IT MIGHT sound a bit surprising for a university professor to say that he wouldn't mind his students missing lectures for non-emergency reasons. It might seem even more surprising when he took the time to think up and act on an idea to help them make up for the missed lectures. 'I too was a student once and I understand sometimes you can miss part or all of a lecture for different reasons,' said Hong Kong Baptist University assistant professor of accountancy and law Alex Lau Kun-luen. 'It might be asking a lot from those who have part-time jobs and those who live very far away from campus to come back to school for a lecture at eight-thirty a.m.' Taking advantage of the wide-spread use of the Internet on campus, two years ago Lau, who recently received the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology at the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning, began sending his recorded lectures to his students via e-mail after each class. 'About two years ago I thought up this idea after coming across a small recorder that could be attached to a computer. The good thing about it was that even for a three-hour lecture, it would take only about a minute or two to upload the voice data to the computer.' Lau's lectures are also available at his department's Web site for students with access to download. He said the availability of recorded lectures has also helped both him and his students save much valuable time at tutorial lessons. 'For those who've missed part of the lecture because they fell asleep at some point or those who've had problems understanding what I said, they now can listen to it as many times as they want. 'Before, when we had 15 people at a tutorial, with each of them asking one question about the lecture, it would've taken up the whole [class] period. Now this problem can be solved. 'We have been able to make better use of the tutorial session to discuss supplementary materials, things that we should have gone over during the lectures but didn't have time to do.' The students, on the other hand, have found even more reasons to embrace the idea. 'As most of Prof Lau's classes are 70 to 80 per cent full it is usually quite difficult to find seats at the lecture room,' said student Cheng Choi-ha. ' We hoped this arrangement could help reduce the number of people attending his lectures so we don't have to sit at the aisle anymore.'