Does anyone still want to watch recorded lectures?

Deputy President (Education)
Tuesday 24 November 2020

Should all lectures be recorded? Tell us what you think!


With most teaching being primarily online this year it seems almost unreal how we used to enjoy the luxury of being able to use Panopto to catch up on that one (or ten…) 9am lecture that we missed because we didn’t want to get out of bed early, or that we ever worried about some lectures not being available online. But things will eventually go back to normal, in-person lectures will resume, and if we want Panopto recordings to be available for every lecture course, now is the time to care.  

The College is currently in the process of developing a new Digital Education Recording Policy. This document outlines who retains the rights to lecture recordings, what they can be used for, and if it should be compulsory to record all lectures. The first draft of the policy has now entered the consultation stage – this means that the College is asking both staff and students to comment on its contents before the final version is presented to Provost’s Board for approval in Term 2. The current version of the policy and information about how to get involved in the consultation can be found here

The policy is pretty long and most of it is not really relevant to students, but here are two important new rules being introduced:  

The policy states that “The College will provide recordings of the following Educational Activities to students: lectures, seminars and symposiums” – this means that, if approved, all lecture courses will have to be recorded and made available to students. This would be a great win for students, making things more equal across the departments and giving all students access to an invaluable study and revision tool. What’s more, you would have access to these recordings until you graduate.  

While the policy is clear that no recording should be used to instigate a disciplinary procedure, it says it’s ok to use a recording as evidence in an already initiated investigation. This means that if the lecturer or a student is accused of doing something inappropriate – for example, being openly homophobic or racist in the lecture – the recording can be used to establish whether it was true or not. This seems rather obvious to me; of course you would look at the recording if you wanted to find out if something really happened, instead of relying on witness testimony only.  

However, none of this is set in stone yet – the policy will likely change based on the outcome of the consultation. Some staff members have expressed their dissatisfaction with both points mentioned above; they don’t want it to be compulsory to record lectures, and they disagree with using lecture recordings as evidence (to be honest, I am not too sure why). If the only people who get involved with the consultation are staff members who don’t want to record their lectures, we are likely to go back to how things were before – with Panopto recordings only available for some courses, and without any guarantee they won’t be withheld.  

We need our voices to be heard in this consultation. If students want their lectures to be recorded, this need to be made very clear. 

Here’s what you can do to get involved: 

  • Fill in this survey to tell us if you think all lectures should be recorded or not 

  • Write to me, telling me whether you agree with the rules introduced in the current version of the policy (

  • Take part in the consultation – write to telling them why you think lectures should be recorded, and how you think the recordings should be used