On Thursday 9th November, Guild Education Officer Adam Goldstone announced via Facebook post that changes would be made to the lecture recording policy at the University of Birmingham

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In the post, Goldstone stated that ‘lectures should be recorded, and, if not, an alternative should be provided so that if you do miss a lecture, you’re able to catch up’. He went on to add that ‘just providing lecture slides isn’t enough – it should be detailed notes’, and urged students to comment on the post with their course name if their lecturers do not do this. The post prompted a strong student response, with almost fifty people replying with their degree names ranging from Mechanical Engineering to Philosophy.

'Lectures should be recorded, and, if not, an alternative should be provided'

Panopto is a platform used widely within universities as a method of recording both the audio and visual elements of lectures. Links to the recordings are then posted on Canvas pages for students that were unable to attend the lecture, and also as revision material for key assessments. However, as stated on Canvas, not all UoB staff members choose to use Panopto – something that may change in the near future once the new policy is implemented.

The issue of lecture recordings often inspires debate within the student community, with some who fully support the decision and others who do not. Speaking to Redbrick, Oliver, a third-year Political Science student, said, ‘all of my lecturers who don’t use Panopto do provide good notes’, and criticised the move, saying, ‘I’m happy that lecturers don’t always use it in order to protect their intellectual property, as Panopto content is owned by the university’.

'I’m happy that lecturers don’t always use it in order to protect their intellectual property'

Third-year English with Classical Literature and Civilisation student, Amy, said, ‘although I think it’s important to go to lectures to get the full experience, I think lecturers should be more adept at using Panopto so that sessions do get recorded if you have to miss them’. When asked about the policy change, she said ‘[it is] helpful but makes things perhaps too convenient’.

When asked about Panopto as a platform, fourth-year Computer Science student, Parth, said, ‘I think it’s important for learning throughout the year or for catching up on stuff you missed in a lecture’. He then added that his lecturers appear to have made a conscious effort to maintain consistent lecture uploads: ‘there has been a lot less missed recordings’ [sic].

It is yet to be seen whether or not this policy change will have a significant effect on student experience, but the immediate response does illustrate how this issue is of considerable importance to a wide range of people studying at the University of Birmingham.