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Abstract

This study explores the use and usefulness of digital lectures as a resource to augment conventional face-to-face lectures for students in an undergraduate business course. Twelve digital lectures were provided to students enrolled in a third year finance unit of study. The digital lectures were prepared at the desktop using proprietary software to record on-screen activity (including lecture slides, real-time annotations and demonstrations) and voice-over narration. Each lecture was made available online and on CD concurrently with the face-to-face lecture (attendance at which was voluntary). Twelve principles of multimedia design (Mayer 2009), based on dual-coding theory (Paivio 2006) and a model of the working memory (Baddeley 1992; Baddeley 1999), influenced the design of the digital lectures. A framework was developed to explain the potential learning benefit for students from using digital lectures. It highlighted issues of access, control and learning as being important. A voluntary survey was independently conducted after the semester finished to establish how students used the digital lectures and whether they found this resource aided their learning. Forty students from a class of 52 completed the survey. Students reported using the digital lectures to supplement rather than replace the face-to-face lectures. Of the twelve lectures in the unit, students reported attending nine face-to-face lectures and viewing nine digital lectures, on average. A range of positive statements about the value of digital lectures to aid student learning recorded very high mean levels of agreement. In these student responses, all three characteristics of access, control and learning emerged to explain why students used the digital lectures consistently and regarded them as a valuable resource. The high value placed by students on these digital lectures is subsequently confirmed by anonymous student unit evaluation information collected by the university.

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