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Category Academic
Type Guideline
Approved by Senate, 28 September 2022
Date Guideline Took Effect 28 September 2022
Last approved revision 
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible officer Senior Analyst, Research and Policy

Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.


These guidelines present good practice guidelines for teachers and students in the use of lecture recordings and other teaching activities. These guidelines are designed to assist those who have direct input into the design and implementation of teaching/learning activities and structuring courses.

These guidelines are for staff:

  • to inform how they may structure learning activities and scaffold student engagement when lecture recordings are used as an integrated part of the suite of resources within a paper; and
  • to base tailored advice and support to students within their own teaching contexts.

Organisational scope

The Guidelines apply to all staff and students of the University of Otago.


When reading this document, the definition of “lecture recording” needs to be kept in mind. The following definitions are taken from the Recording of Lectures and Other Teaching Activities Policy.

includes all lectures, tutorials, laboratories, seminars and other teaching activities relating to enrolled students.
capturing part or all of a lecture via audio, video, photographic or other technologies, or the product of such capture (e.g. a photograph, video or audio file).

Recording of Lectures and Other Teaching Activities Policy


  1. Preamble

    1. Where recordings of lectures and other teaching sessions are concerned, two questions should be considered:
      1. How can we take advantage of the ability to record our teaching sessions to support and enhance our papers, teaching and learning? To guide a response to this question, this document outlines principles underpinning good practices related to lecture recording at the University of Otago.
      2. Should lectures be recorded? This question is best answered at the Department / Programme / paper level. It is intended that the principles and practices outlined in this document will contribute to, and inform, local discussion and decision making.
    2. It is important to note that lecturer recording is optional at the University of Otago, but that the decision to record or not to record should be founded on departmental discussion. It is important that staff and students are clear about the rationale behind decisions concerning the recording of teaching activities.
    3. Research has shown the potential benefits of lecture recordings to student learning. However, there are still concerns that the provision of lecture recordings to students might alter the nature of students' engagement with learning in negative rather than positive ways.
    4. Wider concerns about the place of the lecture within any paper, and the changing value placed on 'the lecture' by teachers and students, point to broader challenges that are related to a myriad of factors including the evolving nature of teaching and learning at university, felt in many higher education contexts across the world.
    5. At Otago, an ongoing exploration of implementing institution-wide lecture recording protocols across all papers has revealed that decisions to record are at the discretion of the Department, Programme, or Division. This arrangement enables decision-making about recordings to be made at the level where it makes most sense.
    6. It is important that the issue of the gradual decline in the numbers of students attending lectures in person that was occurring before the pandemic, is separated from the focus of this document, which is about the thoughtful and deliberate use of lecture recordings. The relationship between declining lecture attendance and lecture recording is not a simple causal one. It cannot be assumed that recording lectures is the only reason for declining numbers of students attending lectures in person, in real time. While the nature of student access to lectures through the provision of recorded lectures does have an impact on engagement, a lecture, whether recorded or in-person, is only one component in a whole system of interacting and interdependent components that make up a whole learning environment.
    7. Based on the assumption that the ability to record teaching and learning events is possible, this document focuses attention on presenting a set of guiding principles and practices to inform discussion and decision-making about how to use recordings in ways that will capitalise upon the advantages they can have for teachers, learners, and the enhancement of the learning environment.
  2. Principles

    1. Recorded lectures are resources that teachers and students can utilise to enhance engagement and support active learning and promote equitable access for diverse students.
      • A lecture or a lecture recording is one resource and, like resources available to students in a library, teachers cannot assume that the lecture or its recording will, on its own, provide sufficient support for students to succeed in their learning.
      • Lecture recordings can be used as supplementary learning materials or, as in situations such as a pandemic, they can be critical resources for supporting emergency and remote learning.
      • For distance and online students, lecture recordings may provide the mainstay of teaching and thus, in some situations, be core to student learning.
      • Lecture recording supports accessibility and inclusion for students with vision impairments; dyslexia and other learning difficulties; autism spectrum disorders; anxiety; and other disabilities, as well as note-takers where these are provided by Disability Information and Support.
    2. There are various recording types, including, for example, class lecture recordings, student activities, teacher-self recordings, voice-over audio recordings, recordings where patients or guest lecturers are involved. Each type of recording requires that any intellectual property rights and associated privacy concerns be addressed.
    3. The provision of recorded lectures can be used to guide students towards directing their own learning in ways they know suit them best.
      • Teachers play a critical role in directing and guiding students' use of recorded lectures to help students get the most from the resource.
      • Active student engagement in learning is encouraged when teachers integrate recorded lectures appropriately within learning activities.
    4. Lecture recordings that contain third-party copyrighted material need to acquire appropriate copyright permission.
      • Special attention should be given to adhering to legal requirements concerning intellectual property rights, academic freedom and privacy legislation, policy and regulations.
      • Both teachers and students have responsibilities where the storage, access and distribution of recordings are concerned.
      • See details in the Recording of Lectures and Other Teaching Activities Policy and the practical considerations outlined in the Copyright at Otago webpages.
    5. The introduction of new technology, including lecture recordings, into any aspect of teaching does have an impact.
      • Monitoring possible effects that the introduction of any significant change to a paper on student engagement and teaching processes is important. This includes the introduction and use of lecture recordings.
      • Teachers can obtain analytics about how students engage with lecture recordings and use them as evidence of learning uptake and paper evaluation.
      • Interpretation of that data should be undertaken with consideration of the student, the particular paper, and the wider teaching and learning context.
  3. Practice guidelines for staff

    1. Know how to make and use recordings
      • Participate in training in the use of Echo360, including how to use the editing features and how to set up student access for your students enrolled in your papers
      • Engage with staff at HEDC to discuss best practices in using recordings to enhance teaching and learning, and through participating in TELT Show Case sessions or TELT Master Classes.
      • If you plan to use closed captioning or transcription, be aware of the language limitations of the system you are using. For example, closed captioning is usually set to a specific language. Additionally, te reo Māori will not be translated as te reo and this may cause offence. Moreover, there is a rangatiratanga issue here.
    2. Inform your students
      • Provide explicit guidance to students about how to use recordings effectively and appropriately in your paper. Recordings will be more effective and supportive of student learning if they are made and used with thought and deliberate planning.
      • In the Course Outline for your paper, include information about:
        • how lecture recordings will be used to support learning.
        • details about access to the recordings.
        • when recordings will be released.
        • where to find the recordings within Blackboard / Moodle / equivalent or Echo360 and length of time they will be available.
        Proposed template for course outline (DOC)
      • When planning learning activities that make use of lecture recordings, calculate a realistic workload time and share that with your students to help guide them in how much time to spend on the activity.
      • If the decision is that recordings of some or all the teaching sessions in a paper will not be made, ensure that you understand, and can explain, the rationale behind the decision to your students. In your explanation, draw attention to the nature of the activity and its connection with the learning outcomes. For example:
        • Small group work that involves discussion and free-flowing interaction and focused activity, do not lend themselves to creating useful recordings. When the purpose and intent of the learning activity is to generate active engagement in this way, a recording will not facilitate the kind of engagement that is required for learning by a student who watches the recording without direct participation.
        • Teaching sessions that highlight sensitive or personal information or deal with topics that could trigger adverse reactions from students are not suitable for recording. In these instances, careful/expert and responsive facilitation by a lecturer is vital, and cannot form part of a recording.
      • If the decision is that recordings of some or all the teaching sessions in a paper will not be made, acknowledge that students may miss classes due to work, family or health reasons and note that alternatives will be available. Explain also that the provision of alternatives does not directly translate into making/providing recordings. This is especially the case when there is no commitment made at the start of the semester that regular recordings of certain kinds of teaching sessions will not be made.
    3. Plan your recordings
      • Before each lecture, inform students that the lecture is being recorded. Let them know about the placement of cameras and whether they will appear on the recording or not.
      • Always use a microphone, and check to ensure that it works before you commence your recording.
      • Ensure you know which aspects of any lecture are recorded, e.g. the slide presentation and your voice, your image, the students' images etc. Knowing this will influence how you make use of the recording as a resource. For example, you may ask students to undertake a learning activity that makes use of written notes that you add to a whiteboard during the lecture; however, if the recording has not picked up those notes, then students watching the recording later will not be able to undertake the task.
      • If you plan your recordings to be used by distance students, then make sure that you record yourself speaking along with the slide presentation, at least at some point within the recording. Seeing their lecturer / tutor as they teach is especially important for students who will never meet their teachers in person or see their face in a live session.
      • If you write notes as you speak during a lecture, make use of a document camera, as this will ensure that the students present in the live lecture as well as those watching the recording will see the notes, as you write them.
      • If you use material created by someone else, make sure that you are using it appropriately, within the terms of the license for its use.
      • Plan when you will use the “pause record” button if parts of the lecture would be inappropriate to record (such as sensitive topics or small group discussions). You can also review the recording later and delete sections using the editing facilities in Echo360 before making the recording available to students.
      • When students ask questions or are invited to speak during a lecture, remember to repeat each question/comment into the microphone before responding, and/or provide the student with the microphone to ensure that what is said is recorded audibly.
      • You can help students to focus on the key areas for learning, by planning your recordings in ways that draw attention to essential details and minimise those of less importance. Editing recordings afterwards can achieve the same effect.
    4. Capitalise on the advantages of recordings
      • Just as you would use textbooks or other kinds of resources, integrate recordings as another resource within your teaching plan. Plan learning activities that direct students to make use of recordings in ways that engage them actively, not only with the content of the recording but also with other students, to build their conceptual and practical knowledge.
      • Take advantage of the self-paced nature of recordings: students can slow down, freeze, pause, speed up, fast-forward, and rewind recordings. Include prompts, either within the recording itself or within the description of the learning activity that makes use of the recording, to direct students' attention to video sections of particular importance and thus assist students in making the best use of the recording for their learning.
    5. Evaluate the impact
      • Just as you would with any aspect of your teaching, reflect regularly on the possible impact of lecture recording or the absence of it on teaching and on learning. Some effects may be seen in areas of interaction and communication but also across broader aspects of the learning-teaching processes you structure within your paper.
      • Be sure to include the experiences of students with disabilities and students for whom English is not a first language.
      • Make gathering feedback from students and others, such as tutors, about their experiences of lecture recording an explicit part of your formal and informal teaching and course evaluation plans.
  4. Practice guidelines to help you structure your advice to students

    Tailor the following to provide explicit guidance and advice to students about the use of recordings within your paper.

    1. Preparation, planning and getting ready for learning:
      • A recording of a lecture or other session, such as a tutorial within any paper, is a learning resource.
      • Try to attend your live lectures and use the recordings to supplement your learning and review.
      • Use recordings to revisit information or explanation you missed or do not understand. A recording is not a substitute for class attendance.
      • As with all learning resources, a lecture recording complements a lecture but does not replace it, so you cannot rely only on the recordings if you want to succeed in the paper.
      • If you plan to use lecture recordings as one component of a disability support plan, discuss the plan with your lecturer so they are aware of your needs and can help you make the best use of the recordings.
      • Look through the Course Outline for your paper to determine if lectures and other sessions will be recorded. If recordings are to be made, the Course Outline will also describe how you will be expected to use them, where to find them, when you can access them and how long the recordings will be available.
      • If the Course Outline informs you that recordings are not to be made of some or all teaching activities, take note of the explanation about why this is to be the case. Ask your lecturer about alternatives should you miss classes due to work, family or health reasons.
    2. Watching recordings:
      • If you cannot attend a live lecture, your Course Outline may have advice about when you should plan to watch the recording after the recording is released. If there are no direct guidelines about this in your Course Outline, then make sure that you watch the recording within a week of it being made available.
      • If you are watching a recording because you were not able to be at the live lecture, watch it at normal speed and make notes, as you would in the live lecture. You can then use your notes when you go back to the recording later to review or engage in any learning activity that has been set.
      • Watch the recordings or parts of the recordings with a study group and talk about them with the group. Learning together can enhance your understanding. If you are asked to undertake a learning activity using sections of the recording, consider working on the task with friends. (Of course, if the task is an assessment task that has to be undertaken individually, this approach would not be appropriate).
    3. Making the most of recordings to support your learning:
      • To help with your revision or undertake an activity that your lecturer has instructed you to work on, make good notes during the live lecture and review them as you watch the recording.
      • Use recordings to enhance your learning from the lecture. If you find you are having trouble understanding a concept or some other aspect of the recording, use the recording as a basis for asking for help from your lecturer, tutor or other students.
      • Use the recordings to help you to focus your attention on what is essential. For example:
        • pause the recording while you make notes;
        • run the recording at a slower speed to hear or watch details that you may miss when running it at normal or higher speeds;
        • freeze the video so that you can look closely at a diagram or set of points on display;
        • rewind sections of the recording to help you to review ideas and other essential points, especially if there are some ideas that you have trouble understanding;
        • fast-forward through sections you are confident about or to quickly find sections your lecturer has said are of particular importance or needed for a planned learning activity.
    4. Reflection and review:
      • Be ready and willing to share your thoughts with your lecturer, tutor or Class Rep about how helpful or otherwise the recordings of the lectures are for your learning.
  5. Further reading

    1. Below is a list of further reading regarding recording of lectures and how to use lecture recordings effectively:
      • Cardall, S., Krupat, E., Ulrich, M. (2008). Live lecture versus video-recorded lecture: Are students voting with their feet? Academic Medicine, 83(12), 1174–1178.
        DOI 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31818c6902
      • Nordmann, E., Kuepper-Tetzel, C. E., Robson, L., Phillipson, S., Lipan, G., & McGeorge, P. (2020, September 23). Lecture capture: Practical recommendations for students and lecturers.
        Retrieved from
      • Nordmann, E., Calder, C., Bishop, P., Irwin, A., & Comber, D. (2018). Turn up, tune in, don't drop out: The relationship between lecture attendance, use of lecture recordings, and achievement at different levels of study. Higher Education, 77, 1065-1084.
        DOI 10.1007/s10734-018-0320-8
      • Sarsfield, M., & Conway, J. (2018). What can we learn from learning analytics? A case study based on an analysis of student use of video recordings. Research in Learning Technology, 26.
        DOI 10.25304/rlt.v26.2087
      • Topale, L. (2016). The strategic use of lecture recordings to facilitate an active and self-directed learning approach. BMC Medical Education, 16(201).
        DOI 10.1186/s12909-016-0723-0

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Senior Analyst, Research and Policy

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