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From face-to-face to remote learning: what can we learn from student experiences of pre-recorded lectures in the pandemic?

Secker, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-3047-1212, Reimers, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-9497-0942 & Foley, G. (2022). From face-to-face to remote learning: what can we learn from student experiences of pre-recorded lectures in the pandemic?. Paper presented at the 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, 7-8 Mar 2022, Online Conference. doi: 10.21125/inted.2022.0520


This paper reports on research at a UK university exploring the experiences of students studying International Politics during 2020-2021 when all teaching took place online due to COVID-19. Learning online accentuates the importance of issues such as student digital literacies and self-regulation to cope with a large amount of information from multiple sources [1]. Therefore, we were keen to explore understand how students engaged with online resources in the context of the pandemic.
We conducted eight focus groups with students and a survey which was completed by approximately 80 students. The majority of survey respondents were undergraduates. In total 30 students - a mix of post and undergraduates - participated in focus groups. We also drew upon findings from a survey completed by over 500 students that focused on their ‘digital experiences’ during COVID.

We explored students’ experience of asynchronous learning activities with a specific focus on pre-recorded lectures and their role in promoting deep learning in an online education context. Pre-recorded lectures were created by the lecturers to help provide a more engaging learning experience, but also created as part of an inclusive approach to online learning. Previous studies have taken a similar approach. Murray et al [2] found that student interaction with asynchronous learning resources is tied directly to their perceptions of what resources will be helpful in completing assessments.
Our students commented on the flexibility and autonomy that pre-recorded lectures offered, cutting down on their commute time, being able to access and review at any time and review at their own pace. Over half of the survey respondents indicated that pre-recorded lectures were the most useful resources for their learning. Some even mentioned that they preferred them to face-to-face lectures.
The most common reasons for this are:

Time to make notes; Ability to review content at their own pace. Added value for those with specific learning needs, in addition to the transcript; Useful for assessment: to prepare for essays or exams; Flexibility: can be reviewed in their own time, especially for those with other commitments such as a job.

For these reasons asynchronous content was seen as more inclusive, as long as those with hearing impairments were catered for, for example, with transcripts or captions. We also considered these findings in light of a new lecture recording policy launched in 2021 and we considered whether the pandemic might be an opportunity to change teaching for the better. For example, pre-recorded lectures free up face-to-face time for more small group teaching activities. We discuss the findings in the context of a commuter university, in which many students are travelling to classes from their family home. This paper will also explore the challenges and opportunities presented by pre-recorded lectures and lessons learnt from learning online during the pandemic.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: This article has been published by INTED:
Publisher Keywords: Online learning, recorded lectures, student experiences
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: Professional Services > Learning, Enhancement and Development
[thumbnail of Final Inted paper 520.pdf]
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