The Neurodiversity and Lecture Capture report written by myself and Steve Bond is now available on LSE Research Online.
Neurodiversity is a term encompassing a range of conditions, including autism and Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia (Dalton & Hall, 2013). Past studies suggested that recorded lectures could be a useful tool for neurodiverse students (Williams & Fardon, 2007). However, little is known about about whether lecture capture actually is useful to neurodiverse students, or how these students use it to study effectively while managing their condition.
Just before the end of the Summer Term, Steve Bond and I conducted a survey of neurodiverse students to measure the impact of lecture capture, and the (perceived) pedagogical benefits of the School’s Echo360 software. We sought to answer the following questions:
- Do neurodiverse students access lecture recordings more or less often than neurotypical students?
- To what extent to do students access recordings?
- How useful were these recordings to the study strategies of neurodiverse students, and what challenges did they face when using lecture capture technology?
- Did students record lectures themselves? If so, why?
138 students responded to the survey, of which 124 completed surveys were used in the study. 66% of students reported having a neurodiverse condition, the most common of which was dyslexia (33%). Neurotypical students, or students not reporting to have a neurodiverse condition formed 34% of the study population.
The key findings from this study were as follows:
Neurotypical and neurodiverse students access lecture recordings at similar rates.
Although previous studies suggest that neurodiverse students may benefit more from lecture recordings, neurodiverse students in this survey reported accessing lecture recordings at similar rates to neurotypical students.
Both neurodiverse and neurotypical students find lecture recordings “essential” for their studies.
49% of neurotypical students, and 46% of neurotypical students claimed that recorded lectures were “Essential” to their studies.
Neurodiverse students may not be accessing lecture recordings because they are unaware of their existence, or because they are not available in the first place.
The key reasons why neurodiverse students reported not accessing lecture recordings on Moodle were either lack of awareness that recorded lectures were available on Moodle, or that lectures had not been made available.
Neurodiverse students raised sporadic availability of lecture recordings as an issue.
Out of 81 suggestions on how the LSE could improve its provision of lecture recordings, issues with availability of lecture recordings were raised almost a third of the time (29%, 24 responses).
Neurodiverse students are more likely to use lecture recordings to reinforce concepts and revision, than to avoid attending lectures.
Neurodiverse students were over more likely to use recorded lectures to revisit sections to reinforce concepts and to make extra notes than neurotypical students, who were more likely to use recorded lectures to catch up on missed lectures. Only 4% of neurodiverse students and 7% of neurotypical students (16 respondents in total) reported using recorded lectures to avoid attending lectures.
Students identified audio and video quality as the biggest technical issue with lecture recordings.
Technical issues, including the video and sound quality of lecture recordings were mentioned 37 times out of 81 suggestions on how lecture recordings on Echo360 could be improved.
The majority of students do not record lectures themselves…
122 students completed this section of the survey in total, and the majority of students reported that they did not record lectures themselves (62%, 76 respondents).
…but if they do, its predominantly in audio format.
Audio recording was the most popular format for recording lectures, with 93% of all recordings made in audio format. Standalone recording devices, such as Dictaphones were mainly used for recording, with 32% of all recordings made on such devices.
Students suggested that access to lecture recordings on mobile devices and the ability to bookmark sections of recordings would be useful.
The functionality to add bookmarks to recordings on Echo360 does exist, and a recommendation could be to better inform students about the features of Echo360 to allow them to make optimal use of the service.
Conclusion and recommendations
Neurotypical students reported using lecture recordings more frequently, although the majority of neurodiverse students reported using recorded lectures in their studies. Neurodiverse students found lectures to be an “essential” tool for their studies and used lecture recordings to address issues in note-taking and content comprehension. However, inconsistencies in the availability, quality and accessibility of recordings are hindering neurodiverse students from fully exploiting this resource.
As a result of this survey, we recommend the following measures:
- Support could be given to lecturers to help them adapt their lecture style to produce better lecture recordings.
- Lecturers could be incentivized to provide lecture recordings, by including any training taken towards providing lecture recordings being included as part of personal development.
- Academics could be provided with guides on how to use lecture recording equipment, and given tips and reminders to help improve the quality of recordings, such as remembering to switch on lecture recording equipment microphone in case lecturer before them switched it off.
- Academic support staff should also ensure that lecture recording equipment is installed and in working condition, especially if there have been extensive technical problems with recordings from a particular room or course.
- Students could be encouraged to produce their own lecture recordings in formats that suit their learning requirements, and provided support and guidance in being able to do so.
- Further research should be conducted into more specific issues faced by neurodiverse students, and how technology is incorporated into their study strategies.
We believe that implementing these recommendations could improve the learning experience of students in general and improve the inclusivity credentials of the LSE.
We would also like to thank Linda Kelland from the LSE Disability and Wellbeing Office, and Sophie Newman, the former Students’ Union Disability Officer for their help and advice for this study.
Dalton, N. S., & Hall, W. (2013). Neurodiversity & HCI. In CHI 2013: Changing Perspectives (pp. 2295–2304). Paris, France.
Williams, J., & Fardon, M. (2007). Lecture recordings: extending access for students with disabilities. In Research paper for ALT-C: Beyond Control 2007, University of Nottingham. Nottingham.