Even in standard times, it can be challenging to manage the responsibilities of being a student. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and the challenges we face can become overwhelming. Many of us, students and faculty alike, are managing unexpected responsibilities. These obligations can lead to holes in our educational routines.
The recorded lectures that arrived with the transition to Zoom due to COVID-19 helped fill this gap. It allowed students to reinforce tough subjects at their own pace. However, some professors chose to omit recordings, which led to inequality in accessibility for students. We need all professors to commit to recording live lectures for the benefit of our learning community.
In order to provide strong support to students, all professors should continue to record lectures even after the pandemic ends.
Many professors have already seen the need for recordings and the benefits it would bring to students.
“Frankly, the shift to online education was coming anyway,” said Madeleine Redlick, assistant professor of instruction in the department of communication studies. “Having recorded lectures makes it easier for students to access the content they need on a timetable that works not only for them but for everyone around them.”
The switch does not require extra effort by professors because the infrastructure supporting recorded lectures is already here. Tools such as Zoom or the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services offer both the live broadcasting of lectures and convenient storage and access through Canvas.
Digital lectures provide both faculty and students with a more efficient learning experience. Recorded lectures offer students the ability to revisit basic concepts they may have missed in class. The use of office hours can then focus on tackling more profound concepts that require a more thorough explanation.
“Even before COVID-19 hit, having a lecture that I could revisit helped further my understanding of the material,” civil engineering junior Luke Harper said. “Not all students understand the material the first time, and I was better able to study for my recorded class than for ones that were not.”
Having lectures available for remote attendance plays a role in protecting our campus health at a critical time as well.
“When I was sick, I felt like I had to choose between my physical health and my academics,” sports management junior Sydney Johnson said. “More often than not, academics won out to my own detriment.”
Because social distancing guidelines will be in place for at least the next semester, remote learning will help eliminate such stories. This resource may potentially prevent the spread of illness to thousands of others and benefits both students and faculty. Students are better able to manage their time and can build their schedules around new responsibilities.
Understandably, some educators may be hesitant to keep recording due to concerns that online learning may threaten or decrease attendance for traditional education. However, live quizzes can be built into Canvas and administered through the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services platforms to keep students engaged and accountable on the days that they are ill and can’t attend in-person classes.
Limits on the use of such quizzes can also be enforced to ensure that students do not take advantage of this practice. Policies should be made on a case-by-case basis for professors to grant leniency while still presenting the best learning experience.
The tools we need to enact this policy are already available through several mediums. It is time for all professors to embrace change and welcome online learning to benefit their students.
Recording lectures enhances the learning experience by ensuring that students have the time they need to succeed. Furthermore, this approach protects our health and creates a safe and sustainable learning environment for all parties. If we are to stand for the UT community’s mental and physical well-being, all professors should embrace the shift to recorded education.
Lee is a civil engineering junior from Plano, Texas.