Views from abroad: Listen Again is great, but…

Veronica Wernicke, Assistant Opinion Editor

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Welcome to another edition of “Views from abroad.” This week, I am spilling the tea on a Canvas feature that my study abroad host school, the University of Stirling, uses called “Listen Again.”

As I mentioned in an earlier edition of this column, Listen Again is a feature on Canvas that allows students to listen back on lectures from their classes. Listen Again records not only the professor’s voice as they lecture, but it also records their slides on the computer screen so you can follow right along.

This feature is great, especially if you missed the lecture or something from the slides. It also makes the justification of skipping your one Friday class to, say, take a weekend trip to Liverpool a litter easier – not that I would know anything about that.  

I have already found myself often utilizing this feature when I cannot seem to write fast enough during my lecture and miss something important.

Under the Learning support section of the University of Stirling’s website, they state further use and guidelines for Listen Again.

“Listen Again is a lecture capture facility used by students to engage effectively with learning materials and as a revision tool,” the site says. “It is University policy that Listen Again be used for all undergraduate and taught postgraduate modules where recording facilities are available within the teaching room. Non-lecture based teaching such as tutorials, seminars, practical classes, feed-forward/feedback sessions or flipped classroom classes are not required to be recorded [but you can personally record them]. Lectures should be recorded when delivered by a member of academic staff employed by the University and not when delivered by, for example by a guest speaker, except with their express agreement. Recordings should be released to students as soon as they become available.”

While it is an important resource for students who missed class, it seems even more important as a revision tool. Revisions are the three-week period between classes ending and finals starting – do not get me started on this.

From what I have heard and seen in all the British TV shows I watch, revisions seem like an intense time – a little too intense given you have three weeks and not all your classes have finals. So, if students missed any classes or want to study better for their finals, they are just a few clicks away from listening back on all their lectures.

This fact is probably another reason UNC Wilmington does not and will not utilize this tool, as we thankfully do not have to wait three weeks between the last day of classes and finals. Still, when I first heard about this feature, I was a bit taken aback by it. If something like this was implemented at UNCW, no one would show up to class right?

In fact, my Digital Media and Culture professor here at Stirling only does his lectures on Listen Again and doesn’t even hold in-class lectures anymore because of the low in-class attendance he noticed when the university started using Listen Again. We still meet for a lab and seminar (group discussions based on the lecture material) once a week, but the meat of our material is in an online class form.

Here at UNCW, the temptation of the beach might be far too enticing with something like Listen Again in place. We also heavily rely on our friends and classmates to catch us up anything we missed in class. I would be very interested to see how much this would affect UNCW in-class attendance.

While a feature like Canvas’s Listen Again is a great resource, I do not see it being appropriately implemented at our school. It might be useful to some, but I imagine far too many students using it as an excuse over and over again not to go to class and then forgetting to actually go and listen to lecture(s) they missed. And that is the tea.

Cheers from Scotland!

Would you still attend class if UNCW had "Listen Again?"

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