In recent years, the educational environment has seen a shift towards digital-based learning resources. Here are my opinions on digital resources, and how they compare to their traditional counterparts.
Online lecture videos
Online lecture videos are available at any time, which I think is a blessing and a curse. This flexibility is a godsend for revision and for when you can’t attend lectures. Since attendance isn’t monitored on my course, I have found it really tempting to not turn up to lectures and promise myself that I’ll watch the lectures online, and I did do that several times last term. With so many more lectures to study for and the reassurance that I can watch them at any time, however, I found that I didn’t watch the lectures I missed until I came to revise. Therefore, I find it much easier to attend lectures because of their fixedness. Furthermore, attending lectures gives me a sense that I’m in a community, and is a chance to bump into friends; a contrast to the bedroom-dwelling that I’d do if I were watching lectures online. I conclude that lecture videos are a great addition to attending lectures, but not as a substitution.
eBooks are cheap (if not free) and as portable as my laptop (which is rather more portable than most of my textbooks). However, I usually prefer to use traditional textbooks. I often feel lost scrolling through an eBook, whereas I feel at home flicking through a real book. I dislike looking at screens for hours at a time. Furthermore, the computer offers so much opportunity for distraction that it makes reading even a complicated textbook seem a refreshingly simple affair. At first, I thought £50 was extortionate for a textbook, but when put in perspective by the fees I’m paying for uni and the aforementioned disadvantages, it seems worthwhile.
Of course, our exams are still handwritten, however essays are submitted online and quizzes, particularly multiple-choice ones, are increasingly prevalent. I thank God we don’t have to handwrite essays because they’d be a nightmare to edit or copy and paste Wikipedia articles into (only joking). I also approve of multiple-choice quizzes that count towards your module mark scattered throughout the term, because they force me to keep on top of the module’s material, which makes revision easier. I realise that an unexpected preference for lack of discretion of when I cover the material has been a bit of a theme in this post, and that’s because I find fixed events like attending lectures and temporarily available quizzes useful infrastructure in being the tortoise rather than the hare.