Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Recorded lectures

Lecture capture software has become commonly available in many universities, and with it comes concerns on the part of many academic staff members about the possibility of falling attendance at face-to-face lectures.
At Stanford, Professor Daphne Koller, who lectures in computer science, is recording her lectures so that she can make alternative use of the valuable time available to meet with her students. She records presentations of the material she once covered in lectures in short 10-15 minute chunks. Each recording is followed by a single multiple-choice question (easily created these days using the tools that come with the Learning Management System). She reinforces learning of the recorded material - often declarative knowledge (Biggs & Tang, 2007) – presented in the recordings, with weekly online quizzes.
Then, when she meets with her students face-to-face, they practice solving problems, listening to guest lecturers from industry, and discussing the topics that are problematic for the students.  That is, she spends more time working on the domain that Biggs calls functioning knowledge (Biggs & Tang, 2007), and has an opportunity to provide much more formative feedback.
Koller also makes extensive use of other online teaching techniques, including guided, moderated online discussions.
For more information:
Koller's technique is reported in a posting from the Tomorrow's Professor Digest, hosted by Stanford University. To subscribe to the digest, go to, or send an email (with the word “help” in the subject or the body of the message) to That will give you access to the archives, and you’ll be able to track down Koller’s posting.

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