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The Effectiveness Of Asynchronous Podcasting Of Classes

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Using Technology to Enhance Education

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1208.1 - 14.1208.8



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Paper Authors


John Chen California Polytechnic State University

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John Chen is an Associate Professor in the mechanical engineering department at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), which he joined in fall 2008. Prior to that, he was an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at Rowan University. He has been an active member of ASEE since 1994.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Effectiveness of Asynchronous Podcasting of Classes

Keywords: Podcast, Asynchronous learning, Social interactions


In this study we examine in some detail the effectiveness of enhanced podcasting compared with traditional face-to-face class meeting. Enhanced podcasting goes beyond simply recording the audio portion of a lecture. It may include the video footage from the class meeting or, as in our case, the presented material (including each written pen stroke) exactly as seen by students sitting in the classroom with the instructor. The course we studied is Applied Thermodynamics, a junior-level course for mechanical engineering students. For this study we had access to three sections of the course, all taught by the same faculty member. For a single topic of this course one section was selected to not attend the in-class lectures associated with the topic. Instead, the students in this section were asked to watch the podcasts (recorded from one of the other two regular class meetings) within 48 hours of the scheduled class. The topic lasted for three 50- minute class meetings. At the end of the cluster of classes for this topic, a homework assignment was completed and a quiz was administered (in person) to each student. Our results show that enhanced podcasting appears to be a viable means to replace some face-to-face class meetings, but its many pitfalls outweigh its benefits. Students report a perceived decreased amount of learning that we attribute to the lack of social interactions with peers and instructor and the decreased motivation level to use the podcasts. On the other hand, enhanced podcasting meets the students’ overwhelming desire to ‘attend class’ at the time and place of their choosing. The undeniable benefit of podcasting is its ability to allow students to pause a class for reflection or to replay portions of a class for review.


For some time now, technology-enabled teaching methods (e.g., distance learning, virtual/remote laboratories, podcasting, and on-line, hybrid or blended courses) have promised greater efficiencies for education delivery and improved student access, and is purported to better match the learning style and preference of today’s students. Few scientifically rigorous studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of these methods because, most likely, the methods are evolving at a rapid pace as the enabling technologies have evolved or new technologies have emerged and spawned new teaching methods of interest.

In this study we aim to examine a specific technology-enabled teaching method, namely enhanced podcasting, which we define as capturing a lecture, both audio and written notes, for time-delayed playback by students on a computer. This asynchronous learning technology has also been referred to as ‘screencasting’1 or ‘lecture capture’2 and a variety of enabling hardware and software tools are available, as described in the references. This technology is not intended to replace live, face-to-face instruction but is advocated as a viable replacement for when students miss class, as opportunities for class review, or when the instructor has to miss an occasional class meeting. Other benefits that this technology offers is the ability to stop a lecture for reflection or practice, go ‘back in time’ to review critical information, or to view a class at a

Chen, J. (2009, June), The Effectiveness Of Asynchronous Podcasting Of Classes Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5424

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