On 11th September 2017 I went to the Leicester University’s event “Implementing Lecture Capture: what are we learning?“. Lots of useful discussion, and I presented one of three case studies in addition to Leicester’s own story which is told well through their videos, (see event page). Thanks to my colleague Jon Owen, Service Owner for Lecture Capture Service for his info into the presentation below.
Here’s my talk on Warwick’s lecture capture journey,
So what have we learnt?
Lecture capture is an educational technology driven by student demand
The Warwick echo360 pilot started as replacement for Camtasia Relay. That was a tutor-managed approach where they had to finish session early to process recording in time, and there was no standard way to provide recordings to students. The A/V Service Owner knew better options were becoming available and started the pilot in 2012 with the equally forward-thinking Chemistry Department (what is it about Chemists that make them technology early adopters?!)
Lecture capture quickly became a hot topic on campus and was in every Student Union education officer candidate’s manifesto since 2012.
The service got students attention, and we’re making it happen: a definite good news story for responding to student demands.
I forgot to mention this but Sarah Williamson from Loughborough reminded us that the withdrawal of the Disabled Students Allowance meant that HEFCE/BIS put the onus on universities to replace the paid-for notetakers with institutional lecture capture systems.
Lecture capture shines a spotlight on different approaches to teaching
I’m not just talking about the frequent debates about chalkboards!
Talking with academics about their use of, and concerns around, lecture capture highlights:
- the balance of their teaching between large lectures, smaller lectures, seminars, group work etc
- the extent to which they teach as part of teams or quite autonomously
- the implicit content delivery models, relationship to textbooks, coupling between teaching delivery and curriculum, how often content changes, whether content contains commercially sensitive materials or possibly high value research material
- attitudes to attendance – how much does it matter, is it monitored, do students have choices?
- approach to discussions – do they happen in lectures? how do staff and students feel about being recorded? does it deter them from asking questions, is that because of learner culture or potential future use of recordings?
- position on use of screens in sessions: do we want students to be looking at screens as well as the lecturer? Some academics happy with focussed screen use for small group teaching but not ok with use in lecture theatres
Lecture capture is a battleground for intellectual property and academic freedom
Lecture capture highlights staff concerns about:
- terms and conditions of copyright ownership
- surveillance and monitoring
- team staffing models and job security
By its nature it is a central service with centrally-imposed policies,which in some institutions automatically attracts suspicion and dissent!
The technical landscape is complex
There are multiple teams involved in Lecture Capture, with different concepts of “rollout” and different support models. A/V specialists are used to providing time-critical responsiveness, VLE teams often need a few days or a week or longer to fully resolve a user’s issues. We have different but complimentary service cultures.
Integrating with the VLE adds value but also different dependencies and constraints: information structure and end-to-end workflows
Software infrastructure: video capture, editing, management and sharing is a confusing converging marketplace. Alongside echo360 we have planet estream integrated to the VLE for video management and streaming, and as we already have Turning Technologies Responseware we have an overlap with echo360’s Active Learning Platform. I know from other institutions too that this is a tricky space to manage and predict: overlap seems inevitable but it can look like duplicated spend.
Timetable-driven lecture capture is harder than it should be. My colleague Russell Boyatt has created some scheduling middleware between our cached timetable data and our lecture capture system, but the data itself is complex and the additional workflows required to handle a fluid timetable are challenging.
How much do the added value features and analytics get used? We pay for them as part of the platform, and its great to hear when people are using them. But in my experience they’re not used very much, and we’re not pulling them through to any kind of learning analytics data aggregation yet. And a seperate issue: editing. Do you encourage staff to top and tail recordings, or do you encourage release of raw footage and let students move the slider bars? If topping and tailing feels like a steep learning curve for staff, is it justified by benefits to students? I think raw footage is fine.
What do we do about transcripts and captioning? How do we optimise for accessibility and inclusion in an affordable and scaleable way? This is an area of fast moving technology development, so we need to keep a watching brief. But that alone could take someone half a day a week, can we afford to do that? or will we need to wait for lecture capture suppliers to have approved integrated suppliers at a reasonable cost on an on-demand basis with some authorisation involved from someone appropriate at the university!
It is an opportunity to think ahead
What will the best technical infrastructure be in 5 years time? As I said, its a complex technical landscape with many players, its hard to plan far ahead.
Retention. How long should we keep recordings, for the purposes of revision and audit, and how do cloud cost models change that? There was a useful discussion of this later in the day. Basically many institutions retain materials for the programme duration plus one year. Which is usually four or five years. Many institutions started their lecture capture service in the last five years. So only a few people in the room had gone through the process of deleting recordings. Some institutions don’t delete. Because many institutions make recordings available through the VLE, lecture recording access is determined by VLE access. So the important time is when students lose access to the VLE and therefore to recordings: that is the de facto end of access.
Lecture capture brings elearning teams into the world of capital spend and corporate comms, how do we benefit from the visibility? Leicester University speakers stressed how their lecture capture system is part of their Digital Campus and integrated into their overall investment plan.
Are we capturing normal lectures or trying to changing lectures? Are we promoting a service, developing a practice or enforcing a policy? This was one of the recurrent themes of the days discussions.
My final slide was:
- Build on the momentum to enhance the wider technology-enhanced teaching landscape
- Amplify the student voice but explain the limitations and concerns
- Recognise staff concerns but challenge them:
- Have an explicit policy to counter rumours and myths
- Value the many roles that go into providing and supporting lecture capture
- …. and don’t forget to switch on the mic!
A good event, thank you to Leicester for the invite.
There’s a huge amount of data and information on lecture capture practices but I wanted to highlight a few:
WIHEA funded projects at Warwick:
- Project to explore Law students’ experience and perception of Lecture Capture and to explore the effect of lecture recording upon the student experience, in particular, the effect on students’ attendance and note taking practice(Jane Bryan, Law)
- “Should I stay or should I go?” – surveying the impact of lecture capture on classroom attendance (Peter Brommer, Engineering)