Nowadays it is not unusual to take a class online, but imagine a “Podcast” class. It is only happening in a few places across the country with the University of Hawaii at Manoa being one of them. David Nickles’ Computer Science 101 class is Podcast so instead of books, his students bought Ipods.
“What we are trying to, is put the technology in their hands and empower them,” said Nickles.
This is how it works:
Nickles records a weekly lecture on computer basics.
Students then use “I-Tunes,” a free program to download the audio. You can then take it anywhere and are not tethered to the computer. You learn offline. “It’s just like having the lecture right in your pocket,” said sophomore Crystal Cheng. “Sometimes in a lecture, the class is so big and you don’t want to ask to repeat anything because you don’t want to hold the class back.”
Nickles monitors the progress of his 600 students with online quizzes. Based on the lecture, students can take the quiz at a lab. Students said they like the Podcasting idea because you can go back and review something you didn’t quite get the first time.
If the students still want the classroom fix, they can come to the lecture hall on Tuesdays for extra credit.
Another upside for students, Nickels said, is when the class is over, the Ipods are theirs to keep.
“They can use this device, back up their files, take their presentation to class,” said Nickels. “On top of that, it’s a media player, so they can listen to their lecture. Not just my class, but future classes.”