ITunes University: Better Than the Real Thing?

The lazy college student who watches all of his lectures from his dorm room via podcast may do better on his next exam than classmates who attend the lectures in person, according to a new study.

Researchers at the State University of New York, Fredonia, measured the performance of 64 students, half of whom watched a lecture via podcast and the other half who attended the live lecture.

Students who used the podcast averaged a 71 out of 100 on the follow-up test whereas those who actually went to the lecture averaged a 62.

Apple's iTunes University hosts audio and video podcasts from major universities, including MIT, Stanford and Berkeley.

Some professors actually limit downloads of their lectures for fear of attendance dropping, according to the New Scientist. But not all professors are afraid of leveraging the new technology in education. Some believe it's an excellent tool that helps universities cater to different learning styles.

"Some learn better by attending lectures in person, and others by watching them offline," Stanford University computer science professor Andrew Ng told The Industry Standard. "Providing videos to students lets them pick whatever works best for them."

In the study, those who took notes while watching the podcast scored even higher. Their average was 77 out of 100.

"It isn't so much that you have a podcast, it's what you do with it," psychologist and lead author Dani McKinney told New Scientist.

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