Video-Recorded Lectures: Interested?

Ever sat in a lecture and felt like you’ve missed a key bit of information that isn’t on a PowerPoint slide? Ever thought that the lecturer is going to quickly to keep up with notes? Or have you ever missed a lecture and really felt hindered and that you couldn’t properly catch up on the material?

Well the University are looking into addressing that, by potentially allowing lecturers to upload their video-recorded lectures to Blackboard, meaning that you can go over previous lectures again and again.

Click the link above, where I have had a go at using the software to make a little introduction to the idea, and let me know what you think about the idea of having lectures put online.

Would you skip lectures if you knew they were online? Or would you find it a really useful resource? Leave a comment below or email me at

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16 Comments on "Video-Recorded Lectures: Interested?"

  1. Sasha
    Aaron Bali
    12/07/2011 at 10:12 am Permalink

    Having had a look at the example lecture you’ve uploaded, I think it’s definitely a really powerful tool that students could use. Students skipping lectures will be an issue regardless of whether the lectures are recorded and put up online anyway, so this can only be helpful in allowing students to catch up.

  2. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 10:13 am Permalink

    Really great idea… sometimes notes are hard to decipher when it comes to revision time, so this would really help.

    I think my lectures would end up somewhat empty, though, as I think a lot of students wouldn’t bother turning up if they could watch the lecture at 1am instead…

  3. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 10:27 am Permalink

    Surely this would give students more of an excuse not to turn up? And with increasing fees I think the university needs to look at the content and substance of courses – not ways of cutting corners. With some courses only giving 2 hours of contact time a week in people’s 3rd year I think there are more pressing issues…

  4. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 10:27 am Permalink

    not to mention dicta-phones are a good investment anyway

  5. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 10:28 am Permalink

    A previously university I studied at, did not video record but sound recorded the lectures and posted them online. This was so valuable when it came to revision. Most students still attended lectures because this was their opportunity to ask questions!

  6. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 10:45 am Permalink

    I think this is an excellant idea! There are always things that are missed when making notes and this would help with revision and understanding.
    With regards to missing lectures, i think if students are paying for their course and they only want to rely on the videos that is their choice. However, the lecturers on my course dont share this view and purposefully give students a different set of slides than they use in class to make sure you attend. I always find this hard to keep up with and disadvantages those who have a genuine reason for missing lectures. In the past, i have tried to get hold of the lecturers version of the slides as i had missed something in class but this was refused. Therefore, having video recorded lectures will combat this but i fear lecturers may not hold the same view.

  7. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 10:55 am Permalink

    I would suggest that technology like this could be used to easily supplement lecture content rather than replace or replicate it.

    For example, a lecturer could produce a short 5 minute introduction to the topic that you would look at before the lecture, freeing up more time in the lecture for actual teaching.

  8. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 11:58 am Permalink

    Thanks for all your comments. Would this work better on some courses as opposed to others?

    Some comments from Facebook:

    “They do this already in a number of American universities and its quite useful – especially in situations where subjects interlink, so you can get more depth in a particular subject.”

    “My history tutor used to record his and upload them as podcasts, which was really useful, so imagine this would be good aswell”

    “do this in my friends uni and she said its brilliant”

  9. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 12:13 pm Permalink

    As a student I would find this highly useful and if it was implemented would absolutely take full advantage of this – however, principally, I am fundamentally against this.

    Video-recorded lectures would make the necessity of attending lectures redundant (re questions students are always encouraged to contact thier lecturers via e-mail/office hours if they have enquiries), and it makes the job of the lecturer significantly easier (they can re-play lecture videos each year).

    Yes, if you have genuinelly missed a lecture due to illness, or you cannot understand your notes during revision time then recorded lectures can be really useful, but these problems can be addressed in other ways. If a lecturer/module co-ordinator is doing their job properly then they should help/suggest ways to supplement your previous notes before exams, and be understanding about genuine reasons for missing lecturers – as I said students are encouraged to speak to their lecturers during office hours, we pay their wages with our fees after all.

    Video recording lectures would mean that nobody would attend lecturers – I certainly wouldn’t go to 9ams (actually all really) if they were all recorded, there’s no point. This aids lazy students who already miss lecturers or fall asleep at the back of the lecture theatre, and undermines students who work hard, attend all lecturers and take accurate and detailed notes.

    In fact, in theory, if every single course did this, then people wouldn’t even have to move to Southampton for University and where would that leave the entire HE system and the University experience? (This sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but if students wanted to speak to their lecturers then they could use e-mail or Skype even).

    The year after next students will be paying triple what we are paying now, and this idea moves towards a similiar format used by The Open University (admittedly something the government do want to encourage); but if this is to happen then will the University invest more in technological services to do this and less in University infrastructure?

    I know Nutbeam has said recently he wants to put more money into University infrastructure, but if we will be using video recorded lectures then we wouldn’t benefit from any of this additional investment in the University which is supposed to validate paying 9k fees.

    If students want to record lecturers then they can do themselves – if people have problem taking notes then surely money would be better spent helping those with such additional needs by providing dictaphones through Student Services? If there is an issue of a lecturer not providing enough study material or revsion help then again this is a separate issue that would need addressing, and would still remian if video recorded lecturers were introduced.

    However, saying this, if this was introduced then I would fully take advantage of it, never attend lecturers and try and blag my way through Uni even more…(hence proving my point though really).

  10. Sasha
    Kristina Bean
    12/07/2011 at 1:03 pm Permalink

    i will be coming to Southampton in the fall and I am very excited that the school is looking into this. I am a visually impaired student and being able to look at the lectures again is a tool that I’ve always wanted to do. Previously I have had to record my lectures with just audio and have a note taker/scribe. If this was provided when I arrive, it would make my life so much easier.

  11. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 1:51 pm Permalink

    Sasha, in response to Jess’ comments on facebook you say she is being ‘judgemental’. This seems somewhat bizarre as you are requesting student opinions which thereby requires us to judge the idea.
    But anyway, more importantly, I understand where Jess is coming from and think she has a valid point. I am all for it on the basis that hard working students get an extra revision boost but she’s right in saying it would devalue lectures; nobody need ever go if they can find it online. I think lectures should certainly be recorded and put into a podcast/video but they should only be available on request and obtaining the material would be dependent on whether or not the request is justifiable.

  12. Sasha
    Dave Cooke
    12/07/2011 at 1:52 pm Permalink

    As someone who doesn’t generally (if at all) go to my lectures, I love this idea.

    Joking aside however I’ve got to say this is a brilliant idea which I think people should through their full support behind.

    Firstly people say people won’t got to lectures anymore because there’ll be no need. Well firstly that’s not true, people will still go to lectures because you can’t ask a video a question. Are you really saving yourself time an effort by not going to the lecture and then having to wait potentially days for an answer to “what did you mean by that sentence?” whereas you could get the answer instantly if you atteneded.

    Secondly in many ways the video will be superior to lectures, and in these cases why shouldn’t we have them? I’ve been to many lectures (yes I have been to lectures) where lecturers have been difficult to understand, hard to hear or just so unbelievable dull it quite easy for one’s mind to wander to more interesting things no matter how much one is trying to do otherwise. If it’s a recorded video then just go back over it.

    Also, though there are still lecturers out there confused by blackboard, there will be lecturers looking to embrace this surely? Maybe I’m being a little naive but surely there are some educators out there interesting in imparting wisdom more than research or a paypacket. Surely this format would allow a lecturer to release a series of additional supporting lecturers or a 5 minute videos explaining difficult concepts, that aren’t confined by the measly two hours alloted by the gods of the timetable. Surely this gives scope for a lecturer delivering more rather than just delivering the same in a different format? If they don’t? Well that’s Sasha’s job to sort out 😛

    In response to the question would I skip lectures if these were available? Yes I would. I do anyway, and anyone who knows me will show you were that’s got me (other mitigating circumstances aside). With this I, and anyone like me, would stand a fighting chance of seeing something which surely better than nothing. Surely this would also be a massive step forward in increasing accessibility. From serious disabilities and illnesses to an evil hangover there are all manner of legitimate reasons not to go to a lecture and this surely helps with that.

    If everything is on video would this also not be a great way of holding lecturers to account if they do stuff wrong? Might make them think twice about giving a substandard lecture if you can bring up video evidence of how rubbish they’re being in an SSLC or whatever.

    Bring it on! I might actually finish my degree this way…

    PS The potential for some cassetteboy based hilarity is also prime reason to support this.

  13. Sasha
    Naz Chowdhury
    12/07/2011 at 3:43 pm Permalink

    Hey Sasha,
    We’ve touched on this topic before but I am really impressed with all the features available on Blackboard, being about to hear/see the lecture, look at the the slides and type notes simultaneously is an excellent resource. Technology is the way forward and these interactive videos make it so much easier to study when you’re on the run between lectures without having to carry notes, printed slides and textbooks. In one swoop you have made studying more efficient and much more easier.

    I really like this idea, however there is the issue of copyright some lecturers share. I think that lecturers need to decide whether they willing to do this because it seems unfair to me that some disciplines have this technology available to them and others don’t. Being a joint honours student I think that this will be beneficial for both Philosophy and Economics, but I think it would be a let down if only one department participated in these video recording.

    This leads me onto my next issue, if only some departments joined this, for example, Economics but other lecturers were wary due to copyright or have a fear of becoming obsolete such as Philosophy, then I think that I would end up missing lectures. I would prioritise Philosophy being more important because there would be nothing to fall back on, where as Economics would have the excellent resources and for this reason I wouldn’t feel bad about missing lectures. In this hypothetical example, I would feel that going to philosophy lectures is vital where as Economics wouldn’t be as much.

    I do agree with some people, I think that if these recordings show some potential then it would be a great resource to have, but at the same time, I think that it may have to be available through request. I think for students who want to have this resource available to them, it should be and it would be great for those who have learning difficulties or those, like me, who are just not fast enough writers.

    I have a dictaphone already and it is good, and I have found that I don’t give it to others to record my lesson and skip lectures, it actually takes longer to listen to a lecture on my dictaphone than to just attend it. For this reason I think that students in lectures won’t decrease. I have only missed one lecture in the module that I recorded because I was revising for an exam. i just think this is great resource to have when you have a spare hour after a lecture and between lunch and another lesson. I do have one other issue, back ground noise is always a problem and will this be so for video recordings as well? Its hard to drown out 300 odd students shuffling papers and tapping so would there be a feature to drown out back ground sound?

    All in all, my final thoughts are that we are paying for this education and the chance for improvement should be grabbed with both hands, lecturers can be held accountable for unsatisfactory teaching, it makes studying easier and it helps those with learning difficulties or offers extra support. Obviously there are worries as well, but I hope that it is possible to overcome them.

  14. Sasha
    12/07/2011 at 7:26 pm Permalink

    I personally would be one to suggest that while very useful, it would detract me from going away from lectures I don’t feel inclined to go to – and we all know that this is wrong – no matter how many lectures we are all prepared to admit we’ve missed anyway! I’m surprised that the uni has actually gone ahead with this, a very bold move I wouldn’t have predicted. Other than that, I’d find it pretty useful.

  15. Sasha
    15/07/2011 at 2:09 pm Permalink

    I think this is a really good idea. When you enrol onto a course, you do so to learn about your subject, not just to go to lectures.

    If lecture attendance did fall if this were introduced would that actually be a bad thing? If students are learning the material in different ways that are better suited to the way they like to learn that’s surely a good thing.

    Although I would still attend lectures, I don’t find them an easy environment to learn in. They might be going at the wrong pace or I may lose focus for a few seconds and then be lost without the ability to rewind and find out what I missed. I may unintentionally zone-out because they’re covering material that I did hundreds of times at A-Level and once I start listening again they’ve moved on past that material and I’m lost again.

    To wrap up, lectures aren’t the only way (or the best way) to learn and the university should not be holding back this technology if attendance is the only thing that’s going to suffer.

  16. Sasha
    Adam Warren
    25/07/2011 at 3:57 pm Permalink

    This has been a really useful discussion – I’m the guy (now in iSolutions) who is largely responsible for this pilot project with lecture capture at the University.

    There has been a good deal of research in the US and Austrailia, where they’ve been using similar systems for several years, that shows that attendance does not fall much. One of the problems with these recordings is that they are pretty dull to watch compared to the face-to-face lecture. They just lack that live presence. So if you missed the lecture and need to catch up, its an OK second-best. If there was part of the lecture you didn’t follow, you can easily just review that part. But just watching long videos of lectures as an education? No way. I’ve tried watching recordings of 40-minute conference sessions that I’d missed and found it can be really hard to stay focused.

    There is no intention that recordings will replace lectures – they are a supplement for those that want to use them. And as some people commented, we’re hoping that tutors will also produce short supplementary videos to introduce topics or highlight key points. They could also provide general feedback on assignments or advice about what is required – sometimes its easier to have something explained than read instructions.

    We’ll be carefully evaluating their use to decide if it is a good investment – so if your tutor is one of our pilot users, please complete any surveys they send out. Thanks.

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