As most college students know, there are many different types of professors who teach at various colleges. Many of my professors this year are still stuck on “chalk-and-talk” methods, but my TA’s are finally making a breakthrough in technology, this step in the right direction is called Pubcasting. It involves sending a video over the internet, whether shown in recitation or being viewed at 3am the night before an exam, which allows for the author of the presentation to insert publications such as case studies or quotes into a demonstration. My TA last year was able to record himself on the chalk board while giving vital examples from the text without having to flip through his notes, or for the students to even have to be in the same room. As a student, I find myself having to constantly refer back and forth from the textbook to my notes and asking my professor/TA questions. Now, Pubcasting has found a way to combine all three.
The positives behind Pubcasting, I feel, are large in number because of its help to me on exams, quizzes, projects, or just general understanding of subjects. There is a recorded video explaining the basics of the curriculum with citations, quotes, real life examples, or websites to look up? Yes, please. It helps also that you can scroll though the video as if it were a Youtube video which so many kids are accustomed to so that you can scroll quickly through the portions of class that you know and can focus/have in depth view of the parts that you do not know. Sometimes it is hard to follow your professor in class o maybe you missed class and need the notes. I have found it, many times, resourceful to open up the website (many websites even emails support Pubcast documents) that my professor of TA upload their Pubcast to catch up on class when I am under the weather and usually it is even more descriptive or gives more examples than a professor can cram into an hour and a half class.
Also, this technology is a lot more cost effective for not only colleges, but any learning organization to use. I once watched a 2 hour video of my teacher’s hands writing on a notebook. How expensive can a notebook, pen, and small (sometimes low grade) webcam cost an establishment as opposed to a large classroom that can only fit a limited amount of students. I read an article that stated that most military groups who try to attain their college education abroad use these types of educational systems and even my current classes use them for multiple sections. My professor has three sections of the same Macroeconomics course with at least one hundred students each and he can not book a room to hold all sections in a review session before the exam so he uses Pubcasts to mass-produce his information and give each student with questions the chance to look up questions they have about a certain equation or topic by posting a link at the top of his lecture video.
Drawbacks of Pubcasts can also be large if they are not just used as review. One example is how some students will use them as the main teaching aspect just like what happened when professors started posting PowerPoint presentations online. Students stop coming to class and being directly involved in a group academic environment. Also, it takes away from students having to have direct contact with a teacher and asking questions. If students feel that they can just get answers elsewhere, it removes the stress from listening in class and pushing off studying until the Pubcast comes out. I will admit on some occasions when finals come around, and thoughts are scattered everywhere, a missed class to study for another exam can be easily made up for by watching a Pubcast and still maintain a good grade in both. Also, it is impossible to ask questions to an instructor through these videos because they just post them. If you still have questions after the video and also class, you have to find a way to contact them, which may not be as instant. This could be detrimental when it comes to the “night before” studying.
In conclusion, Pubcasts are a new form of technology which can combine video, audio and separate graphics/info on the same screen. Instructors are able to not only “chalk-and-talk” but also reference other information without having to look it up in the book or add a PowerPoint slide. I think that this is the future of education for many professors as I have seen it emerge in teaching assistants more (the future professors) because it allows for a more independent student learning process and there is less demand for in class learning. If more professors used Pubcasts they would be able to create, review, and distribute their information to a larger number for less cost to the establishment.