Skip to main content

Impact of class lecture webcasting on attendance and learning


The present study investigated the impact of class lecture webcasts on students’ attendance and learning. The research design employed four data collection methods in two class sections—one with webcast access and another without—of the same course taught by the same instructors. Results indicated the following four major findings. (1) The availability of webcasts negatively impacted student attendance but the availability of other online resources such as PowerPoint slides had a greater negative impact on attendance. (2) Webcast access appeared to nullify the negative effects absenteeism had on student performance. (3) For most performance measures based on lecture content, more webcast viewing was associated with higher performance. (4) Most students in the webcast section reported positive learning experiences and benefits from using webcasts, even though a majority also reported using webcasts for missing a class. In summary, these results collectively suggest that webcasts could have positive effects on students’ learning experiences and performance, even if class attendance does decline.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7


  1. Acharya, C. (2003). NUSCast survey. Paper presented at the conference on human factors in computing systems, Montreal, Canada. Retrieved February 1, 2008 from

  2. Baecker, R. M., Moore, G., & Zijdemans, A. (2003). Reinventing the lecture: Webcasting made interactive. In Proceedings of the HCI international. Retrieved July 26, 2007 from

  3. Bell, S. (2003). Cyber-guest lecturers: Using webcasts as a teaching tool. TechTrends, 47(4), 10–14. doi:10.1007/BF02763506.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Brittain, S., Glowacki, P., Ittersum, J. V., & Johnson, L. (2006). Podcasting lectures. Educause Quarterly, 3. Retrieved February 25, 2008 from

  5. Brotherton, J., & Abowd, G. (2004). Lessons learned from eclass: Assessing automated capture and access in the classroom. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 11(2), 121–155. doi:10.1145/1005361.1005362.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Day, J., & Foley, J. (2006, April). Evaluating web lectures: A case study from HCI. Paper presented at the conference on human factors in computing systems, Montreal, Canada. Retrieved February 1, 2008 from

  7. Dhonau, S., & McAlpine, D. (2002). “Streaming” best practices: Using digital video-teaching segments in the FL/ESL methods course. Foreign Language Annals, 35(6), 632–636. doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.2002.tb01901.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Dolnicar, S. (2005). Should we still lecture or just post examination questions on the Web? The nature of the shift towards pragmatism in undergraduate lecture attendance. Quality in Higher Education, 11(2), 103–111. doi:10.1080/13538320500175027.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Friedman, P., Rodriguez, F., & McComb, J. (2001). Why students do and do not attend classes: Myths and Realities. College Teaching, 49(4), 124–133.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Green, S. M., Voegeli, D., & Harrison, M. (2003). Evaluating the use of streaming video to support student learning in a first-year life sciences course for student nurses. Nurse Education Today, 23(4), 255–261. doi:10.1016/S0260-6917(03)00014-5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Gump, S. E. (2005). The cost of cutting class: Attendance as a predictor of student success. College Teaching, 53(1), 21–26. doi:10.3200/CTCH.53.1.21-26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hargis, J., & Wilson, D. (2005). Fishing for learning with a podcast net. Jacksonville: University of North Florida.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Harley, D., Henke, J., Lawrence, S., McMartin, F., Maher, M., Gawlik, M., et al. (2003). Costs, culture, and complexity: An analysis of technology enhancements in a large lecture course at UC Berkeley. Retrieved June 30, 2006 from University of California, Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education.

  14. Jones, S. E. (2007). Reflections on the lecture: Outmoded medium or instrument of inspiration? Journal of Further and Higher Education, 31(4), 397–406. doi:10.1080/03098770701656816.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Maag, M. (2006). Podcasting and MP3 players: Emerging education technologies. Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 24(1), 9–13. doi:10.1097/00024665-200601000-00005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Mayer, R. E. (2001). Multi-media learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Mitchell, L. (2006, October 30). iPods cast a wide net for learning. The Age. Retrieved May 28, 2009 from

  18. Moreno, R. (2006). Does the modality principle hold for different media? A test of the method-affects-learning hypothesis. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22, 149–158. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2006.00170.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (1999). Cognitive principles of multimedia learning: The role of modality and contiguity effects. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 358–368. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.91.2.358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Oliver, B. (2005). Mobile blogging, ‘Skyping’ and podcasting: Targeting undergraduates’ communication skills in transnational learning contexts [electronic version]. Microlearning, 157–162. Retrieved February 27, 2008 from

  21. Reynolds, P. A., & Mason, R. (2002). On-line video media for continuing professional development in dentistry. Computers & Education, 39(1), 65–98. doi:10.1016/S0360-1315(02)00026-X.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Romer, D. (1993). Do students go to class? Should they? The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7(3), 167–174.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Shephard, K. (2003). Questioning, promoting and evaluating the use of streaming video to support student learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34(3), 295–308. doi:10.1111/1467-8535.00328.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Woodfield, R., Jessop, D., & McMillan, L. (2002). Gender differences in undergraduate attendance rate. Studies in Higher Education, 31(1), 1–22. doi:10.1080/03075070500340127.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Wyatt, G. (1992). Skipping class: An analysis of absenteeism among first-year college students. Teaching Sociology, 20, 201–207. doi:10.2307/1319061.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Zupancic, B., & Horz, H. (2002, June). Lecture recording and its use in a traditional university course. Paper presented at the annual joint conference integrating technology into computer science education, Aarhus, Denmark. Retrieved February 1, 2008 from

Download references


This study was conducted with support from Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment at the University of Texas at Austin.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tomoko Traphagan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Traphagan, T., Kucsera, J.V. & Kishi, K. Impact of class lecture webcasting on attendance and learning. Education Tech Research Dev 58, 19–37 (2010).

Download citation


  • Webcasting
  • Podcasting
  • Attendance
  • Student learning
  • Student performance