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Michigan Dental Students Able to View Lectures on iPods

Michigan Dental Students Able to View Lectures on iPods

University of Michigan dental students who sleep through a lecture can turn to their iPods to catch up on what they missed.

Apple Computers Inc. is giving students at the School of Dentistry access to the lectures free of charge in an MP3 compressed digital data file format on an iTunes Internet site. Students can download them onto their iPods and watch them wherever — and whenever — they want.
“The first thought is that this is fanciful, working out and walking or drinking coffee while listening to a lecture, but it is growing,” says Brock Read, a researcher for the Chronicle of Higher Education. “There are about a dozen universities involved so far.”

Stanford University, Duke University and the University of California, Berkeley are among the universities already offering lectures in an MP3 format. Reed says Drexel University is giving new video iPods to all students.

Some express doubts about the trend.

“My concern is students not taking notes will have a lasting effect on their true mastery of the material,” says Michigan Technological University humanities professor Dr. William A. Kennedy.

Internet access to lectures is nothing new. But the extreme portability that the MP3 format offers is.

“It’s not a better way of learning or a worse way. It’s just a new way. Our way,” says dental student Jared Van Ittersum. “It’s about maximizing our time. But, frankly, there have been a couple of lectures, early morning ones, where I just didn’t get up.”

“Thirty years ago, students used to be in class reading newspapers and passing notes. Now, they are IMing (instant messaging) each other while surfing the Web and having text-message conversations on cell phones,” says Michigan dental school associate dean Dr. Dennis Lopatin.

“When students told me they were listening to my lectures while working out, I thought I had become the Richard Simmons of the dentistry set,” he says.

Dental student Paul Lopez, 32, says he has downloaded about 20 of the roughly 200 lectures posted on the dental school’s iTunes site.
Most were for review because classes are fast and packed with technicalities, he says.

“It’s kind of hard while you are taking notes in a hurry to write something like ‘parvo cellular nucleus,’” Lopez says. “I reviewed one lecture the other night for an exam, and I picked up on several points that I had missed in my notes.”

Lopez says the technology also allowed him to skip one lecture to attend a sonogram examination of his unborn child.

“With the amazing time demands on students here, something that allowed me to do something as significant as seeing my first child for the first time, well, I was grateful,” he says.

Associated Press

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