Podcasts and flexible learning: the future of lectures?

Research Paper

  • William Pedley (undergraduate student in City and Regional Planning), 11079583@brookes.ac.uk
  • Tim Goodridge (undergraduate student in City and Regional Planning)
  • Laura Novo de Azevedo (Senior Lecturer in Planning and Urban Design)
  • Leslaw Zieleznik (OBIS)
  • Department of Planning

Abstract

This paper describes the results of a study on how students perceive the use of open podcast lectures as a tool to add more flexibility in the learning and teaching of urban design.  During the second semester of 2012 the Planning module, City Design and Development, engaged in the piloting of an open source lecture capture & video management system for education which was produced by the international project Opencast. Brookes is the first UK University to use this technology and the results of this pilot will help to decide whether the system will be widely adopted across the university.  The lectures for this module were recorded without any action from the lecturer and with the absence of a camera person. The podcasts show video footage of the lecturer, the screen capture from the computer (e.g. a PowerPoint presentation) and the audio. The recordings were automatically published on the module’s wiki space and available for students after each lecture. In order to add an element of comparison, students were also asked to watch the video of a previously recorded lecture before attending the class which was then dedicated to discussion of the lecture’s content.  Through interviews with the students, reflections of their experiences were collected in the form of qualitative data. This paper explores these findings and how they could inform the future application of this type of learning experience. In addition to the potential that this system presents for increasing flexible learning, the possible disadvantages of such a system are also discussed, in particular the potentially detrimental effect it could have on student attendance. It is the intention of this paper to prompt discussion and debate around preconceived notions of traditional lecture delivery.

Keywords: Podcasts, Flexible Learning, Meeting Assessment Literacy needs of 2012 and beyond