Petition launched to make livestreaming and recorded lectures mandatory at KU

The Union of Kingston Students has launched a petition to make livestreaming and recording of lectures mandatory for KU courses.

Sami Mehkri, the Vice President of Education for the Union of Kingston Students (UKS) launched the petition on November 5, calling for the university to reinstate online learning techniques used during the last academic year.

He said: “I’ve been approached by a lot of students from different campuses, telling me that they’re heard from their lecturers that lectures will not be livestreamed or recorded anymore because we’re coming back to on-campus learning, which is causing great hindrance to their education.”

Since on-campus classes were reinstated in September, and after a year of blended learning via Canvas and Microsoft Teams, lecturers no longer have to provide livestreamed or recorded lectures for students, though in some areas this does still happen.

A KU Spokesperson said: “In line with current government guidance, which we have followed throughout the pandemic, teaching for the majority of courses is now taking place on campus.

Some elements of online delivery have been retained where this enhances students’ learning.”

They added that the university is working with the University and College Union (UCU) to identify best practice from the sector for lecture recording/capture to support the blended learning experience.

The Former Education Secretary Gavin Williams told Sky News on August 10 that universities not providing face-to-face teaching should not be charging full fees.

“We would expect universities to be offering a high-quality teaching experience and part of that is actually doing face-to-face lectures,” he told Sky in the summer.

Mehkri argues that these students who may miss classes due to accessibility issues, ill health, living abroad or those who are shielding do not have sufficient access to lecture materials if they cannot attend campus.

It is not just students affected by Covid-19 that have benefitted from blended learning and recorded lectures, other students with accessibility needs and mental or physical health needs also found it helpful.

Charlie Ann, an accounting student, said: “I think classes should be recorded and be able to be accessed online because I have a lot of mental health issues that sometimes make me unable to come into physical lectures.

“If everything was recorded, I would be further ahead in my studies, but instead I have to catch up with only slides and a word document here and there.”

Some courses may not benefit as much as others from mandatory livestreaming and recording, as practical-based courses suffered during Covid-19 lockdowns, due to lack of access to studios and workshops.

Interior design student Eulah Taylor said: “It’s really good for me being back on campus because I learn best when I’m in the studio surrounded by my peers sharing ideas.”

Mehkri said there may have to be specific planning for certain courses, as well as protocols and regulations put in place, to ensure that students who can come in, do so.

Mehkri said: “In the live streaming and recording process there might be certain hurdles when it comes to practical courses. However I’m sure we can try and come up with solutions for students who will not be able to attend.

“I’d like to let students know that we’re always here for them and they can always email us or approach us at the Union: studentsunion@kingston.ac.uk,” he added.

A KU spokesperson said: “We are continuing to gather feedback from students on the learning experience this academic year through our Student Voice platforms, which includes regular pulse surveys, and our student reps.”

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