A Victoria University requirement for second-year law students to attend lectures in person, criticised last year for being narrow-minded and regressive, could now be scrapped.
In October it was announced law students in their second year at the Wellington University wouldn’t be able to view some recorded lectures unless they had a hardship exemption.
The move sparked outrage from some with a petition launched at the time to stop the policy.
Faculty of Law Dean, Professor Lee Godden, said the policy supports an expectation that students will attend on-campus classes, especially in the core compulsory 200-level and 300-level courses.
In order to ensure equity of access to lectures, students who require access to lecture recordings are able to apply for a hardship exemption, Godden said.
But, they are now taking a look at whether the rules should stay in place, she told the Herald.
“The review will consider whether a consistent Faculty-wide policy is necessary and whether the hardship exemption is operating effectively. Student representatives will be involved in the review of the policy, as they have been in previous reviews.”
She said at the moment individual course co-ordinators in the Faculty are able to make their own decisions around the availability of lecture recordings.
Victoria University Students’ Association [VUWSA] education officer and second year Law student Kayla Allen called the policy misguided, and said it was based on an assumption students weren’t coming to class because they had access to recordings.
“It’s that very old-fashioned rhetoric that uni is your full-time job, you’re only a student - which is not possible anymore due to cost of living and other commitments.”
VUWSA Academic Vice President Willa Aitken raised similar concerns.
“A significant amount of students are working up to 15 to 20 hours a week now and so it’s just not possible to have fully in-person subjects anymore.”
Aitken said a positive to the policy has been that hardship exemptions have been granted to most people who have applied, but that the exemptions have created extra work for staff.
“Because such a significant number of students have applied for hardship it has been a really massive workload for the student success teams – which is something Faculty has recognised is not sustainable for the future.”
Allen said she was able to access the grant easily – which was a big help for her.
“I have unpredictable health flare-ups which means that on those days that I couldn’t get out of bed I’d be able to watch the recordings online and still keep on top of my course work.”
Aitken told the Herald they’ve been working with the Victoria University Law Students Society on what the policies next year will look like but that the current policy will stay in place until at least the end of this year.
She also said VUWSA is currently drafting a lecture recording policy with senior leadership which she hopes will be enforced across Faculties.
Godden said student representatives will be involved in the review of the lecture recording policy.
Nick James is a Newstalk ZB reporter based in Wellington with a focus on the environment, infrastructure, social and Wellington issues. He joined Newstalk ZB in 2021.
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