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MacBytes
Feb 7, 2006, 12:54 AM
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Category: News and Press Releases
Link: Neb. Professor Uses iPod for Lectures (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060207015408)
Description:: Psychology students and fans of Apple's popular iPod can now listen and learn at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Calvin Garbin is one of the first instructors at the university to harness iPod's versatility and use it as an educational tool.
"For 30 years, I've said if I could just touch my forehead to theirs and pass on the information ..." Garbin said. "This technology, to me, is an approximation of that."

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Fiveos22
Feb 7, 2006, 12:01 PM
Question: Is this good for higher education?

Expansion of question: First and foremost, this poses a financial problem for the school. Many schools, University of Wisconsin included, are looking into ways to open access to education beyond the boarders of their enrollment lists. This includes the creation of internet courses with recorded lectures and materials such as this. The concept is very attractive to those who are financially unable to attend a university and to older folks who would like to continue their education from, say, their home. Great idea, yes?

Studies have found that the majority of users of such services are students. Thus the university is paying for distributing the content on two fronts (the internet and in lecture) to the same audience. So why even hold the lecture? Save a few bucks in overhead and salary cost. Point: The idealism of this avenue is not being realized...although the costs are being realized.

Second Expansion of Question: This is perhaps far worse than the original thrust of my question. If content of this nature is being made available online, what's to stop the modern financially challenged educational institution from realizing this as a way to save money? For example, the University of Wisconsin system is a collection of many schools, would it not be beneficial for the students of the Wisconsin System (http://www.wisconsin.edu/) to be taught by the professors of the flagship school (the University of Wisconsin - Madison (http://www.wisc.edu/))? One could argue that the five-star institution has the better professors, whose education should be shared with all schools. You could eliminate countless other expensive professorship spots by distributing the recorded content of the one premier professor. Or to abstract it better, what if one educator was voted to be the best in his field, would it not make sense to distribute that educators teaching across the nation and give everyone exposure to the best eductator?

I know how Mill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stuart_Mill) would respond to this...but I'm curious, how would you respond?



Last point: This may be almost glib, but tossing content up in podcast form on the web may stifle education more than in spurns it. (i.e. taking good notes, paying attention in class, attending class...)