Letters to the Editor
To the Editor: In a recent editorial, Kanter1 highlighted a pervasive issue for all medical schools: students’ proclivity for listening to podcasted lectures at home on their own schedule as opposed to attending live lectures in the classroom. I contend that if information can be easily transmitted in a podcast or a text, it should be delivered remotely to facilitate efficient learning instead of wasting valuable time in many live lectures. If students can effectively learn such material on their own time, then lecture time can focus on the integration and application of critical clinical concepts that add context to the material, thereby increasing knowledge retention. I would argue that if more live lectures engaged students in a collaborative “learner–teacher relationship (LTR)”1 that enhanced what students had already learned by listening to a podcast, then more students would enjoy and embrace this learning experience. Using lecture time to transmit information to students that they can learn from a podcast is a dated approach. We can reinvigorate the lecture by morphing this time into an LTR-driven experience that applies, assimilates, and synthesizes basic material into a dynamic learning activity that goes beyond what students can get from a remote podcast.
Greenberg2 also recommended enhancing the value of the learning activity for students during their time with faculty through the concept of LTR. I believe if more faculty viewed their lecture time from this perspective, they would be able to identify the content that can be delivered remotely and focus their classroom instruction on difficult concepts, intricacies that the students would miss on their own, and reinforcement of basic concepts through the case-based teaching that can make medical lectures transformational and retainable. If this were the new norm for a “lecture,” students would find attendance, whether mandated or not, to be wholly beneficial, and lecture halls would begin to fill to capacity.
Jonathan K. Kalmey, PhD
Assistant dean of preclinical education and associate
professor of anatomy, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic
Medicine, Erie, Pennsylvania; email@example.com.
1. Kanter SL. To be there or not to be there: Is attendance really the question? Acad Med. 2012;87:679
2. Greenberg L. More about medical students’ attendance at lectures. Acad Med. 2013;88:149