It was the umpteenth debate in the University Council's Education and Research Committee meeting last March. The issue is by no means new. In a written update about where things stand on the matter, rector Rianne Letschert had already mentioned that the first University Council questions on video recording of lectures date back to the beginning of 2014. In the three years after that, the same memo states, the library and ICTS have looked into the technical options, experiments have been carried out by various faculties, faculty managers have discussed the matter among each other, and there is one faculty (Law) that consistently records the compulsory bachelors' lectures. The reason is, according to the adage of the large majority of the faculties, that it is ultimately the lecturer who decides whether his lectures will be recorded or not. The psychology faculty does so too, but it is not compulsory. There is no university policy on this matter. The rector has already made it clear on various occasions that her power, or rather that of the Executive Board as such, is limited: the setup of the education programme is up to the faculties. And those faculties are still at the phase of ‘how’ and ‘what’ and ‘to whom should it be made available’. Only three faculties have something that resembles a vision. University Council chairman Jonathan van Tilburg therefore asked how long this experimenting phase would continue. The answer from Letschert: “I get the impression that many faculties would prefer to remain in that phase.”
But the students are getting impatient, as appeared during the last two meetings of the University Council Committee. The fact that it is not standard practice to record lectures at the UM, was referred to by council member Chris Sauer (Dope) in January as “childish”. His colleague Jurgen van Heertum (Novum) made a direct appeal to the rector in the March meeting: “Technically it is possible, the knowledge and equipment are in place, so rector: make video recording of compulsory bachelors' lectures compulsory.”
Letschert herself did not seem convinced yet: “The question is whether it will improve learning.” But Van Heertum has a different approach: “It is also about flexibility, organising your schedule, about reflection afterwards.”
Letschert is clear about the fact that she is aware the students' viewpoint. “I will increase the urgency,” she said, without making any promises.