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Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Physical Chemistry | 0 comments

Teaching physical chemistry–lecture recording?

At McGill like many universities, in large class rooms there is the possibility of lecture recording. I have done this for a number of years teaching my 150 or so Physical Chemistry life science students.  Of course there are pros and cons of recording, as noted in the blog by Zimmerman

Although the obvious “pro” of recording lectures is to give students the chance to listen numerous times; review the material; and listen to missed lectures, there is a huge “con” and that is they skip class and opt to listen to my lectures at home.  Last year the attendance dropped to half because lecture recordings are available on line, but this year the time has been shifted  to 8:30 a.m. from 10:30. I am going to predict that very few will want to attend at that hour.

Do they need to attend? I think listening to lecture recording is quite boring and they tend to skip, or not listen carefully.  In addition they retain less when listening to recorded material. I will have class room “debates” about certain topics that absentees will miss.  Also it is disheartening to teach to less than half the class. In a guide to university learning from the Guelph University they advise attending lectures and list a number of reasons to do so.

So my plan is to not to provide lecture recording but there will be considerable pressure from the students to record. My guess is I will capitulate under the pressure of their demands, and avoid getting trashed on course evaluations.


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