An increasing number of universities have chosen to support student learning by providing online recordings of lectures. Research shows that students prefer courses accompanied by online recordings. These recorded lectures provide students with more control over their schedules and learning, allowing them to review lectures when they want, at their own pace and at the place of their choosing.
The article ‘Students and recorded lectures: survey on current use and demands for higher education’ presents the results of a study into the use of recorded lectures by students at two universities in the Netherlands. The authors of the article are researchers Pierre Gorissen and Jan van Bruggen, and Professor Wim Jochems, who are referred to in the article as “we”, both to acknowledge the collaborative nature of the research and as a wider acknowledgment of those who provided financial and other support to the project.
The article is presented in a structured way, consisting of text broken into sub-headings including a preamble, an introduction – including details of prior research, the study itself – the participants, tables of results, discussion of the results and a conclusion. This format is consistent with the structure of most formal research papers, helping to systematically guide the reader through the research process.
In the introduction to the article, the authors clearly identify previous research completed in this area and its limitations, with most studies examining the opinions and perceptions of students and lecturers about the usefulness of recorded lectures rather than measuring their actual usage. The authors then proceed to position their research as both an attempt to address these shortcomings and as part of a wider research project with the overall aim to improve the support for recorded lectures within different usage scenarios. This section may have benefited from the use of “white space” to more clearly present and articulate the objectives the authors sought to achieve.
The findings of the research project are presented through a combination of statistical analysis of survey results as well as an analysis of the quantitative data collected through student interviews. This form of methodological triangulation increased the credibility and validity of the results. Statistical tools used to analyse the results included a Chi-square test to measure significant associations between key variables and a Spearman’s Rank Order correlation analysis to examine the relationship between students’ answers. These statistical analysis tools were not explained, however, the intended audience of fellow academics, researchers and university support staff would be generally familiar with the use of statistical tools to analyse survey data. I personally had not come across any of these terms, but could understand how they were applied in the context of the manner by which the survey results were presented.
Whilst the authors draw some conclusions based on this statistical analysis, they also recognise the limitations inherent in such analysis. The proof that carried the most weight was, therefore, that which confirmed the findings of previous research.
As a current university student who has access to recorded lectures, the outcomes of the study have particular interest and relevance to me and my fellow students. In particular, the article has raised a number of important considerations for my own research project. This includes ensuring that the selection of my survey questions enable comparisons to be drawn to prior research, using appropriate statistical analysis to examine the relationship between survey responses, testing my survey prior to having it completed, and using a combination of multiple choice and semi-structured questions – with the latter being able to qualify the results of the multiple-choice questions. It may also be interesting to determine the effect of different influencers on the use of recorded lectures, such as differences in gender, contents of actual recorded lectures and courses or departments.