I've heard of people doing that. Other's record the lecture. Either way it's a good idea to ask the professor first if you can do that. It's just a courtesy.
If you're going to do this, it would be a good idea to ask the professor for permission first. Some people will be uncomfortable being recorded like that.
Just please don't put them on YouTube or you get into privacy issues! I shudder at the idea! I may never tell a joke in class again!
In my day, we would just bring tape recorders. But even this was met with some resistance. There are intellectual property laws that actually protect professors' lectures. You can be sued or prosecuted for unauthorized recordings of lectures! Yikes!
Many schools these days have webcasts and podcasts of lectures. Many professors readily embrace new technology. Approach the professor and ask him or her if s/he feels comfortable recording and broadcasting the material. If your prof is cool, s/he will probably want to post the lectures (provided you assure your prof that people will still attend class!)
I went to UC Berkeley, and we did have webcasts of some courses. I never skipped lecture in lieu of class. That's a big mistake people make: they rely on the webcast to show them everything. But there's no true substitute for going to lecture and asking questions. Instead, the webcasts were great because if I missed any points in lecture, I could go back ot the video and fill in my notes. also FABULOUS for reviewing material before the exam.
One of my professors recorded all of his lectures and posted them online. I had him for four classes (both easy and difficult) and to tell you the truth, I never even looked at the videos. When I had questions, I found it was a lot easier just to go to office hours.
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