A colleague forwarded this from the Wired Campus newsletter:
Students Watch Lecture Videos in Fast Forward
Some professors report that when their students are reviewing class materials, the students speed up online recordings of lectures and zip through hour-long presentations in as little as 30 minutes. Sure, their professors sound like chipmunks. But the students say they can absorb the information faster than the professors deliver it.
The latest academic to note the trend is Jan Philipp Schmidt, manager of the Free Courseware Project at the University of the Western Cape, in South Africa. “At the University of Taiwan, students watch calculus lectures between 1.6 and 2 times faster than they were recorded,” he wrote on his blog, Sharing Nicely, summing up comments he had heard at the recent Open Education Conference in Utah. Someone from a university in the Netherlands reported that students like to play videos at double speed, he wrote, “and someone from MIT said the same was true for users of MIT OpenCourseWare.”
In an interview with The Chronicle earlier this year, Al Ducharme, assistant dean of distance and distributed learning at the University of Central Florida, said that many students there speed up lecture videos so that they can watch a 50-minute lecture in about 35 minutes. “The information is coming so slowly, but students today can absorb the information much faster,” he said.
Should professors consider speeding up their acts? —Jeffrey R. Young
I find this a bit surprising when I consider my own experience with classroom instruction – slow down has been at the top of the list of student feedback, and I have worked for years on better pacing. Does this fast-forwarded content only lend itself to lecture and/or review contexts? Is it easier for students to absorb material quickly (or even in general) when they know they have the option to back up, and how does this affect retention? When demonstration is added to the mix, does their ability to absorb sped-up information diminish? Are students speeding through screencast tutorials as quickly, and should we be giving their actual viewing pace greater weight as a design concern than we do currently? Interesting questions.