Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lectures and firewalls

I taught a class a while back that was videotaped by the university. The purpose of this exercise, as stated by the university, was to allow my students to refer back to the lectures as a resource, as well as their notes, homeworks, handouts, etc.

In actuality I think it encouraged students not to show up to a 9am lecture, but on the other hand provided a useful tool for me to improve my teaching, as I could suddenly see what I looked like to the students. None of this is surprising.

What surprises me are the 2-3 e-mails/year I get from students at other universities who stumble across my lectures on-line and want to know if they can have access to them. The videos can be accessed with a university username and password. I have unfortunately signed away copyright rights to the videos and I do not think I can do anything to help these students. (My own notes for those lectures, even if that would be a resource they would be interested in are in a scrawl that I would be embarrassed to give to anyone else as a reference.)

It disturbs me to have my lectures behind a firewall like this. I wish my university had a system closer to MIT's open courseware. I think next time I am given an opportunity to have my lectures recorded, I will try to do so in a more open environment.

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