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The iPod Took My Seat

The iPod Took My Seat: “By visiting the course’s websites, the 200 enrolled students could download audio recordings or watch digital videos of the lectures, as well as read the instructor’s detailed lecture notes and participate in online discussions. But there was one big problem: So many of the undergraduates relied on the technology that, at times, only 20 or so actually showed up for class.”
Comment: Personally, I don’t equate attendance with learning. By now, it should almost be a requirement that course content should be available online – I don’t book with hotels or airlines that don’t offer online self-service (not sure if there are too many out there that don’t have this option). Why would I take a course where online content and discussions aren’t available? And if resources are available online, what does the classroom offer that can’t be found online? I could see labs and practical demonstrations, some case studies, group simulations requiring attendance. Beyond that, most of what happens in a university lecture is equal to watching a video recording. The only negative I see: sometimes classroom schedules can keep students motivated and on task (so they don’t get too far behind). Even then, a bit of planning by instructors (virtual office hours, weekly emails detailing required readings, etc.), and the problem can be minimized.