Letter: Lecture recordings are necessary to keep students learning

Recorded lectures have become a mainstay in universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and hybrid classrooms. However, with the return to full in-person classes, some professors may feel there is no need to record lectures anymore. However, the accessibility benefits of recording lectures outweigh the drawbacks for students and professors.

Lecture recordings are beneficial for immunocompromised and disabled students who may feel uncomfortable attending live classes due to the ongoing risks of COVID-19, or who may be forced to miss class due to illness. Students should be encouraged to learn in a way that works for them, and they should not be penalized for being immunocompromised or sick.

Besides the beneficiality of recorded lectures for students who cannot attend class, these recordings impact student relationships with education. Recorded lectures allow for better note-taking since students can revisit parts of the lectures. This allows for fewer repetitive questions for professors during office hours so more intricate questions can be resolved.

While online lectures have the reputation of making class attendance lower, a study published by Computers & Education says that after online lectures became available, the average attendance across multiple classes dropped from 85.7 per cent to 81 per cent, which is statistically minimal for student absenteeism to be a major drawback for lecture recordings. In most other instances, online lectures increased or maintained existing levels of student attendance. However, students should think twice before skipping class with the intent to watch recorded lectures later. Recorded lectures should supplement, not replace, in-person instruction.

Even if professors wanted to record their lectures, only 70 per cent of GTS (general teaching spaces) classrooms with 30 seats or more can record and stream lectures. There needs to be more classrooms with this ability so that students don’t fall behind and are able to revisit important parts of their lectures.

Maximizing the benefits and minimizing the disadvantages of lecture recordings can lead to more support for disadvantaged students, better accessibility to online learning and better use of office hours so that students can ask more challenging questions.

More than ever, this pandemic has proven that lecture recordings are not only a responsible public health safety measure in education but a great enhancement to student achievement.

Martin Edwini-Bonsu is a second-year chemical engineering student in the Faculty of Applied Science. He has contributed to The Ubyssey in the past.