If you record, they will not come – but does it really matter? Student attendance and lecture recording at an Australian law school

Natalie Skead, Liam Elphick, Fiona McGaughey, Murray Wesson, Kate Offer, Michael Montalto

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Lecture recordings are anecdotally associated with decreased rates of attendance at face-to-face classes. However, there have been very few studies that empirically analyse this contention, or which examine the motivations for student attendance at face-to-face classes. In this article we report on a study of over 900 undergraduate and postgraduate law students at The University of Western Australia. The study employed a mixed methodology approach involving a student survey, a manual count of attendance at face-to-face classes, and student focus groups to measure self-reported and actual rates of attendance at face-to-face classes and to identify factors influencing student attendance. A key finding is that lecture recordings are a significant reason for non-attendance, though perhaps not as all-encompassing a reason as anecdotal evidence suggests. We discuss the benefits of lecture recordings and the potential negative implications of non-attendance at face-to-face classes for students’ academic performance, their sense of connectedness, and the development of specialist skills and graduate attributes. We also consider how universities, law schools and law teachers might respond to these challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-367
Number of pages19
JournalThe Law Teacher
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Law teaching
  • lecture recording
  • student attendance
  • student experience

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