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The Utility of Recorded Video Lectures


As the world continues to deal with Covid-19 and its many variants, universities have built on their experience in the past 2 years to devise policies and teaching strategies that would help students better cope with the challenges brought about by the pandemic. In Hong Kong, and at HKBU in particular, course instructors are expected–as a matter of policy–to continue recording videos of their lectures and making these videos available to students even as more and more students have come back to physical classrooms. This project uses data from one course of university students in the first semester of 2021-22 to investigate how students engage with such videos and whether these videos have any meaningful impact on their academic performance. Analytics from the Zoom video conferencing platform and course records reveal that while there is a small negative correlation between the amount of time spent on watching the video lectures and the number of classes attended by students, students have watched a considerable amount of videos (218 minutes to 292 minutes per student before every assessment) regardless of how many classes the students attended. In addition, the number of times students watched the videos dramatically increased in the week leading up to a major assessment such as the midterm test and final exam, up to the day of the assessment itself, suggesting that the primary motivation of the students for watching the videos is to prepare for the assessment. Finally, based on the Zoom data and assessment results, students who watched the video lectures tend to have a higher score in the final exam compared to students who did not watch any video lecture, although this relationship was not evident in the midterm test, perhaps reflecting the difference in the weights of the assessments. Additionally, performing regression analysis reveals the same positive association between assessment score as the dependent variable and the amount of time spent watching the videos as the independent variable, while controlling for attendance. Based on Cohen’s f2 effect size, the effect is small for the midterm test and medium to large for the final exam, again suggesting that the recorded video lectures have a bigger impact on academic performance for major assessments such as the final examination compared to assessments with a lower weight such as the midterm test.