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About Dr. Jared Van Ittersum

University of Michigan Ann Arbor MI USA

Podcasting lectures: Formative evaluation strategies helped identify a solution to a learning dilemma

At some point in their educations, students must learn copious amounts of information. To do this, they use a variety of well-known strategies such as study groups, note-taking services, and videotapes of lectures. In fall 2004, a group of first-year dental students at the University of Michigan (U-M) School of Dentistry asked to have all dental school lectures videotaped and recordings made available on a Web site. The students doubted their ability to accurately summarize in their notes the quantity of information presented in lectures. The students thought that reviewing a video recording of each lecture would help them better retain the biomedical information presented.

The Office of Dental Informatics is responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of learning-technology activities in the school. This includes faculty development, course Web pages, research with and about learning technology, and the formative and summative evaluation of learning technology projects. The office is also responsible for the acquisition, installation, and operation of classroom and computer lab equipment.

In response to the students’ request, the Dental Informatics group applied formative evaluation strategies to determine the ultimate solution. The group determined that podcasting audio recordings of lectures provided a better technology solution for the students’ needs than the originally requested video recordings.

Article originally appeared in: “Educause Quarterly”, V. 29(2006), n.3, pp. 24-31. Reprinted with permission of the authors and the publisher.

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