When I first realized that part of the course would be watching lectures on video, I thought that I would be bored by them. After all, in a video lecture environment, the ability to interact with the teacher is missing, so I thought it would be a very stilted and dry way to receive information. However, I was very surprised that I found the lectures interesting. Instead of boring me, they introduced me to parts of history that I never thought could be interesting. To me, ancient Greek cultures, because they are dead, seemed as if they would have very little relevance to the modern world. However, learning about the Aegean, Theran, and Mycenaean cultures provided me with insight into human nature, which is not something that I expected when I began this course.
One of the things that I liked about watching the lectures on video was that I was in control of the lecture environment. There were times in each of the lectures that I found something fascinating or confusing and wanted to listen to it again. I could do so without disrupting the rest of the class. Likewise, I was free to listen to the lecture without interruption from my classmates. Instead of disrupting each other's learning experiences with our own questions and confusion, we were able to learn at our own pace. However, I must admit that I felt that this environment may have detracted from the traditional classroom environment. Many times student questions detract from the subject matter and interrupt the learning process. However, there are times when student questions can be informative, leading an entire class down a pathway for learning that the professor may not have anticipated, but which is still very beneficial to the class. This opportunity is missing when the lectures are prerecorded and there is no interaction between the professor and the class.
Recorded lectures also offer the same benefits of many distance-education courses: flexibility. When a lecture is recorded, it means that I have the ability to listen to the lecture on my own schedule. The reality is that things occur in life. Flat tires, sick children, and other life events can keep even the most-diligent student from attending every in-person lecture, and can even cause people to miss online lectures that are not pre-recorded. However, when lectures are recorded and students are given sufficient time to listen to the lectures; this flexibility contributes to the ability to learn. This flexibility extends beyond emergency scenarios; some people are more aware at different times of the day than others. Having prerecorded lectures means that a night person is not struggling to process information first thing in the morning and that morning people are not struggling to stay awake during their bodies' natural mid-afternoon slumps. Moreover, not all people are well-suited to sitting still for extended periods of time and may find a traditional in-person lecture environment intimidating. Having lectures prerecorded allows a person to benefit from an entire lecture, even if he or she can only listen to 15 to 20 minute increments at a time.
My experience watching these lectures on video has actually prompted me to do some further research into the whole lecture presentation genre that is sweeping parts of the internet. I had heard about, but had not investigated, academic lectures available in a wide variety of formats. A number of universities, including at least one Ivy League university, have online lecture programs that are free for people. There is no degree linked to these online courses, but there is a wealth of expert university-level education available to people who are interested in finding it. The idea of this is appealing. Just the other day, I saw something about the former Secretary of Education remarking that college educations were not cost-effective for many people. The entire point of his statement seems to have been that the only goal in a college education is to increase lifetime earnings. However, what about people who genuinely want to learn, and who see a higher education as more than a means to an end? There are a number of people like that in this world. I think that the idea of the recorded lecture, especially those that are made available to the public, is a way to provide…