This year’s Open Ed conference brought to light a strange, new, phenomenon of students listening to prerecorded video lectures at double speed in order absorb the information faster. In theory, that sounds like a neat idea:  Listen to a lecture in half the time and you can listen to twice as many lectures in the timespan it would take you to listen to one live lecture.

The problem with that scheme is that the humanity is being stripped from the lecture in favor of speed over content.

Good teachers weave a story.

They pause.

They change the tone of their voice.

They let silence ring.

Fast-forwarding ruins the storytelling experience of a good teacher and that practiced performance is a big part of the learning dyad.

Real time happens for a reason in a live classroom and if we hope to preserve that intimate learning experience online, we need to force online lectures to be watched in the same rhythms and silences as they were originally delivered.

The real speaks to authenticity.

The fast-forward strips out the context that was carefully prepared to shape meaning.