Trinity defends using year-old pre-recorded lectures for some classes this year

University says the move frees lecturers to spend additional time engaging with smaller groups

Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betso.

Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betso.


Trinity College Dublin has defended its use of year-old pre-recorded lectures for students in some courses as an alternative to face-to-face teaching.

Some courses at the university were found to have uploaded one-year-old lectures to the platform Blackboard.

A spokeswoman for the university confirmed to the Irish Times that recorded lectures from the previous year were being used in some circumstances.

An article in the UK publication VICE it claimed that “at least eight courses have reused lectures recorded during the 2020 lockdown” in place of up-to-date, face-to-face teaching.

An Instagram page set up to campaign for face-to-face teaching at the university said the move showed a “disregard for students’ mental health, education and well being”.

Other universities in Dublin, including DCU and UCD, had resumed in person teaching with up to 500 students per lecture theatre with masks, the post said, while Trinity had reduced the number to 150 students per lecture theatre.

This was “imposing further burdens on students” and it was “unjust that fees have not been altered to account for this”, the post says.

The use of recorded lectures, where course material is unchanged from the previous year, could be “a sensible use of lecturers’ time, freeing them up to spend additional time on engaging with smaller class groups where lecture material can be discussed,” a spokeswoman for Trinity told The Irish Times.

“Some schools have long had a standard practice of recording lectures to make them available for students,” the spokeswoman said, adding that “many students have reported that they welcome the ability to review material in their own time.”

“That this practice has continued for some, (by no means all), lectures, in no way contradicts the fact that intensive planning has been undertaken for this year to maximise face to face teaching in line with the relaxation of public health restrictions,” the spokeswoman said.

One student at Trinity told the Irish Times some maths lecturers were using last year’s videos. The student said it was much more useful for a student to have a live lecture where they can ask questions in real time rather than have to book office hours or email a professor.