Starting with academic year 09-10 the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has been engaged in an ongoing project to gain experience with lecture capture - a system for recording lectures and other teaching sessions and making the recordings available over the Internet and via Blackboard.
The faculty has been using the Panopto lecture capture system, developed at Carnegie Mellon University in the states. Panopto provides a streamlined path from recording through publishing on Blackboard, with very little user expertise required. The system can be installed on virtually any university or staff-owned computer, and lends itself to a range of recording situations from ad hoc recordings at home or in staff offices, through capturing lectures and teaching sessions, through making video recordings of high-profile events. When a recording is finished, it is automatically uploaded and may be viewed over the Internet shortly thereafter. In a full implementation the resulting recording would also automatically appear in the relevant Blackboard course.
Although it has been very useful to gain experience specifically with the Panopto system, the most important aspect of the project has been what we have learned about lecture capture in an academic setting. We have gained valuable insights into what it takes to do lecture capture on a regular basis, how much staff expertise is required, how students make use of these recordings, what staff and students who have used the recordings think about it, and the comparative merits of various technical approaches.
The project began in the summer of 2009.
Academic year 2009-2010—Small-scale Trials
Lecture capture was used by 15 academic staff from Economics, GSOE, Hearing Studies, Law, Policy Studies and Sociology. A core group of staff routinely made recordings without technical assistance. In the most active example, from January to June 2010 in two Economics units, 29 hours of lectures and class sessions were recorded, which were viewed for over 600 hours in 2148 individual viewing sessions. Participating staff and students were surveyed to document their experiences and capture their opinions about lecture recording.
Academic year 2010-2011—Building momentum
The project substantially expanded and is being used by a growing number of lecturers and hundreds of students. Given the growing number of users, the technology has proven surprisingly glitch-free and easy to use. We are learning that lecture capture, even with a streamlined system, will always require a certain amount of expert technical support, which is likely to be the main limiting factor to further growth and adoption.
Sample recordings made with the Panopto Coursecasting system:
e-Learning Support Officer
Faculty of Social Sciences and Law