Monday, November 28, 2005

Did Video/MP3 Kill the ASP Attendance Star?

(With apologies to the Buggles, who had their (I believe) one hit with “Video Killed the Radio Star” back in 1979.)

Our ASP class attendance is down, way down. We offer a number of helpful classes throughout the fall semester: case briefing, outlining, exam writing and multiple choice tips. In past years, student attendance peaked for outlining and declined gradually until we got to exam writing and multiple choice tips, when it re-peaked; but it remained fairly steady throughout the semester at thirty to forty students each session.

These days I am looking at maybe ten to twenty students a session, even the exam writing and multiple choice sessions. Outlining was still very well attended, but we offered it earlier this year than in years past. When our Counseling Center came in to do a class on stress management, I was mortified that we had dragged them here for only three students; and this was our day student session, which usually draws more students than our evening session.

So, what gives? Perhaps this year’s students are more confident and think they need less help. We know we offer the class during a time when no first year classes are scheduled, so class conflict isn’t the culprit.  I shower every day, and I’ve stopped singing in class (well, for the most part). I’ve avoided the Blue’s Clues analogies (I know the students know what I mean but, oddly, they seem embarrassed to admit it). What I am beginning to think is that we have hi-teched ourselves into obsolescence.

We tape each and every class on video and in MP3 format. We post our handouts and the MP3’s (to download) on our Campus Cruiser site. We lend out the video tapes. So why come to class when you can have class whenever you want? I mean, there may be people out there driving to school while listening to me on their MP3 players. How scary for anyone else driving in the Boston area, because I just know my classes are positively riveting.

There are probably students who have invited me into their homes (and had me up at all hours no doubt) so they could cull my exam secrets, but I don’t know who they are.

Is this an effective way to teach?  More importantly, is this an effective way to learn?  I don’t know, but I suppose I will find out after the grades are in since the students who did poorly will have to see me IN PERSON in the spring.  Singing and all. (ezs)

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