Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Do we really need to record this session?

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

There is a tendency to record webinars and online classes as a matter of course. A recording can increase the impact of a webinar and a recorded class session allows absent students to catch up and gives those who attended the chance to revise what was discussed. At the same time vast amounts of storage space are taken up with recordings that are seldom, if ever, viewed and the mountain just keeps growing. Often the red recording light discourages people from participating, cameras and microphones are switched off and the chat contributions are minimal. It's time to regularly ask ourselves whether we really need to record this session, who we might exclude if we record and what more inclusive practices we can replace it with.

A timely article by Per Axbom looks at the sensitive issue of permission to record, Consent for recording meetings. Too often we simply ask at the beginning of a meeting if it's ok to record and if no one objects within a few seconds then we press the button.

Asking if it is okay to record when everyone is already in the meeting does not provide basis for a well-founded consent. Requiring someone to raise their voice in a situation with a clear risk of peer pressure is not a context that gives power to those who need to opt out.

Always strive to request recording consent before a meeting takes place. This ensures that people who want to object do not risk ending up vulnerable in a situation where their position is judged or questioned by others.

There are many people who do not want their names, faces or voices recorded for public viewing and few are brave enough to say so. Of course they can simply turn off their microphones and cameras and not contribute to the chat but then you are excluding them from the communication that is or should be the focus of  online meetings. The default should probably be not to record. If we do record there must be a clear reason for doing so and this must be communicated before the session. Axbom also suggests making it clear where the recording will be posted and how long it will be available.

One option is to only record the input from speakers (with permission of course) and edit out any comments from participants. If recording is in progress, the speaker and moderator should avoid referring to the names of people who have asked a question in the chat or the Q&A. Just say that we have an interesting question here in the chat and keep the name out of the discussion. It's maybe impersonal and I admit to using names in such situations but not revealing names may encourage more participants to speak or chat if that red button is on.

In online classes many teachers use collaborative note-taking as an alternative to recording. Nominate a couple of students to take notes for each session and let them do so on a shared document that the whole class has access to. At the end of the lesson the class can check the notes and add comments or links that may have been missed. In this way everyone is involved in the recording process and the skills of note-taking and summarising will be essential in their future careers.

Axbom concludes with the reason for not pressing the record button so often in future:

Consider and think through needs, power structures, vulnerability and inclusion before you risk normalizing something that can lead to people feeling uncomfortable, unwilling to participate or unwilling to contribute.

No comments:

Post a Comment