Thursday Born

The everyday life of a medical student (who was born on a Thursday).

What to do about lectures?

with 3 comments

Whether or not to go to lecture is something I struggle with on a day by day basis. From talking to my classmates, I know I’m not the only one.

Reasons I have heard for going to lecture:

“I learn better from lecture.”

“I feel guilty if I don’t go.”

“I know I won’t get around to watching the videos if I don’t actually go to lecture.”

Reasons for not going:

“I learn much more efficiently from textbooks.” (or the internet/the lecture notes; a good deal of my classmates don’t buy all or even any of the textbooks).

“I learn from the lectures but I can use my time better when I get to speed up the playback, and I can pause whenever I start to lose focus.”

“I could be doing other things, like shadowing.”

Professors themselves are not necessarily in love with lecturing, or at least, with having a live audience. One of my professors said she actually wouldn’t mind just being a presence on a screen for us, someday. Although right now it’s a little annoying (not her exact words) because she doesn’t have the option of not coming in at 8:30 in the morning, or of having lecture only take a half hour instead of an hour.  I particularly like this professor, and I like interacting with her, but there isn’t really that much interaction through lecture itself. We get a good deal of face time with our anatomy professors during anatomy lab, which is great, and I feel much more valuable than watching them lecture live.

I’m not sure what big changes are coming on the horizon. I know there are problems with the current model, but it’s hard to please everyone. There’s been a lot of back and forth with our curriculum; one class asks for a change that the next class wants changed back. Too much of that and eventually the professors get confused and tired of changing.

I like having the videos recorded, that’s for certain, but what’s the future of live lectures? Is it worth it to have them if only half, or less, of the class shows up? Could recorded lectures be better quality learning tools than live lectures if they’re intended to be such?

For now I’ll continue doing what I do. Attending most lectures but skipping when my time is more immediately needed by something else (sleep, studying for an upcoming test, travel). And I am incredibly grateful for the resource of the recorded lectures. I didn’t have them during my undergraduate career, and I know they would have been immensely helpful.


Written by Aba

November 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. though i’m really happy that things like this exist:

    XD i’m so “taking” some of the english courses this summer.


    November 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    • Oh. My. God. THIS IS FABULOUS! I can’t wait to go through the theory lecture, especially because I could bone up on that part of my education without actually taking a class on it.


      November 12, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    • I was actually thinking about that while I was writing this post. 🙂 I think these are such amazing resources. I feel like I’ve heard of other schools that have done similar things but I can’t remember which.

      Ooh, they got around to recording Kelly Brownell’s food class! Okay, I definitely need to watch those lectures. I should take a look at what else is new over the past year. It makes me really happy that the physics class I took was one of the first. That was definitely a class that I did not need to go to lecture for but I went anyway because I loved the Professor (Shankar).


      November 14, 2009 at 12:50 pm

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