Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor
By Suad Alad, Contributor
Many McMaster University professors refuse to upload lecture slides as they believe it will discourage student attendance during lecture times. However, what they likely fail to realize is that uploading lecture notes online can be beneficial to students’ academic success.
As the new year begins, students are getting back into their groove of their academic routines. I think most university students can agree that while school is a stressful time, technology and the internet lessen the stress of understanding lecture material on your own. However, many university professors, McMaster professors included, refuse to upload lecture slides to Avenue to Learn, as they believe it discourages students from attending lectures and negatively impacts class engagement. While it is true that not all students attend lecture, refusing to upload lecture slides to Avenue only limits students’ access to course material. This is an unnecessary obstacle that prevents students from learning of course content.
McMaster has Student Accessibility Services which allows disabled students extra access to support from their professors and teaching assistants. Through SAS, students can get lecture notes from either the professor or notes written by volunteer students. While SAS is a fantastic resource at McMaster, not all students can access SAS for accommodations. Thus, many students can only rely on notes taken during one-time lectures, textbooks and Avenue. But often, this isn’t enough.
As a student who commutes and works a part time job, I cannot ensure that I can always get to campus for lectures or stay for the whole duration of the lecture. With unreliable bus times, traffic and not enough seating in lecture, the possibility of missing lecture or getting to lecture late is a lot higher than you would think. Having to scramble around and ask different classmates if I can borrow their lecture notes is a hassle that could be easily avoided if lecture slides were uploaded to Avenue before class. Life is also unpredictable and things happen that could hinder a student’s attendance in lecture. Sickness, oversleeping, appointments or personal issues are just a few reasons why someone may miss class.
Not all professors believe that posting lecture slides online causes low student attendance. But the amount of McMaster professors that do believe this is saddening.
In addition, many of these professors are the ones who have to beg students throughout the semester to volunteer as notetakers for SAS. These pleas feel disingenuous if these same professors refuse to benefit student learning and provide lecture slides on Avenue. If these educators truly wanted to help students achieve maximum success in their courses and academics, they would take our needs into consideration and help us properly understand the material taught in their classes.
McMaster professors are some of the staples of our university’s sound reputation. Their hard work and dedication to help students progress in their careers is greatly appreciated. But this appreciation can only be extended so far when our professors expect more from us than what they’re willing to provide.