Back in our day, if you missed a class, you hoped you could borrow a cute classmate's notes. Sometimes you missed class for the sole reason of borrowing a cute classmate's notes. However, the kids of today must turn to different ways of flirting that aren't so clumsy because many professors are beginning to podcast their lectures.
The Internet has changed college life as we know it. Ten years ago, if you needed to hear a lecture, you'd need to be in class. To catch a schedule change or announcement, you'd have to be in class or catch your professor outside of class. But with podcasting, all that changes.
Podcasting allows professors to get their lectures out to all students, not just those who miss class (see Figure 19.3). Some might think that this causes students to be lazy and miss more classes; however, they can still get the information, not to mention they won't have the excuse of missing a lectureit was right there in their podcatcher, so they have no excuse.
Figure 19.3. Duke University's podcasting service, linking everything from personal student podcasts to classroom-related lectures.
The saved lectures also allow students to listen again to confusing parts of lectures or parts they may have missed due to tuning out. (Admit it. You've done it.)
The university can podcast more than lectures, however. Places of education can host visiting lecturers and events, and not everyone who wants to attend is able. Perhaps the event is at full capacity; perhaps the person who wants to attend has a scheduling conflict. Podcasting can change all that. Quinnipiac University podcasts its special events, which helps the school get its money's worth by spreading the lecture to as many students/professors as possible.
Mansfield University also takes a unique angle to podcasting. It interviews freshmen when they arrive at school and throughout the year, showing how they cope with school life. The intended audience is not the university, but high school kids and their parents. The university feels that this gives kids a clearer, more honest view of what college life is like than most universities.
Some schools, such as Duke University and Henrico County Public Schools in Virginia, enhance education by actually requiring their students to podcast. The students at Henrico County Public Schools podcast their art history assignments (www.art2know.com) to convey a passion for the subject and make what is otherwise dry and boring to teenagers interesting. They also podcast debates by students regarding art topics and have a question-and-answer session.
Other schools are podcasting their lectures and even reading assignments to allow more time in class for discussion or lab work. Some may say that the professors' amount of work increases a great deal at this stage, but more and more people are considering podcasting such a valuable tool that it is worth the extra time to benefit the classes.
Duke University embraced podcasting early on, and currently the university uses the tool in many of the previously mentioned ways. Duke also uses podcasting in language classes.
Duke is not stopping there, however. In the future the university is working on the development of its own podcasting management tools. It is also making extensive moves to encourage podcasting in its students, according to Lucic: