What if . . . all lectures were recorded and uploaded online

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Photo by Chris Ho / The Peak

Written by: Gene Cole, Opinions Editor

Imagine a lecture with less than 10 students inside. Students still sit in the back rows, forcing the lecturer to unnecessarily raise their voice. One student is eagerly sitting in the front, prepared to share anecdotes whenever the floor opens to questions. Another is fast asleep, being judged by the other eight students who are just copying the PowerPoint slides.

This might just be a regular 8:30 a.m. class in the middle of the AQ. But, with perfectly and consistently recorded lectures, this uncomfortable ghost town could be the new normal for nearly every lecture. If people could treat every lecture like a podcast, it would be way too hard for most students to justify their journey to campus.

On the plus side, this would make things somewhat nicer in lectures themselves. Missing half the lecture because of a broken bus wouldn’t require an awkward email to the Canvas page asking someone for notes. Students who attend them live would get a calmer experience, while the distracting students would just stay in bed to watch the lecture with dinner.
But it would come at the expense of every tutorial, something that cannot be just as helpful in an online/recorded form. People would be watching their lectures on their own schedule, meaning there would barely be any students — even compared to now — who come ready to talk about that week’s material. Without an hour or two for everyone to even just loosely listen to the prof, there would be an hour of exceptionally more awkward silence soon to come.