Education in the 22-23 Academic Year: Lecture Recordings and the Transition towards Blend@UGent

On 26 April 2022 the Education Council approved the education framework for the 2022-2023 academic year. The Education Tip below contains the main points. Read the full policy memo here (in Dutch). 

Towards Blend@UGent: A Transition Year

In the first term of the 22-23 academic year, study programmes will take the time to implement the Blend@UGent vision to their specific contexts. To this end, the APOLLO 8 project will provide discussion guidelines and guidance for Programme Committees. When our study programmes implement Blend@UGent fully in the 23-24 academic year, it will be in a well-considered and feasible manner. 

Our aim is to embed (new) digital teaching methods with which students and lecturers have had positive experiences in a sustainable manner. In so doing, we uphold the key principles of premium-quality education, i.e. that:

  • it is active,
  • it stimulates interaction,
  • and that it is well-structured.

 

Well-considered Use of Lecture Recordings in the 22-23 Academic Year

Our study programmes can take time to develop a programme-specific vision on blended learning during the 22-23 AY. It is important, however, to already set out a number of criteria on lecture recordings at the very start of the academic year. These criteria are based on research, the importance of on-campus presence, and our general education policy. 

Evidence-based 

Recent research into lecture recordings (Dommet et al., 2019; Bailly et al., 2022) tells us that:

  • the availability of lecture recordings carries a real risk of reducing on-campus attendance, which is, in turn, linked to weaker study results;
  • the advantages of lecture recordings fully come into their own only when the recordings are used as additional study materials (e.g. re-viewing more difficult elements), and as an addition to on-campus attendance;
  • specific target (sub)groups gain more from lecture recordings, e.g. students who are temporarily unable to come to campus (overlaps in their timetables, temporary circumstances, students staying abroad), students working their way through university, or students with another mother tongue. 

Find out more about this research in the policy memo ‘Education in the 2022-2023 Academic Year

The Importance of On-campus Attendance 

In line with the research findings described above, and with Ghent University’s general education policy, our lecturers and study programmes have also emphasized the importance of on-campus attendance. Not only have they put forward the potential negative impact on study results, but also the following arguments:

  • Ghent University does not want to be/become an online or distance university. Instead, we want to focus on active education that stimulates interaction;
  • students help to give shape to the classes. Active learning fully comes into its own only when students actively attend class;
  • education must never be reduced to the mere act of self-paced online knowledge assimilation. A set of important generic skills can only be fully taught in on-campus education;
  • on-campus attendance is necessary to build a social network and make social contacts. In so doing, students can create a feeling of understanding and  community. This holds especially true for our current generation of first- and second-year students who have had little or no experience with on-campus education;    
  • on-campus attendance is necessary for students to learn such essential attitudes and skills as planning, organizing, punctuality, problem solving, making arrangements and working together, addressing people, listening, taking notes and giving structure without a backup, being /remaining concentrated for a longer period of time, ….   

Recording Lectures, Or Not? Weighing the Criteria

Five Criteria

Our lecturers have the autonomy to decide whether or not it is useful and/or advisable to record their lecturers. They do so in close consultation with their study programme, and by means of five criteria. These criteria are cumulative, meaning that it is important to go over all of them thoroughly before taking a decision. 

1. On-campus Attendance: Didactic Added ValueDe pedagogische meerwaarde van on campus aanwezigheid in deze les 

 

(best) not recorded are on-campus classes with a strong focus on interaction and/or during which attendance has a clear added value for students:

  • exercises, practicals, tutorials, labs, projects, response lectures, case studies, etc;
  • lectures with high-level interaction;
  • lectures that are preparation for practicals;
  • lectures with a focus on deep processing of the subject matter;
  • lectures in which privacy aspects, permission or sensitive topics are discussed;

 

Lectures with limited or no interaction and with a large degree of one-directional knowledge transfer, which do not meet the above conditions:

  • can take place on campus and are preferably also recorded;
  • OR can take place online and be recorded, provided that they are  supplemented with some on-campus response lectures that are not recorded;
  • OR can be replaced by independent self-study activities in the form of an online learning path in which, for example, knowledge clips, elements from previously recorded lectures and/or processing assignments are discussed, supplemented with on-campus interactive classes / response lectures that are not recorded.

 

 

 

For this criterion, co-ordination at study programme level, and within the Programme Committee is important.

  • (best) not recorded are classes/lectures in the Bachelor’s curriculum during which a sufficient on-campus attendance is important in terms of  academic and social integration, acquiring important generic competencies, creating social understanding, and of mental well-being. On-campus attendance is also important for creating interaction and connection between lecturers and students, which is crucial for an optimal learning process. In accordance with the framework for education that was approved by the Education Council on 22 March 2021, we recommend that a minimum of 70% and preferably more on-campus education be offered in the first Bachelor’s year. As the students progress, the share of on-campus education can drop to a minimum of 60% in the second Bachelor’s year, a minimum of 50% in the third Bachelor’s year and a minimum of 30% in the Master’s;
  • classes in the first term of the first Bachelor’s year merit special attention. We recommend not to record these lectures unless there are sound reasons to do so;
  • classes in higher years, for students who are more advanced in their study career can take place online, can be partially replaced by independent work and response lectures, or can take place on campus and be recorded.

 

 

For this criterion, co-ordination at study programme level, and within the Programme Committee is important. Timetables are drawn up, and rescheduling course units at this point is out of the question. Lecturers teaching during a same half-day or day best consult with each other. 

  • the timetable should group together  on-campus classes that are not being recorded and practicals as much as possible. This makes the students’ commute to the campus necessary and worthwhile at the same time (for part or the whole of the day);
  • try to avoid a mix of online classes or on-campus classes with recordings and practicals or on-campus classes that are not being recorded. This makes students feel that their commute to campus is not worthwhile way, and often they will not undertake it;
  • if an online class is scheduled between two on-campus classes in the students’ timetable, please consider thoroughly whether an on-campus alternative is possible. Providing additional rooms for students to take online classes on campus is no easy matter at various campuses. Therefore it is best avoided. 

 

 

At Ghent University, we believe there must be seats in the classroom for all students at all times, at least for on-campus teaching activities. The considerable increase in student numbers in recent years, however, has resulted in a failure to schedule appropriately sized rooms for all classes. This has caused certain study programmes/lecturers to suggest  lecture recordings as a possible solution. We do not feel, however, that offering lecture recordings for purely practical reasons would be a good practice if it means denying a group of students some of the important benefits of on-campus education

For the 2022-2023 academic year, certain student groups will have to take into account the reality of a room that is too small to accommodate (too) large student groups.  In such cases, streaming the lectures might sometimes be inevitable, even if on-campus attendance of all the students has a a clear added value. We recommend to limit streaming/recording lectures for purely practical reasons to a minimum, to review this case by case, and if possible, to also limit it in time (e.g. the first classes of the first term, when there usually are many more students than at a later point in the term).

 

 

If the lecturer and/or the study programme decides not to record lectures, they must ensure that sufficient learning material is available for the course unit. After all, solid course material is a valid and necessary alternative to lecture recordings and enables students with special needs or students from specific target groups to properly catch up on a class. In the absence of lecture recordings, sound course material also guarantees that our education remains sufficiently inclusive.

This valid alternative can take various forms. We, therefore, expect lecturers to ensure the availability of sufficient learning material such as a good textbook, a solid coursebook, a PowerPoint with narration, a series of knowledge clips, lecture recordings from last year or another digital alternative, etc. The mere provision of slides/powerpoints is not considered proper course material. As long as no proper course material is available, lecturers should record their lessons and make them available to the students.

 

Recommendations and Guidelines for Lecture Recordings

  • Lecture recordings have added value especially as supplementary study material in preparation for exams. Lecturers can choose to make lecture recordings available as additional study material in preparation for the evaluation if recordings are not made available as standard for the course concerned.
  • If lectures are recorded as standard for a course, try to make them available as soon as possible after the lecture and make sure they remain available until the end of the resit examination period.
  • convey to your students the importance of attending classes, and of how to deal with lecture recordings properly. Focus on how active attendance has a positive impact on study success, on the importance of social understanding among students and lecturers, and of building a social network;
  • provided that the contents is still topical, you could also make available recordings of a previous year instead of making new ones. However,  “recycled” lecture recordings can never replace an entire set of education activities in the current year. In a blended education trajectory, they can be used as an element of self-study, in combination with exercises or response lectures;
  • consider whether to simply record the lecture, or record and stream the lecture. Keep in mind that streaming can also have a negative impact on lecture attendance;
  • in case there are no (new) lecture recordings, you must take into account the facility ‘access to lecture recordings’ for specific students. Students can only apply for this facility for lectures, not practicals, exercise sessions or classes demanding high-level interaction. This facility, in other words, does not jeopardize attaining the study programme competencies. The Disability Office monitors whether or not this facility is an absolute necessity. Not every student in their target group is granted access to lecture recordings by default. Read here how you can do this in Ufora

General guidelines, recommendations as well as specific tips on lecture recordings such as copyright, privacy, how to share lecture recordings, external parties, … can be found in this Education Tip.

 

Last modified Sept. 19, 2022, 4:45 p.m.