There's a really interesting article on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the moment about how colleges should be adopting some online learning tools to spice up and complement their education programs.
The article entitled "Learning Curve: Lose the tedium in class" focuses on the views of Southern Methodist University's dean of the Meadow School of the Arts, José A Bowen, a long-time champion of smart technology on campus.
Bowen is of the opinion that current on-campus lectures are 'terrible', and most of the content being delivered will soon be available online for a lesser price tag anyway. He urges professors to "teach naked" and "shed classroom computers, tedious PowerPoints and long-winded lectures" and instead re-invent their courses and allow as much of the content as possible to go online and in to podcasts. Bowen suggests a blended learning approach where professors really use the lecture time to deliver the real punch of their lessons; the wow-factor that you only get if you are on campus, in that room.
He's got a good point. People pay a lot of money to go to college, stay in dorms and get in to the lifestyle. If students or parents realise that for considerably less money their kids can study online and not really miss out on anything, then the campus could be at risk of becoming obsolete for some faculties.
In support of the online components, Bowen says studies have shown students will listen to podcasts a few times and actually get more out of them, therefore performing better in tests:
'Research also suggests that students may actually retain more from basic college lectures delivered via podcasts. A study by the State University of New York in Fredonia — “iTunes University and the classroom: Can podcasts replace professors?” — found that students who downloaded a podcast lecture and took notes earned much higher test scores on the material than peers who attended a traditional lecture.'
To read the full article check it out here Learning Curve: Lose the Tedium in Class