Student - November 17, 2011

E-teacher

Text:
Suzanne Overbeek

Recorded lectures broadcast on the internet (web lectures) are well-received as teaching aids, as shown by a country-wide survey. Students who have fallen behind during a lecture period can catch up using these video recordings. But there are also criticisms: surely you don't get a degree by watching TV? What do people think about lectures on the computer screen?

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Anouk Schrauwen
Secretary and co-founder of poWURplatform

‘I get tired easily because I have fibromyalgia. So it's very difficult for me to study full-time. In my situation, it's ideal to follow lectures at moments when I feel well. Then I can rest when I need to. So the pressure of studying becomes lighter and I can still gain just as many or even more study credits. Another advantage is being able to fast forward the lesson, put it on pause or replay parts of it. The disadvantage is that you can only hear the lecturer but not the questions, comments and answers from the rest of the class.'
Agnes Tol
Master's student of Food Technology

‘It's really good to be able to take another look at a lecture. By doing this, I re-did Cell Biology 2, a first year course, in my third year. I lacked the motivation to cycle to the university, and so decided to view the web recordings. I found that this was much more convenient. At home, I could follow the lectures whenever I had time. With the pause button, I could work at my own pace and make thorough notes. As a result, I got an eight for the subject.'
Dr. Ir. Joke Marinissen
Educational advisor / trainer

‘I carried out a research survey and found out that following a lecture on the screen is just as efficient as attending it live in the lecture hall. However, a visual image is less inspiring and it is harder for the student to pay attention throughout. A nice spinoff is the exchange of guest lectures and courses among various universities and locations in the Netherlands. Above all, we have shown that a web lecture makes evaluation easier, and this improves the quality of teaching. Looking back enables a student to think things over: Have I understood it well? The conclusion from the survey is that a web lecture is a good supplement and improves the quality of education.'
Coen Uijterlinde
Bachelor's student of Agrotechnology

‘Going through the lectures again takes up time and that's something I don't usually have . I could review the lectures of the ‘Introduction to Physics' course , and I did so on one occasion, but didn't see the point of it. In the lecture hall, you feel obliged to remain seated; not so at home, where you're more easily distracted. I don't need a recording at all. I prefer the old-fashion way of attending lectures - it's more effective.'
Willemijn Sneller
PR commissioner of VeSte

‘Following lectures on the internet is a good supplement to the conventional lectures. The emphasis lies on supplement and they must never replace the normal lectures. In a real lecture, the threshold is lower when you have a question for the lecturer. In addition, students have fewer distractions than at home. During the breaks, students have time to relax a bit and socialize with their friends.'
Dr. Ir. Frans Verhees
University lecturer of Marketing and Consumer Behaviour

‘Nowadays, I hardly think about the fact that I being recorded during the Management & Marketing lectures. Only when I walk too far away towards the back of the hall, I am reminded that the camera can't see me. I would be glad if the noisy students stayed away, since they can follow the lectures on the internet nowadays. I'd then be left with only the motivated ones.'
Diederik de Moel
Bachelor's student of Biology

‘The Cell Biology 1 course is given in two rooms. One is with the lecturer and the other is through a live video broadcast. Unfortunately, it's not possible to ask questions in the latter. It would be great if from now on, all lectures were given digitally, if you keep the option of going to the lecture itself. While the Ecology lectures could be followed on the internet afterwards, the lecture hall was still fully occupied. So the students didn't stay away just because the lectures appeared on the internet too.'
Dr. Ir. Gosse Schraa
University lecturer of Microbiology

‘At first, I was a bit hesitant about having the lectures recorded. I wondered at that time if students would still attend the lectures. In the three years that the lectures in Microbiology & Biochemistry have been recorded, my reservations have completely disappeared. The students still come to your lectures. The video recordings are a good support for the students, as they make things clearer than the powerpoint presentations alone. I have sometimes looked at my own lectures and felt strange to see myself talking. I don't think it's necessary to show the lecturer. I choose my words somewhat more carefully because of these recordings. Once, my microphone was still turned on when I was having a private conversation with a student during a break, and the entire lecture hall could hear what we said. That won't happen to me again!'
Dr. Fred de Boer
Senior lecturer in the university's Resource Ecology Group

‘We need to look into student attendance. I have a strong hunch that the number of latecomers is increasing nowadays, causing somewhat more disturbance during the lecture. Moreover, the recordings encourage coming late (more time spent in bed) because the missing bits can be viewed afterwards.
I think that interaction is very important for a good lecture, and lecturer-student contact is essential to getting the best results. That happens in practicals, but also via the questions and other forms of interaction during the lectures. In my view, it is certainly not a substitute, but more of an extra. Sometimes I read the suggestion that digital lectures such as video recordings could replace normal lectures (distance learning, e-learning). I am very sceptical about that, and I think that the quality of education will certainly go down if there are only video recordings.'

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