A New Excuse To Skip Class: Lecture Podcasts

College students are always looking for new and creative reasons to ditch class.

A new study has just given them teflon ammo:

New psychological research suggests that university students who download a podcast lecture achieve substantially higher exam results than those who attend the lecture in person.

The reasoning behind it, according to study author Dani McKinney, a psychologist at the State University of New York - Fredonia, is that the students who attend via podcast can rewind parts they miss or don't understand the first time. They can take better notes that way and absorb the content of the lecture more deeply.

A couple years ago, Apple launched
iTunes University, where professors can upload podcasts of their lectures and students can download them at their convenience. Some professors, naturally, are limiting the number of lectures students can download, fully aware that the more they can download, the more they'll skip class.

Basically, the study team took 64 students and had half of them attend a class and gave the other half a podcast with audio synchronized to video. Those who attended the class got a printout of the slides/PowerPoint/whatever the professor used. A week later, they were tested on the topic, visual perception (it was an introductory psychology course).

Score: podcast students averaged a C on the test and those who physically attended averaged a D.

Now, sure, maybe the students who attended were less adept at the lecture topic. No way of really telling that for sure from the study. And the folks who did the study now want to see how this would play out over an entire semester, with grades hanging in the balance, instead of a $15 iTunes gift card for the person who scored the best on the exam.

Whatever the case, notetaking still seemed to carry weight - students who didn't take notes while listening to the podcast scored worse, on average, than those who listened more than once and took notes.

Wonder how students would do if they listened to a podcast while taking notes and attending class at the same time?