Live lectures need to be accessible after class, too

Susan Cardone

Throughout a student's time in college, many are unable to attend every live in-person or online class, especially during a pandemic. Students may have work, family or other unexpected circumstances that prevent them from being at a live lecture. Additionally, students who are able to attend live lectures may struggle to obtain all the necessary information in real time and need a recording for added support. 

Restricting access to class recordings hurts students’ overall learning and punishes them instead of supporting their education. To help students, professors should be required to record and post all live lectures on Canvas, so that students have complete access to all materials that will help them succeed. 

Bella Vargas, communication and leadership junior, said many of her professors did not post their live lectures after class, even when students requested them to do so. She noted that some of them were concerned about a lack of attendance during live classes.

“One professor told us from the start that he’s never going to send out the recording,” Vargas said. “So if you miss out, you miss out.” 

I understand that some professors may be worried that students will not attend live lectures if they consistently post their recordings. While this is a legitimate concern, decrease in student attendance is not always the case.

This was the reasoning cited by Vargas’ professor.

“(My professor) said ‘I just want everyone to be live, and I want to see you guys, and I want you guys to be here and attentive to class so I’m not going to be sending the lectures,’” Vargas said. 

Journalism professor Tracy Dahlby shared this concern before he started posting his zoom lectures, but he saw that his attendance numbers did not significantly decrease.

“If (attendance) dropped off a cliff, I would be concerned, but it didn’t seem to,” Dahlby said. 

Even if attendance rates were affected, it does not mean that it is justified for professors to restrict their lecture recordings. Students should come to class because they want to, not because they are forced to in order to receive all the class materials. 

Some students have technical difficulties. Some have to miss class for whatever reason. Some students want to reference back on information said in the live lecture. It really shouldn’t matter why a student needs a recording –– they should have access to it like every other material in the class. 

There are many professors who have been accommodating of their students and have posted their live lecture recordings. 

However, there are many professors that haven’t made their class accessible in this regard and need to do better. UT needs to require professors to record and post all of their lectures on Canvas, including those that were live.

Students deserve an accommodating and flexible education. Let’s make sure they are given all the resources to have one.

Cardone is a government and social work sophomore from San Antonio, Texas.