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Re: No lecture recordings or laptops in this unit 

 

Dear Professor,   

I write in reply to your email regarding your policy to not release lecture recordings for this unit or to not allow the use of laptops to take notes during your lectures. While you argue that both these policies ensure a heightened learning experience for your students, it is my argument that your policies are in fact detrimental to your students’ learning.   

Students these days work to eat. Government payments that low-income students receive are not enough. Without a part-time job to fill the gap, a choice is made between paying the bills and eating. An article by the ABC in May last year concluded that students across Victoria who live independently are struggling. Students are “living under the poverty line.”  

By refusing to record your lectures, it disadvantages the students who don’t have the privilege of living off mummy and daddy’s money. While I agree that a full time student should treat their degree as their only job, we live in a reality where the government do not allow this luxury. Stop making the choice between eating and education difficult, and let us use modern technology to solve this problem.  

With the advent of modern technology, we can accommodate individual differences in learning styles. By refusing to record lectures, you disadvantage students who use lecture recordings in their own unique way to tackle the information in your unit. If you can’t quite grasp the concept that not everyone learns like you did at university, I’ll give you some examples.  

Lectures can be a distracting place and not everyone can learn effectively in this environment. For some, there is nothing more stressful than sitting in a lecture theatre for two hours with no air-conditioning, while the group behind them whispers about Brad and Stacey’s break up. Lecture recordings mean students can choose to listen in a quiet place, away from distractions.   

Even if we do have the pleasure of attending your lecture, there are some of us that like to go back and watch them again. This could be to clarify something we didn’t understand, or take more intensive notes from your lecture. Without the recordings, you deny your students the right to discover creative ways in which they can get more out of their education.   

You argue that laptops in lectures impede the learning of those around them. It can be difficult to concentrate when someone in front is looking at some pretty good memes. However, without giving students the opportunity as adults to make the conscious decision to be mindful of those around them, you deny the rest of us the right to use our resources.  

I understand the sentiment. Personally, I think they can be a distraction in a lecture theatre. But after sitting in your lectures, I’ve made a confounding discovery that even without laptops, distractions still exist.

Instead of banning laptops, remind students of how their decisions can affect others. It is possible that students can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and stay on task. As for the students that continue to spend their lecture time scrolling through Facebook, what are you still doing here?  

If the majority of your unit’s information and readings are online, you’ve obviously embraced modern technology in some form. So when you refer to something specific from our resources, are you really expecting us to pull out a giant binder so we know what the hell you’re talking about? Laptops save paper, and they save students from having to carry around a hundred notes everyday. 

Moreover, typing is so much clearer than handwriting. No matter how hard I try, readable handwriting can never seem to keep up with the amount of information in your lecture. And without recordings, you make it difficult for me, and possibly other students from learning anything of substance from your lectures.   

By banning laptops and refusing to record record lectures, it does more harm than good. 

 

Thank you for your time,  

Your disgruntled student.  

Bridget Hackett

The author Bridget Hackett

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