In the blossoming age of technology, Apple’s iTunes store arguably revolutionized music, but its podcast database is less known. Having been around for some time, Podcasts may not be the most recent hot topic in technology, but iTunes U, the portion of iTunes made specifically for college students, is of note. On iTunes U, and some other sites, college professors are able to upload podcasts of their lectures, making it possible for students to miss class, but still watch the lecture from a remote location. But can podcasts be used constructively for both professors and students, or will they make the need to actually attend class obsolete? Some factors to think about:
Podcasts can be incredibly helpful in the most obvious way: missing class. Every college student’s worst nightmare is getting sick (or sleeping in) and missing a couple of classes. Although you can copy notes or read the book, no one else takes notes in your style, therefore someone elses’ notes don’t really work as well as your own, ever. The ability to watch the lecture via podcast can be extremely helpful for students who had to miss class for some reason, especially for important medical or family emergencies.
Missing class or not, podcasts might be better learning tools. A study discussed on www.newscientist.com showed that students who used podcasts actually did better than those who attended class, when both groups were tested. This is probably because they were able to replay the more confusing parts of the lecture, or simply watch the whole thing multiple times.