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If you build it, they won't come

Doh! Schools and universities thought that it would be so cool to offer lectures as podcasts, among other technological whistles. Now students just aren't showing up. A connection?
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

Where have all the students gone? Although UC Berkelely doesn't keep student attendance records over a long period of time, there seems to be a decline in students attending class, reports UC Berkeley News

Americ Azevedo, a UCB lecturer in interdisciplinary studies, speculates that the drop-off could be attributed to the rise in the use of classroom technology such as online discussion forums, webcasting, podcasting, and class weblogs.

"I had started putting every possible networking technology into the class," Azevedo said, and saw a drop-off in attendance by mid-semester. "I just felt awful, because I thought it was all my fault."

To entice students to attend class, Azevedo now offers lecture-participation credits. Other teachers suspect the rise of podcasting lectures in the decline of student attendance.

"Once we started webcasting, students had the choice of coming to lectures or watching them on computer. I suspect if they didn't have that option, more of them would show up," said Vince Resh, a professor of environmental science, policy, and management who has seen his attendance drop by 50 percent.

"The problem is that you've got the technology people on campus wagging the dog," charges Resh. "Every year they add new technology that separates students from the classroom and each other. I think that's a really bad trend," added Rush.

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