afterward. It would be a new sort of proceedings.

  3. Jordan

    Hello Tad-

    I found your video through Hacking the Academy, and I think you did a tremendous job. It makes me want to get out a webcam and create some practice lectures. Even so, I don’t think that I would have come across your blog if I hadn’t read Jean-François Gariépy’s post about THATCamp. You gave a great response.

  4. Tad, this is an amazing analysis. I love how you looked at both the lecture format and its online translation. I also really enjoyed your recommendations for how to address the problem.

    Now that you work for the Postal Museum, can I harass you about NPM’s online programs? We have an added problem: we can’t even lure viewers in by threatening to flunk them. The folks attending public programs are here because they want to be. The folks watching the webcasts online are there because a) they’re related to me, b) they accidentally browsed across it on UStream, or c) they want to be. But even the most awesome on-site lectures don’t always translate to life online, even when they’re talking about folks in Victorian England going ga-ga for letter writing with penny postage: http://www.youtube.com/smithsonianNPM#p/u/14/q82nFoseoXo

    I’m not concerned about boring my parents, but I do want to improve NPM’s online programs for everyone else. Can we talk? You know, when you’re not putting together a major permanent exhibit?

    • Tad

      I’d argue that when you start boring your parents, that’s when you really need to start worrying. ;P

      I’d love to talk about this some time– I have more theories and questions than answers, but I’m always glad to discuss them with people… Only way to get feedback, etc. Plus, when you try to talk to your family or non-digital humanities friends, they tend to go blank pretty fast…

  5. Gary Ryback

    Distance learning is a great advance forward in making education more accessible to millions of Americans who would simply not have the time or resources to obtain a college degree or technical certificate. It allows people from all over the country, even in remote or rural areas to plug into technology that lets them learn, at their own speed and on their own time.`;

    Remember to view our own web site
    http://www.acnetreatmentlab.com/

    • Tad

      Acne treatment, eh? I normally erase spam comments, but this one was too perfect not to push “approve” on.

Leave a Reply

Why Digital Lectures Don’t Work…

Reinventing the Lecture:
Why Digital Lectures Don’t Work, and What We Can Do About It

…A video I did for my Digital Storytelling class final project.

While many who use digital technology in education are attempting new and innovative approaches to teaching over the internet, the use of videotaped lectures is still commonplace in distance education and in open education initiatives. This video argues that the lecture a classroom technique that can be argued to be vestigial at best, even in the classroom ought to be updated rather than reproduced in the online classroom, by paying attention to the limitations and strengths of online video as a medium.

My primary goal is to encourage people to think about the way that various media affect how we communicate, that there should be different pedagogical approaches online than in the classroom.

It seems rather obvious, but theres also a lot of tone-deaf stuff out there. And my pet peeve is the use of recorded classroom lectures for open ed and distance learning programs.

The only thing more boring than a bad lecture is a decent lecture on Youtube.

8 thoughts on “Why Digital Lectures Don’t Work…

  1. I remember taking a “distance learning” class through Sinclair Community College to knock out a gen ed over the summer. There was a professional video recording of the professor delivering a lecture at a desk, a la a newscaster. I think I watched the first lecture on VHS on an actual TV. It was so hard to stay engaged I simply read the book and didn’t watch any more of the lectures on VHS.

    I passed the course with no problem.

  2. Tad

    Hey, welcome!

    I sometimes am somewhat afraid that there’s a translation problem with THATCamp. It’s hard enough to explain how it WORKS, let alone give a rundown of how various panels go. And the emphasis on making– producing code, writing syllabi, creating conceptual models for new systems– it’s a good thing, but it also means that we put a lot less energy into trying to transcribe or translate the proceedings to others.

    I think that M. Gariépy does have some good points, I just think that he was using THATCamp as a bit of a strawman… and not intentionally, but because he was getting the wrong impression over our many communications channels.

    Maybe next summer, there should be a THATCamp lifecasting team, focused on broadcasting as much information as possible live from the Camp, and then working on a curation project afterward. It would be a new sort of proceedings.

  3. Jordan

    Hello Tad-

    I found your video through Hacking the Academy, and I think you did a tremendous job. It makes me want to get out a webcam and create some practice lectures. Even so, I don’t think that I would have come across your blog if I hadn’t read Jean-François Gariépy’s post about THATCamp. You gave a great response.

  4. Tad, this is an amazing analysis. I love how you looked at both the lecture format and its online translation. I also really enjoyed your recommendations for how to address the problem.

    Now that you work for the Postal Museum, can I harass you about NPM’s online programs? We have an added problem: we can’t even lure viewers in by threatening to flunk them. The folks attending public programs are here because they want to be. The folks watching the webcasts online are there because a) they’re related to me, b) they accidentally browsed across it on UStream, or c) they want to be. But even the most awesome on-site lectures don’t always translate to life online, even when they’re talking about folks in Victorian England going ga-ga for letter writing with penny postage: http://www.youtube.com/smithsonianNPM#p/u/14/q82nFoseoXo

    I’m not concerned about boring my parents, but I do want to improve NPM’s online programs for everyone else. Can we talk? You know, when you’re not putting together a major permanent exhibit?

    • Tad

      I’d argue that when you start boring your parents, that’s when you really need to start worrying. ;P

      I’d love to talk about this some time– I have more theories and questions than answers, but I’m always glad to discuss them with people… Only way to get feedback, etc. Plus, when you try to talk to your family or non-digital humanities friends, they tend to go blank pretty fast…

  5. Gary Ryback

    Distance learning is a great advance forward in making education more accessible to millions of Americans who would simply not have the time or resources to obtain a college degree or technical certificate. It allows people from all over the country, even in remote or rural areas to plug into technology that lets them learn, at their own speed and on their own time.`;

    Remember to view our own web site
    http://www.acnetreatmentlab.com/

    • Tad

      Acne treatment, eh? I normally erase spam comments, but this one was too perfect not to push “approve” on.

Leave a Reply

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