Amid student support for recorded lectures, UBC says it will leave the decision up to profs

UBC says that recording lectures will be up to the discretion of individual instructors as students voice widespread support for their availability.

Matthew Ramsey, director of university affairs at UBC Media Relations, explained the policy in a statement emailed to The Ubyssey. He added that certain programs have decided to record all classes, but did not provide any specifics.

While the decision to record lectures is up to the individual prof, Ramsey said that UBC has installed media-capture technology in the majority of classrooms, “so that instructors can record and share portions of their classes where appropriate.” Many courses will be taught in person while also providing students access to asynchronous recorded lectures as well.

“We encourage students to explore options for online and blended courses by reaching out to their programs directly through faculty academic advisors or their graduate programs. The programs are best positioned to advise students of their options,” Ramsey wrote.

With UBC returning to in-person classes in less than a week, a lot of students have expressed support for recorded lectures. For example, the 2021 AMS Return to Campus survey found that lecture capturing will be advantageous in reducing commute time and allowing students to “learn at their own pace.” Others have also noted that recorded lectures could ease the stress of immunocompromised and disabled students who may not be comfortable sitting in a large lecture hall.

Anushka Desai, a second-year student, said that recorded lectures could help those who will not be able to make it to campus in time for the start of in-person classes due to travel restrictions or the mandatory two-week quarantine period for unvaccinated travellers.

“For them to miss about 14 days of classes … [it] is a lot of material and it's very difficult to catch up to it after one point so recording lectures will be really really helpful,” she said.

Suryansh Anand, a third-year student from India, echoed Desai’s comments. Anand, like many others from India, cannot easily return to Canada due to the federal government’s ongoing ban on direct flights from the country.

Anand said that given the current uncertain climate, recorded lectures are especially beneficial now more than ever.

Desai, and second-year Erhan Qian, added that recording lectures would also be convenient for students who can make it to campus by allowing them to refer back to important material after class.

“I do really appreciate having lectures to go back to, just to . . . make sure I have every detail. I think it's more convenient for professors as well because they don't have to answer the same questions at office hours all the time,” Qian said.

When asked if they were more likely to opt for a class that offers recorded lectures over one that does not, there was a unanimous “yes” from Desai, Anand and Qian.

“I feel definitely [that] it’s always a help if you can access your lectures,” Anand said.