A guide for students

Attend lectures

  • Research shows that students who attend more lectures tend to get better grades.
  • Watching a recording is different attending a live lecture; you might have to work differently to make sure that you stay actively engaged with the material
  • Don’t forget that you’re part of a community. You should discuss the material with your fellow students, share ideas and check your understanding
  • Use recordings to revisit material you don't yet understand.

Make notes

  • Making notes helps you learn but it also gives you material to review at a later date.
  • Annotate, summarise or paraphrase what the lecturer is saying, rather than writing down word-for-word.
  • Making good notes can be learned. Find out what system works for you by trying different formats.
  • During the lecture focus on your understanding. Make bullet points or short notes you can expand on later. Quick notes are better than no notes!
  • Don't be anxious about writing down every word, if you miss something you can revisit the recording.

Be specific

  • Before you rewatch the lecture try to recall as much as you can. Jot down the main points of the lecture.
  • Check your notes and identify sections you missed or didn't understand What questions do you have?
  • Rewatch specific sections of the lecture related to these problem areas to help you answer you questions.
  • Ideally, watch the recording within 2-3 days of attending the lecture, if you leave it too long you may forget details.
  • Use the recordings to add to your understanding of the material. Remember to summarise and paraphrase in your own words.

Catch up

  • If you miss a lecture, aim to watch the recording in full within one week.
  • You learn more effectively when your learning sessions are spread out so it's good to keep up-to-date with the lecture content each week.
  • Watch the lecture it at normal speed once and take notes as if you were in the live lecture. If there is an activity or a question, pause and figure out your response.
  • Once you've watched the recording in full, go back and revisit bits you don't understand. This ensures that you spend the same amount of time on the material as if you had attended the live lecture.

Ask for help

  • You can still ask for help if you don't understand bits of the lecture; make a list of your questions.
  • Consider watching the recordings with your peers as part of a study group.
  • Use the recordings as a help resource to check your knowledge when testing yourself.
  • By reviewing specific bits of the recordings you can identify exactly which parts of the lecture you are struggling with.
  • Pause the recording to look up additional resources - don't just rely on the content in the lecture!

Avoid bad habits

  • Don't binge-watch lectures during revision week, there is a lot of strong evidence that in order to learn effectively you need to space out your learning: you will learn more, in less time, if you do it week-by- week.
  • Only rewatch lectures in full if you missed the lecture: the act of thinking about which bits you need to revisit will actually help you learn more.
  • Do not engage in multitasking such as household chores or driving whilst listening to recorded lectures, you need to give them your full attention in order to learn.

Adapted from Nordmann et al. (2018), Lecture capture: Practical recommendations for students and lecturers.

Further research on the use of lecture recordings:

Turn up, tune in, don’t drop out: the relationship between lecture attendance, use of lecture recordings, and achievement at different levels of study
Nordmann, E., Calder, C., Bishop, P. et al. High Educ (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0320-8

What can we learn from learning analytics? A case study based on an analysis of student use of video recordings.
Sarsfield, M., & Conway, J. Research in Learning Technology, 26 (2018). https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v26.2087