Response: Lecture recordings mean fewer students are turning up – does it matter?

No. But being oblivious to the technological changes means that traditional lectures have become redundant and unnecessary

Last evening, I came across this article written by educators from the University of Western Australia. The headline goes “Lecture recordings mean fewer students are turning up – does it matter?”. Their research showed that 18% of students didn’t attend lectures because they were available online. The authors argued that although lecture recordings had its benefits, they resulted in students not attending lectures. This sounds to me like a faulty and biased conclusion. From my own surveys and observations, and being a student myself, I know that students miss lectures because they don’t see any point in them. I do not have access to the researchers’ questionnaire, but I am guessing that it was flawed and biased towards their assumption.
When knowledge is available at your fingertips, why would you bother travelling seven seas to attend an hour of something that might be more easily explained online by some Youtuber? When I read the article, I was reminded of the AI critics that say AI shouldn’t exist at all because they pose a danger to humanity and danger to jobs. These are the same people who, in the 20th century, would have said machines shouldn’t exist at all for similar reasons. One cannot simply run away from change. One can either adapt or perish.
The researchers seem critical of the change. That information is available to students on their phones is something they don’t appreciate. How often does a person who was born after the 1990s gets told that their addiction to technology is detaching them from the ‘real world’. I would argue that people who have a hard time accepting the change around them- the availability of technology and vast amounts of information to everyone, are the ones detached from reality. Their nostalgia has them anchored to an era that no longer exists. 
Are the lecturers the sole authority on the topic in the lecture hall anymore? Do students want factual information delivered to them in an hour-long monologue? We know from research that the attention spans in the past couple of decades have reduced significantly and that people are used to multi-tasking all the time. Why are the educators so oblivious to such facts? 
As a student and as an entrepreneur, I would urge educators and the authors of the original article to align themselves to the reality of the 21st century. Because not doing so would mean hindering the growth of you and your students and not reaching the potential that modern technology affords us.

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