Tag Archives: Lecture

For some students, video lectures lowers achievement

10 Jan

A paper just published in the journal Teaching of Psychology reports that for some students the availability of video lectures depresses both class attendance and achievement. Here is the abstract:

“In this study, I examined the effects of offering supplemental video lecture recordings to students in a face-to-face introductory psychology course. I employed a quasi-experimental design, in which one section had lectures recordings available (recordings of the face-to-face lecture) and one section did not, and I examined whether class section affected achievement and whether attendance mediated this relationship. Although students had favorable views of the lecture capture technology and thought it should be available campus wide, few actually viewed the recordings, and those who did used them mainly as a substitute rather than a supplement to face-to-face lectures. More importantly, the class with lecture recordings available had significantly lower attendance rates and course achievement (final grades), and attendance mediated the relationship between class section and achievement. Further analyses showed that the negative effects of offering lecture recordings were not global; instead, lecture recording availability appeared to increase nonparticipation (in exams, class activities, and assignments) in a select group of students. When these nonparticipators were excluded from analyses, significant differences between class sections disappeared.”

I liked the fact that this paper hints at the importance of individual differences. Some students do just as well with video lectures, but others are negatively affected. One of the great weakness of educational research is that much of it ignores these differences.

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Texting during class disrupts comprehension

3 Jan

Spring semester starts soon and I have been busy preparing the syllabi for my classes. One issue that has become an increasing problem is students texting during class and I have been thinking about what to say in the syllabus.

By some weird synchronicity my copy of the journal Teaching Psychology arrived today. It included an article titled: “OMG! Texting in Class = U Fail 😦 Empirical Evidence That Text Messaging During Class Disrupts Comprehension.” Here is the abstract:

“In two experiments, we examined the effects of text messaging during lecture on comprehension of lecture material. Students (in Experiment 1) and randomly assigned participants (in Experiment 2) in a text message condition texted a prescribed conversation while listening to a brief lecture. Students and participants in the no-text condition refrained from texting during the same lecture. Postlecture quiz scores confirmed the hypothesis that texting during lecture would disrupt comprehension and retention of lecture material. In both experiments, the no-text group significantly outscored the text group on the quiz and felt more confident about their performance. The classroom demonstration described in Experiment 1 provides preliminary empirical evidence that texting during class disrupts comprehension in an actual classroom environment. Experiment 2 addressed the selection bias and demand characteristic issues present in Experiment 1 and replicated the main findings. Together, these two experiments clearly illustrate the detrimental effects of texting during class, which could discourage such behavior in students.”

Here is the rule I am thinking of adding to my syllabus:

The use of laptops, phones, texting devices, and other electronic equipment is not allowed in class without the permission of the instructor. All cell phone and similar devices must be silenced and put away. You may not have a phone on your desk or visible during class

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Note taking improves memory

6 Jul

Most of us stop taking notes when we leave school. It rarely occurs to most of us that we might profit from note taking even if there is no exam hanging over our heads. I know this because here at Chautauqua, where lectures are common, I am one of the few people who takes notes and people do not hesitate to express their surprise. On one occasion, the lecturer even asked why I was taking notes.

note book

I take notes because it helps with memory. It helps in both the obvious sense of recording information I may want later. For, example at yesterday’s lecture Chris Hayes praised the book  The Starfish and the Spider  and today I ordered a copy from Amazon.

But notes help memory in a less obvious fashion. The act of taking notes by itself helps us to remember material. Note taking helps us pay attention and it promotes encoding into long term memory.

note book pen


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