In distance learning, there are several terms which define the instructional pedagogy (methods and strategies) used by the professor / teacher to help students learn. These include:


  • Synchronous: It’s “live.” The teacher and students are online together at the same time.
  • Asynchronous: It’s NOT “live.” The teacher and students are generally online at different times.


  • Interactive: Students ask questions and INTERACT with the teacher and often each other.
  • Non-interactive: The teacher is just lecturing / presenting content, students don’t have a chance to interact or ask questions.

Someone today mentioned a distance learning program (which will remain un-named) where the faculty are wanting to provide instruction that is “synchronous non-interactive.” My response to that is: PLEASE NO! PLEASE PODCAST INSTEAD! Podcasting is an example of asynchronous/non-interactive pedagogy, but it can become interactive later. (Comments you leave on a blog or email you send after listening to a podcast are examples.)

Why am I responding this way? The only things I really want to experience that involve video which are “synchronous non-interactive” are watching live sports on TV or a Presidential address. For the rest of it, I would prefer a DVR recorded version, a DVD, or a podcast.

How many face to face classes have you been in where the dominant pedagogy was “synchronous non-interactive?” For me that number is far too high.

PLEASE. Synchronous non-interactive? There is a time and a place for lecture, no doubt about that. But please don’t require students to be online with you “live” if you aren’t going to leverage the potential of that pedagogical environment. In cases like that, instructors/teachers need to be podcasting.

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