Professors: Record your lectures during career fairs

Ishan Shah

Editor’s note: This column was written before the closure of the UT campus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its content may or may not reflect the current reality of student life on campus. We believe it is important to share this column to shed light on issues around campus and to honor the work of its author.

Career fairs are tough. Students are expected to put together the best versions of ourselves during the busiest times of the year just to face rejection after rejection. Freshmen have to deal with the struggles of marketing themselves without experience, while juniors and seniors have to deal with the pressures of finding a long-term position after they graduate.

As if the stakes weren’t high enough already, many of us have had to decide whether or not to miss class on the day of the fair. Making the decision to skip class isn’t easy: career fairs are an invaluable outlet for connecting with potential employers and landing interviews. However, it’s also hard to bring yourself to skip a lecture when midterms are right around the corner, especially when your only source of information is notes from a friend who doesn’t have the best handwriting.

Professors can easily remedy this situation by recording their lectures.

Jonathan Valvano, an electrical and computer engineering professor, has done just that by recording his lectures that occur during Engineering Expo, a career fair that is heavily attended by engineering and computer science students.

“It was easy to tape the lecture,” Valvano said. “Students should go to Expo to find internships, see what people really do with their degree and practice their people skills.”

As noted by Valvano, career fairs like the Engineering Expo give students the opportunity to take their knowledge outside the classroom. It’s rare for students to have the chance to interact with so many companies at once, making career fairs a promising way to find summer internships or full-time jobs.

Asking professors to record their lectures isn’t an unreasonable request. For most professors, it would merely be a matter of turning on a screen capturing program and uploading the video after class. This minor change can have a far-reaching positive effect on students, as the dilemma between choosing to attend the career fair or class is eliminated.

In addition, studies have shown that recorded lectures benefit students because they are able to review material at their own pace. Jason Math, an electrical and computer engineering sophomore, enjoys having this kind of control over his learning process.

“It would be nice to catch up on my own and be able to speed up and slow down the lecture as I see fit,” Math said.

With this in mind, I think it would be beneficial for professors to record all their lectures. While this is obviously a long-term goal, recording the lectures that fall on career fair days is a great place to start. If professors can eventually make the transition to recording all their lectures, students will be able to take learning into their own hands in a way that best suits them.

By facilitating the option to attend career fairs without repercussions, professors can encourage their students to take better advantage of the resources offered to them. Having students decide between their classes and career fairs is contradictory as UT should be providing its students with opportunities, not roadblocks, for their futures.

I hope that more professors make the decision to record their lectures before the next career fair in April. It would be a concrete step toward giving students the means to make the most of their university experience.

Shah is an electrical and computer engineering freshman from Plano.