Professors, record lectures to ease transition to fall semester

Michael Lazenby, Columnist

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the July 6 flipbook.

Many students are ecstatic about going back to in-person classes this fall, seeing their friends, and getting back to their normal lives. However, we’re still emerging from a global health crisis, and some students are understandably nervous about returning to campus. 

Now more than ever, the University must help ease student concerns and be more accommodating, especially to those who are coming to campus for the first time this fall. Professors, ease the transition for all students and continue recording your lectures.

As proven this past year, the University is capable of offering students the option of taking classes remotely. Returning to a campus where the majority of classes are in-person this fall might be a way to restore normalcy, but the administration must also take into account other factors students feel are important in easing this transition, such as safety and mental health. If students want to limit their amount of contact with others but still learn, they deserve the ability to make that choice.

Claire Konerza, a geography and sustainability studies junior, explained why professors should record lectures.

“If you need it, you should have access to recorded lectures, but you shouldn’t feel pressured to spill out your life story to a professor,” Konerza said. “(Recorded lectures) should be available, as (students) need (them).” 

Recording lectures helps to make them accessible to all students, but it is even more crucial that professors prioritize accessibility during this time of transition. If students can’t access and review class material outside of synchronous lectures, they may struggle academically and feel demoralized, which could lead to additional stress. 

“I think everyone’s different, and everyone handles situations differently, and mental health is really important,” Konerza said. “I think not recording (lectures) could definitely have an impact on mental health, which is already a huge problem for college students.”

Joshua Childs, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, said he hopes professors are sympathetic to and prioritize students’ mental health concerns. 

“I hope we understand, especially for our most marginalized, minoritized and vulnerable students, what this year was like, you know. People had to go back home to take care of family members who lost jobs,” Childs said.

Beyond understanding, Childs explained his plans to better accommodate his students this fall.

“A lot of students move back home or move … away. Austin is an expensive city to live in, so if the majority of my students want to still meet online, I’m willing to do a hybrid option,” Childs said. “I want my students to engage in class, period. I want them learning, so if that means providing accommodations for them to be able to do that to their fullest ability, I want to do that for them.”

While it’s encouraging that Childs sympathizes with students, I hope other professors are as accommodating. Understanding professors can build stronger bonds with students, which could lead to students becoming more engaged with the material being taught.

Students have lives outside of the classroom. They have jobs, extracurriculars and family to attend to. While it may seem like we simply come to class, do homework and take tests, there’s a lot more that goes on in the life of a UT student.

Last year, students were mainly stuck in online classes, and it isn’t easy returning to a normal campus. With 2020’s mayhem and the transition to this year’s unknowns, UT needs to prioritize student accessibility and well-being this fall.

Lazenby is an economics junior from Chicago, Illinois.