Higher EducationPop QuizTechnology

Pop Quiz: Can you post the lecture online?

Happy Monday, School of Doubters!

At the beginning of every semester I end up having to fight the same battle with my students. Immediately after going over the syllabus and discussing how they can use the course management software to keep track of their grades and discuss course materials in the forums, someone familiar with the system’s capabilities will ask me if I will be posting my lectures online.

“No,” I usually respond, “you will actually have to come to class and pay attention.”

The first couple of times I got this request I actually found it shocking in its brazenness: what could such a request possibly indicate other than the students’ desire to stay home and “attend” class in their jammies while the rest of us poor saps have to go on with our daily lives in grown-up pants? Suffice it to say, I’ve now fielded this question enough times that I no longer find it shocking. In fact, explaining why I will not be posting my lectures online has become a standard part of my first-day lecture, with its own small section on the syllabus.

Unfortunately more and more professors seem to be deciding accede to student demands for online lectures, and I fear that not very many years remain before it becomes standard practice. And while I grant that having access to recordings of the lectures can in fact be useful to students who have to miss class due to illness, I honestly don’t think it’s a good replacement for attendance. Besides, listening to the lecture all over again seems to me like a terribly inefficient way of studying.

Is this just my age talking? Have I become a luddite? Do you post your lectures online? Have you taken advantage of this feature in courses you have taken? Is this MOOCification of traditional classes the natural result of our increased focus on virtual learning spaces?

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET.

Featured image: Blackboard used by Albert Einstein at a 1931 Oxford lecture. Credit: decltype

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Dan holds a PhD in Music History from a major Canadian university and is now pursuing a M.Ed in Higher Education at another one, because he likes to collect very expensive paper. He performs stand-up comedy at venues all over Toronto when he's not busy playing JRPGs with his cat, Roy. You can follow him at @incontrariomotu, but he isn't going anywhere. You can also send him a tip on PayPal (paypal.me/dandonnelly) if you like his work!


  1. October 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm —

    I request more articles about the pompous shit that students ask for.
    How do they respond when you tell them that they have to come to class and pay attention?

    • October 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm —

      That it is for “study” and “review” and not to enable skipping class. I’m sure.

  2. October 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm —

    I only send my students the powerpoint slides I use, but they consist mostly on images and graphs, barely any text, so they can help a lot if students actually attended my class but they mean next to nothing to those who didn’t.

    They do ask me worse pompous shit than that though. Once they flunk the first test they ask me if for the second one I can send them some practice exactly like it’ll come in the test. Which is worse because they don’t even want to know what I said in class, they want to memorize how to use a formula and that’s it.

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