Oh no, not this hoary old chestnut again....
Yes, indeed. I've been musing about recording classes since a student asked me for the first time in a long while why I don't record classes regularly, as opposed to when there's a particular reason like a religious holiday or a student who requires a special accommodation.
This is something I haven't thought about in relation to my own classes for a while, and I know some folks do regularly tape (ugh - showing my age!) RECORD their classes.
I don't absolutely hate the idea, but I don't love it either. I suppose an additional concern I have these days is that, in the midst of all the discussion about new tech and distance ed, if we regularly record all classes in a residential program, we run the risk of creating confusion about whether it's actually a hybrid program. I have no objection to hybrid programs, and possibly not even to pure distance programs for that matter, but I tend to think we should be clear about WHICH kind of program we are offering. If it's intended to be a residential program and students are supposed to attend classes and have the benefits of discussion etc as the main professor-student interactions, I worry that regular recording of all classes confuses that objective and students become more inclined to skip class or not participate in class if they come to rely more and more on recordings.
It's possible that many students would use recordings as study aids in the lead-up to an exam, and I take that point, but I always prefer my students who have questions about an aspect of the course to come and talk to me about it in the lead-up to an exam rather than rely on a recording where I suspect it might be easier to take something out of context than in a direct discussion with me. Of course, that means I have to be prepared and available to speak with students in the lead-up to an exam and my policy is to do that.
In recent years, I've also taught mostly upper level discussion-based classes rather than larger 1L classes (the smaller classes do assist with my ability to be available to any students who need to ask questions in the lead up to an exam). I worry that recording smaller more interactive classes might have a chilling effect on class discussions. In a class where most students are going to actively participate in most classes, some students may be reticent to be recorded asking stupid questions (I don't know how true this is - but a few students have mentioned this in the past). I like these kinds of classes to be a safe place in which students can openly make mistakes or raise concerns and confusions. I don't know if recording would negatively affect that dynamic, but I worry that it might.
Maybe I'm wasting too much time thinking about this. It just struck me as an interesting issue in light of the fact that law schools are now thinking more about using technology for course delivery and moving to distance and hybrid education models. Do we need to draw lines more clearly between distance/hybrid versus resident courses as a more general matter, and does recording classes and making the recordings generally available suggest a distance/hybrid model? I don't know and I'm not averse to recording. It's just not something I've done for a while.
Interested in others' thoughts.