Since WSU’s transition to distance-learning methods due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, two main methods are in use by instructors to teach their classes: Zoom lecture sessions or pre-recorded lectures. While pre-recorded lectures and assignments may offer flexibility to students, having Zoom sessions helps students to remain more accountable and on track.
“The nice thing about Zoom is it gives you a specific time of when you have to be somewhere and kinda keeps you more on schedule … I’d say a Zoom lecture probably keeps people more in touch with a regular school atmosphere,” said Clayton Peloquin, a sophomore computer science major.
Zoom lectures consist of students logging onto live virtual class sessions, along with their instructor and fellow classmates, at the previously specified class time. Therefore, if a class was normally held at 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, then students are required to log into that specific class’s Zoom session at that time in order to receive credit for attendance as well as learn new information.
It is important to note that the format and direction of each class is ultimately at the will of the instructor. A Zoom class could require nearly or the same amount of attention and participation that it would normally require if it were still being held with face-to-face methods.
“I like live [Zoom] classes, because I have the opportunity to ask any question I have that’s related to the class. With pre-recorded [lectures] I feel like I don’t have the liberty to do that, and it’s nice to hear a response right away,” said Naeem Shook, a sophomore architecture major.
Shook said being successful in his major has become more difficult since the transition to online. In addition to having all of his classes online, instructors are uploading their PowerPoint slides to Blackboard for student access after the Zoom session has ended. His classes tend to involve constant interaction and discussion between the students and instructors, which Zoom has catered nicely to.
Meanwhile, if an instructor decides to use pre-recorded lectures in order to present information to their students, then these lectures take on the form of videos that are posted to Blackboard. These can be accessed at any time by students, who do not have to log onto their computers at specific times in order to learn the necessary information for their classes.
Pre-recorded lectures can prove helpful in terms of accessibility. They can be accessed at any hour of the day from any place with an internet connection. This provides a great deal of flexibility to students who have currently busy schedules, especially those who have found work at essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In these situations, students may benefit in the long run from having pre-recorded lectures. However, open access to lectures does not promote proper time management or study habits.
“With pre-recorded [lectures] some students may just blow that over, but with a live Zoom call it’s better for the student because they can’t skip that or blow it over,” Shook said.
The decision to hold a class via Zoom or pre-recorded methods does involve a variety of factors such as internet connection strength and the ability of the instructor to translate their material to an online format. In these cases, recording a lecture and posting it for students to view anytime ends up being a viable option. Holding a live Zoom session will always require students to maintain a level of accountability and maintenance that pre-recorded lectures do not demand.