Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

60-second lectures

The Chronicle of Higher Ed had an article about a university that is creating 60-second lectures for their online program. Professors have to take their one-hour lectures and condense them into 60 seconds. It sounds like it's been very popular - the program has grown quickly. The students do spend time after the lecture with hands-on assignments that help them learn the material. I could actually see this as a positive thing. Students are likely to learn something better if they're actively engaged in the process, instead of passively listening to a lecture - especially if it's online from a distance.

But it's also interesting to think about the decreasing attention span of people. As a few professors in the article noted, you can give brief information but you can't make a sustained argument you need longer than 60-seconds.

But the short-attention span is probably something we'll have to increasingly consider in the library. We may have to make our instruction sessions more concise and to the point. Information on the website may have to be as brief as possible, which still conveying needed information.


  • At 12:35 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    The question is do we simply accept the shorten attention span as reality and change are programs accordingly or do we see it as our mission to teach people to how pay attention to something for longer than 60 seconds?

    I think concentration is a skill that can be taught and is essential to information literacy. If people are to use information well (and judge its worth) they must be able to read and work through the context which can be quite dense.

    Finally, there are some things for which active engagement works well as a teaching medium but there is others that require passive(?) meditation and reflection. In theology I'd think stillness is at least as important as activities.

  • At 9:59 AM, Blogger Rebecca said…

    It is a quandary for libraries (and churches too) - how much do you try to meet people where they're at and how much do you try to make them change? I think it might be a combination. To a certain extent, we have to meet the students (particularly undergrads) where they're at for them to be willing to listen. But then we should also be working on helping them improve as well...


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