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September 30, 2015


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Bill Turnier

At UNC, up until I retired last year, I can tell you that all classes were recorded and the podcast access was emailed to the teacher within about 15 minutes after class ended. The professor then was in control of whether given students should be accorded access. I required students who wanted access to email me stating their excuse for missing class. The honor code applied to such communications. My reason for so restricting access was that I did not want students staying home and not attending class. It worked very well especially in cases of sickness, bad weather, problems with daycare, out of town interviews, funerals and even weddings.

Howard Wasserman

I audio-record all classes in an MP3 and post it to the course blog right after class. It originally was my quid pro quo for banning laptops--I likened it to having to take notes by hand during a deposition, then receiving the transcript for review a few days later. Students appreciate the opportunity to go back and fill-in their notes and listen to some things they missed the first time through. It has not affected attendance, but that is because we track attendance and a student may be barred from taking the final exam if she misses more than a certain number of classes. I have seen nothing to indicate it has had a chilling effect.

David S. Cohen

I record all my 1L classes, but not my discussion-based upper level courses. I have told the students that if attendance or in-class engagement suffered, I would stop. I haven't had that happen though. I've been doing it for three years now, and it's been an entirely positive experience.

Al Brophy

I record all my classes and make the recordings available to all the students.

Jacqui Lipton

That's an interesting idea re being a quid pro quo for banning laptops, Howard. I've never actually minded laptops in class but I'm probably in the minority there.
And I do have to admit that in the olden days when recording quality wasn't so good (and when we were limited to audio recordings too), I was more concerned about students relying on recordings than I perhaps would be now. The quality has definitely improved.
For those who do record, is it audio only (out of interest) or do you have video as well?

Howard Wasserman

I do audio-only so I can control the recording. I don't have to coordinate with IT, wait for it to be uploaded, etc. I bought an MP3 player for about $100. There also are a dozen different smartphone apps you could use.

Matthew Bruckner

I have a question about the nuts and bolts of recording that Howard's reply starts to answer but not completely.

Are your room's miked such that normal speaking voices are picked up by whatever you're using to record? Or is loading an app on my iphone, which I place at the front of the class sufficient to pick up everything said in normal speaking voices?


Howard Wasserman

Our rooms are not miked. The recorder I use can pick up stuff from the back of the room, although how well depends on the shape of the room and I often have to remind students to use their outdoor voices. But it does well enough, I think. And a phone app does equally well. Excuse the shameless, plug, but my Evidence class blog is; you are welcome to listen to some of the videos and see how they sound.

Howard Wasserman

That should be "listen to some of the audios"

Jeff Schmitt

I record all of my classes and make the recordings available to all. My school has a program that records the PowerPoint slides as well as the audio. I always worry that students may not take notes or pay as much attention in class, but it hasn't stopped me from recording yet.

Camilla Highwater

Oh no, not that hoary old "hoary old chestnut" chestnut again . . .

Howard Wasserman

Jeff: Interesting It never dawned on me that recording would cause students to not take notes or not pay attention. I figured attention would come from the fact that it is still a law school class, I'm still asking questions, and class participation is still part of their grade. As for note-taking, I actually was encouraged by the possibility that they would feel less pressure to take copious, verbatim notes (the tendency when taking notes on a laptop) in favor of staying engaged with the conversation, knowing they could go back and fill-in the blanks.

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