Do the iPod shuffle, but don't miss the lecture

May 26, 2006

A Bradford University lecturer claims to be the first UK academic to abolish lectures completely in favour of podcasts.

First-year students will not have go to a lecture hall to listen to Bill Ashraf, a senior lecturer in microbiology. Instead, those taking his biochemistry course next year will watch or listen to virtual lectures on their MP3 players, phones or computers in their own time.

Dr Ashraf, who would like to switch to lecture podcasts for all his students, said the move would free time for more small-group teaching. He argued that the approach would better suit the needs of distance learners, part-time students and those balancing study with family and work.

He said: "Some lecture classes have 250 students, so I question the effectiveness of a didactic lecture for an hour."

He has also launched a text message service for students to ask questions about lectures that he will answer in his blog. This, he said, would enable him to handle a larger number of questions than could be tackled in a lecture. He added: "It saves about 25 per cent of my time."

Dr Ashraf has been putting his appointment times online too. Students can check if he is in his office or book an appointment without having to travel in to the university.

See Dr Ashraf's podcasts at http:///web.mac.com/washraf/iWeb/5D0AD095-F1CB-4AA0-B7F6-...

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