3 Compelling Reasons to Webcast Your Next Lecture
Licensed Under CCSA/Bryan Gosline
In Fall 2010, University of Colorado-Denver professor Dr. Storm Gloor faced a dilemma. Just before the start of the semester one of his online classes became a hybrid class, and a student who had enrolled expecting completely online delivery of lectures and materials would be unable to attend face-to-face classes.
Not wanting the student to miss out, Gloor decided to try something new. He would stream his lectures live — known as webcasting — and simultaneously teach both on-campus and remote students.
He’s been webcasting ever since.
In a time when the majority of higher education faculty report more fear than excitement with the rise of online education, Gloor’s experience might calm some nerves.
“Granted, there’s a little more work involved on the professor’s part as they begin using the technology,” he says. “But the benefits outweigh the time cost.”
So, just what are those benefits? According to Gloor, they range from uttering fewer “uh’s” during lectures to increased student attendance.
Benefits of Webcasting in Higher Education
1. Improves instruction
In addition to the increased self awareness that comes with being on camera, Gloor says addressing two audiences at once also makes him more focused on the particularities of his teaching. “Webcasting has made me more attentive, alert and conscious of how I’m teaching,” he says.
These improvements include speaking more clearly — better enunciation and fewer of those unconscious speech tics that can distract students into tallying “um’s” instead of taking notes — and, listening to on-campus students more closely in order to repeat or paraphrase their comments and questions for remote students.
2. Supports students’ learning needs + preferences
A 2011 Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success report titled “Yesterday’s Nontraditional Student is Today’s Traditional Student” found that today’s college students are more likely than ever before to have jobs and families limiting their ability to attend classes on campus.
Fortunately, the rise of online and mobile learning makes it possible for these students to have the educational experiences of their 18-year-old, on-campus peers. Instructors who make content available via webcasting are tapping into, rather than ignoring, these possibilities.
While increased accessibility addresses the needs of a demographically diverse student body, webcasting also supports learning preferences.
Recent studies show that students study most prior to lunch and after dinner. So, when instructors record their webcasts, as Gloor often does, students are able to play and pause their way through lessons, at the times they most prefer to learn.
At the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), which recently reported webcasting 2,050 presentations in 10 months with more than 63,000 views, students not only watch class recordings on their own time, they watch them more than once to learn complex material.
3. Increases student attendance + engagement
Some instructors voice concerns about decreased attendance, but Gloor reports that whereas in the past perfect attendance occurred only on test days, with webcasting perfect attendance occurs 40 percent of the time with close to perfect attendance the other 60 percent of the time.
“Attendance improves markedly, since students who are not feeling well, contending with bad weather, or are traveling, can still make it to the virtual classroom,” he says.
UCSF reports similar results.
In fact, making class available online essentially eliminates excuses for absences.
Further, through the use of tools like surveys, file sharing, instant messaging and screen share, available with Adobe Connect (Gloor’s software of choice, though there are many others), he says students who are silent in the physical classroom often become more engaged online.
Despite its benefits, Gloor emphasizes that webcasting also poses challenges. Since experience is the best teacher, he recommends instructors “get their feet wet” by hosting an online meeting or study session with a student or small group.
What has been your experience with webcasting? We’d love to hear from you in the comments