Use of streamed video in Economics lectures

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Contact: Ken Heather
Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Portsmouth
Ken.Heather@port.ac.uk
Published February 2001

With the assistance of the Media Development Centre at the University of Portsmouth I participated in a pilot project to evaluate the effectiveness of streamed media in delivering lectures. The project set out to document the implications for student learning and measure their acceptance of this technology.

I selected two lectures on my Industrial Economics course and informed the students that these would be delivered online rather than in the traditional fashion. At the end of the term students were asked to fill in their usual evaluation forms with additional questions focusing on the use of streamed video lectures.

The evaluation of the project was based on the survey answers, anecdotal responses and requests for technical support. From 60 students, participating in the project, 42 returned their end-of-term evaluation forms. Sixty percent of students found the online lectures equal to or more effective than the live lectures, while forty percent regard them as less valuable. The average score (on the scale from 1 to 5) for the live lectures was 4.2 and the average for online lectures was 3.9. The anecdotal responses supported these responses and were also mostly positive.

I believe that the students found the online lectures particularly useful for revision purposes although some regarded them as somewhat impersonal. The feeling was that they were happy with the existing balance of online and traditional lectures but would resent all their lectures being delivered online. Requests for technical support were minimal, the Media Development Centre received only one request from a student who could not view the lectures because he was trying to use a computer lab that wasn't properly set-up (or recommended).

I think that this pilot project demonstrated the simplicity of the technology and its ready acceptance by the students. The students indicated that they valued the ease of use and flexibility of the online lectures. It also demonstrated that online lectures should be used as a supplement rather than a replacement for live lectures. Future projects with streamed media will go beyond just delivering lectures online and could also include interactivity and assessment.

Examples of video streaming online can be found at: http://stream.port.ac.uk/default.asp

Industrial economics Lectures: http://stream.port.ac.uk/lectures/economics/

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