I’m about to go on two weeks annual leave so this is an excellent time for me to drop this particular post. Thanks to MichTheMartian on Twitter for reaching out and making me realise I haven’t ever really summarised this.
This post addresses the following concerns:
- Students will stop showing up!
- It won’t help students learn!
- There’s no way to introduce lecture recording ethically in the current HE climate / Policy is hard / The union says no.
- Its too technically challenging!
- We just don’t have enough evidence
- It makes me uncomfortable
Students will stop showing up!
If students stop showing up, there’s a bigger problem than you recording your lectures.
Attendance at lectures is a complex, emotional and highly individual choice (1, 2, 3). Attending students may not necessarily be engaged in the teaching activity happening in front of them (4), and so anyone who is worried about students not showing up should be asking why their lectures aren’t ‘unmissable’.
In her presentation here, Emily Nordmann has some practical recommendations for how to make the most of lecture recording, and she makes some excellent points about attendance. https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/1_4k30iisz
Although it could well be moot as there is plenty of evidence to show lecture recording does not affect attendance (5, 6), and evidence which suggests an effect is mostly students saying they thought they would be likely to stop attending (and not observing actual behaviour, 7, 8), and oft-cited research showing an effect has a lot of flaws, see Susan Rhind’s blog here and Emily Nordmann’s blog here.
It won’t help students learn!
There’s a commonly cited paper showing no evidence for attainment with increased lecture use (8).
I think that paper’s probably right – for students who are otherwise grand, recordings don’t really help. I wouldn’t have used them when I was at uni. The case for using them is not about making everyone better, but removing barriers. I use the term ‘mainstreaming accessibility’ a lot. Having a recording policy removes some of the pressure from lecture recording (see Sarah Chinnery’s blog). If you have difficulties getting to class for any reason, knowing you can review the materials reliably is helpful, and stops you ‘outing’ yourself to your lecturer or your classmates. We have lots of example of this in our workshop (see below). Emily Nordmann (again!) has a lovely blog on why we need to start talking about the socially progressive case for lecture recording. It is a technology which helps remove one of the barriers to higher education. At Edinburgh, we have evidence suggesting that these positive impacts start in first year (9).
In addition, I have some current research ongoing which strongly suggests that students who use lecture recordings to facilitate their studies do so in a very active and engaged manner. This work is funded by Echo360 and you can keep an eye on my Twitter feed to see more about it.
In another project I’m involved with, we’re seeing some excellent secondary uses of lecture recording to help us think about what happens in classrooms and how that can help students learn. Emily has another great paper which we use at Edinburgh to support our students to study with lecture recordings (10) and we have produced open source guidance ourselves (11).
Related – here’s some UK sector-wide discussion on Widening Participation with Lecture Recording. This project is ongoing and you should keep an eye on it
And follow our Twitter:
There’s no way to introduce lecture recording ethically in the current HE climate / Policy is hard / The union says no.
A good policy is the key here. You need to engage with the policy consultations that come round, and policy makers need to be cognisant of the power a good policy has in helping support the introduction of these technologies. For me the take home messages are
- The recording is a supplementary resource and should belong to the class that generated it.
- Lecturers should have to opt in to saving that resource in any long term way
- Each class needs to set its own expectations around lecture recording (I talk about this in the podcast here and also you can see an example of me doing this at the start of our last Collaborative Cluster on Widening Participation with Lecture Recording meeting)
- Lecturers should be able to opt out of lecture recording whenever they feel the need to (linked to the class expectations – this can also support student learning, e.g. during ethical discussions. I talk about the practicalities in this podcast)
Richard Goodman talks about moving to an opt-out policy at Loughborough
Melissa Highton talks about working with the union to develop good policies at Edinburgh.
Its too technically challenging!
Aren’t you lucky that the University of Edinburgh has put together a completely free resource talking about Delivering and Evaluating Lecture Recording so you don’t have to start from scratch?
We just don’t have enough evidence
Overview of Edinburgh’s research
Me presenting on Edinburgh’s research
Edinburgh’s TeachingMatters Blog Lecture Recording Miniseries
Our TeachingMatters Podcast on lecture recording
- Implementation of lecture recording
- Practicalities of lecture recording
- Using lecture recording and the evaluation so far
- The value and impact of lecture recording
- Building a learning community
- Lecture recording to support learning
I walked through how you can run your own evaluation and included a bunch of resources with the QAA here:
It makes me uncomfortable
I know it does. Believe me, it makes me kind of uncomfortable too. I’ve been on television, on radio, on stage on the Lyceum, written a book, and I still find it slightly uncomfortable watching myself stumble over words and have a brain blank in front of a class.
But here’s the thing – students don’t care. They’re here to learn. And they want to learn. They’re not expecting you to be David Attenborough. They’re not expecting you to be perfect. And if you can use your mistakes to model good academic practice (jump to 5 minutes), maybe you can create better learners.
My research shows that lecture recording makes lecturers worry about getting things wrong, or being criticised, while students just view it as a tool (Show and Tool – or the free preprint if you can’t access that journal). This is a conversation you need to have with your students. Making mistakes is how we learn.
One of the big things I’d encourage you to make use of is the open source workshop we made available with the QAA (direct link to resource). Using this workshop we’ve developed new guidance on how to teach with lecture recording that will be getting printed and shared imminently.
But at the end of the day – you’re the teacher. You’re there to help students. After the conversations I’ve been having lately with certain academics, this feels like a revolutionary thing to say. I am salty. I am salty that I need to defend students’ rights to have access to materials. I am salty that I need to justify writing “students should approach their lecturers for support” in student guidance. I am salty that academics are putting their personal comfort over the needs of their students.
You should be recording your lectures.