The lecture capture debate


At Leicester we are currently trialing two lecture capture systems – Echo360 and Panopto. This has been driven from the students; the student union found that around 85 % of students said that they would welcome lecture capture. Today we had a debate on the topic. The panel consisted of two academics, a student and someone from IT services. Details of the event can be found here, it was recorded so I will post the link when it is available. 

The debate took the form of a panel, each member provided a two minute summary to introduce their perspective and then the session was opened up to the floor.

Alan Cann, from the School of Biological Sciences, opened the debate. Alan has been a long term technology enthusiast and he’s been creating short videos for his students for a number of years, but surprisingly he was against lecture capture. He argued that recordings were likely to distance students, and that they should not be used to replace lectures, but to augment them. He felt that short videos focusing on threshold concepts were more useful. Alan has blogged about this.

Michael Rubin, from the students union, was in favour. He argued that they can help learning and are particularly useful for revision purposes. He argued that they were also useful for: international students, those with learning difficulties and distance learners. He felt that they were particularly beneficial when used as a flipped classroom, i.e. lectures being recorded in advance, freeing up face-to-face time for more meaningful interaction and discussion.

Dylan Williams, from Chemistry, was also in favour; like Alan he has been recording short videos for his students for a number of years and these are then augmented with MCQs. Again he reiterated the benefit of recording lectures and then redesigning the face-to-face session to be more interactive.

Chris Gooch, from IT services, shared his knowledge about how other institutions were using lecture capture. He explained that lecture capture is not necessarily just video, it may be audio or PowerPoint slides. He stressed that one of the benefits was that lecture capture enabled lecturers to identify where students were having problems. He also stated that they were flexible.

There was a good debate afterwards, here is a summary of some of the main points:

  • There may be an issue in recording sessions where sensitive topics are being discussed
  • It may erode elements of good practice
  • The most popular time for viewing videos was during revision and assignment times
  • Video is the third most important element after audio and PowerPoint
  • There is a need for investment in staff development and a significant cultural change if this technology is going to be effective
  • There is a time investment in creating short videos and a level of technical expertise needed
  • Is there an issue that lecture capture will lead to students not attending classes? Evidence from elsewhere suggest that there is some, but not much, most still choose to attend classes
  • Lecture capture may open up the market to disabled students, who may not be able to attend classes
  • Benefits for disabled students and international students of having lectures transcribed
  • There may be issues in terms of surveillance and performance management
  • Who is looking at the data and how is it being used?