Thursday, October 12, 2006

Prof: "Go ahead, record away!"

In class, we recently covered the topic of search & seizure. This topic has been quite hot in the US with "President George W. Bush's domestic eavesdropping program". At Queen's, law professors last year had a lengthy debate about students recording lectures. Some professors were adamantly for it, others were adamantly against.

Professor Stuart, with reference to case law and statute, says: "Go ahead, record away!" (quoted with permission) He notes that lectures given in class are not "private communications" so they are not covered by legislation. Personally, I would respect professors' wishes not to be recorded and I would certainly record for personal use only.

For Mac users, it is very easy to record lectures. Office for Mac comes with a feature "Audio Notes" that can record while you're taking notes. The program saves the audio as well as what is being typed at the time of the recording. For example, if the student misses a point, he or she can click on the note later on and listen to that point within the lecture. It can be a very useful feature. As far as I'm aware, it is not available for the Windows version of Office. notes:
Many first year students record the professor's lectures on tape. This can be a good way to pick things you missed the first time through. One downside, however, is that in the Socratic dialogue, it may be difficult for the tape recorder to pick up both the student's and the professor's voice. You may get only half of the conversation. Furthermore, most students find that they don't have time to listen to the tapes. One alternative is to listen to the tapes while exercising or commuting.
I remember in first year, some students recorded lectures but not many. It may be more prevalent in the US.

For some subjects, it would make sense for lectures to be available in an audio file. Some law schools, such as the University of Chicago and Washington College of Law, provide podcasts to download, but not lectures. The University of Edinburgh is currently working on providing audio lectures for its LL.M. students.


At 12:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recording a prof's lecture would be less a surveillance issue than a copyright one, though only if the professor was simultaneously recording his or her own lecture or had previously fixed substantially enough of the lecture in written notes.


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