Despite student concerns that course capture is to be phased out by certain campus departments, campus has stated that there are no such plans to terminate the service.
“The Division of Undergraduate Education is deeply committed to inclusive teaching and student success,” said Shawna Dark, campus chief academic technology officer, in an email. “As such, course capture is not being phased out. On the contrary, we have invested significant funding to increase the availability of course capture in our 208 general assignment classrooms.”
According to Dark, general assignment classrooms using course capture have seen a 500 percent increase since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The fall 2019 semester had 112 sections using course capture, and that number is now up to 552 sections.
Zvezdelina Stankova, a campus teaching professor who is teaching Math 1B this semester, sees course capture as “two sides of a coin.” She began offering a course capture option during the pandemic and has kept it ever since.
“If (students) miss a lecture and are planning, ‘OK, I’m just going to watch the video later on,’ ” Stankova said, “at that very moment they are already behind their classmates who have already experienced the lecture, the new material.”
According to Stankova, in an “ideal world,” she would not have course capture because she believes that in-person lectures provide a richer, better experience for students via networking and experiencing the course alongside other students.
Stankova said she recognizes the value of course capture as a resource for students who need to utilize the tool, such as those with disabilities who would use the recording to review material.
“The Division of Undergraduate Education has always been committed to working in partnership with the Disabled Students’ Program to increase its course capture capabilities,” said Martha Velasquez, interim executive director of the Disabled Students’ Program, or DSP, in an email.
DSP provides not just course capture recordings, but also real-time captioning services. As the number of classrooms with course capture abilities has increased, Velasquez added, real-time remote captioning services have also improved.
Stankova said she has offered an incentive to encourage students to attend in-person classes.
“I do that with two polls; they are math questions that are related to the actual lecture, they are opened up the whole lecture hour, and I stop the polls at the end,” she said. “We discuss their solutions, and everyone sees their results … the course capture is kind of working counter to the interactive experience that you otherwise could get.”
Susan Castillo, a civil engineering major, cites course capture as a helpful tool in case of an emergency — or simply missing class. She also utilizes the recordings to understand topics via review, especially before midterms and finals.
Elizabeth Gonzalez, a media studies major, said she sees how students may fall behind if they are reliant on recordings, but thinks it takes stress off of taking notes in person. She cited recorded lectures as being extremely helpful when she had the flu at the beginning of the semester and thinks recorded lectures are essential in the age of COVID-19.
“Not having recorded lectures is more harmful,” said campus molecular environmental biology major Priyanka Kalidindi. “I do understand that some people think having recorded lectures encourages students to not go to lecture, but for some people it is just a more beneficial way for learning.”