Students staring at their iPod screens may be taking a break with a music video–or they may be reviewing a tough chemistry lecture.

These days, students who miss an important point the first time have a second chance. After class, they can pipe the lecture to their laptops or MP3 players and hear it again while looking at the slides that illustrate the talk.

At least two companies now sell software to universities and other institutions that captures the words of classroom lectures and syncs them with the digital images used during the talk–usually PowerPoint slides and animations. The illustrated lectures are stored on a server so that students can retrieve them and replay the content on the bus ride home, clicking along to the exact section they need to review.

When it’s time to cram, the replay services beat listening to a cassette recording of a class, said Nicole Engelbert, an analyst at Datamonitor, a marketing research company in New York.

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