The Rise of the Mini-Lecture

The further I progress my ALT journey. I realise there seems to be reducing reasons to keep capturing full length lectures. Research seems undecided in its analysis as to whether it is successful or not, some of my previous blog posts have discussed both sides of the story.  A conclusion that keeps surfacing is that students lose interest quickly and can’t be bothered watching the full length! My own investigations into lecture capture seem to be confirming this lack of engagement. My changing scope for the project now has me posing questions of what are the ingredients needed to make such material of use to more students.  I have begun to create short (10mins) key concept movies which aim to keep the learners attention. Young (2008) writes about a Professor, Dalton Kehoe who says “I had to sit to down and look at these lectures and realize that when you’re looking at someone online as a talking head and shoulders in video, you just want to kill yourself after about 20 minutes,” he says with a laugh. Mr Kehoe also suggests that this realisation has changed his practice and he even breaks up his face to face classroom activities into 15 minute slots punctuated with 3 minute breaks. In that three minutes he plays comedy clips from you tube in which he includes the students in the selection process. “when they move back to listening to me, they’re concentrating in a way they weren’t before”.  The students call it the laugh break. Young (2008) continues with an opposing opinion of Marian C. Diamond who worries that everybody is trying to simplify education.  There is a part of me that agrees with this, arguable students should have the discipline and attention span to sit through longer lectures. Though I do feel there is a happy medium somewhere in between. My worst lecture nightmare would be sitting through a lecture on something like government health and safety legislation and I think I would drift if the deliverer was monotone and uninteresting in delivery, at this point I would be crying out for some sort of innovative, creative, and fun input into the session and certainly a break now and then.  Educators should be self-critical enough of oneself and ones subject to be able to make valued judgement on the level of successful engagement and level of educational quality of their session then make necessary and informed adjustments. Or is this up to higher management to watch us more closely then respond accordingly, this could be highly contentious as this is what happens in the UK school system and appears to make teachers unhappy to have to pander to all the stringent restrictions that are enforced from above arguable obstruct creativity and personal judgement.

Young, J. (2008) Short and Sweet: Technology Shrinks the Lecture, The Chronicle of Higher Education. [See on-line version: http://fp.arizona.edu/geog695c/pdfs/short-and-sweet-technology-shirnks-the-lecture.pdf   last accessed 10 November 2012]

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About despard

Educator in Design.
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