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LT Newsletter Spring 2012

Forget ‘Lecture,’ Tegrity Transcends The ‘Sage On The Stage’

Technologies are made up of both technical objects and the cultural practices and behaviors that arise around, in and through these technical objects. As you might expect, these cultural practices have a way of shaping our use of the next generation of technology (think: “desktop” interface for computers). So, when we say ‘lecture capture,’ we are identifying a narrow practice, not the specific technical capacity of Tegrity… Student assessment feedback, quick tutorials, student presentations, or, yes, even short lectures tied to active learning activities are all potential ways to use the software.

‘Lecture’ can be a dirty word. For some, it conjures images of ‘the sage on the stage’ in large lecture halls with students passively listening. Perhaps these are unfair characterizations, for listening can be active and lectures can be engaging. Nevertheless, in the last 30 years, higher education has seen a push toward more student-centered, high-impact teaching and learning practices.

Enter ‘lecture capture’ technology. By ‘capture,’ the educational technology industry means ‘recording.’ Tegrity Lecture Capture, the system used by the University of Washington, records the voice of a speaker, the video image of a speaker (if she wants it), and video of a computer screen (i.e., presentation slides, web browsing, etc.). Then, it combines those audio and video recordings into a single interactive video experience for the student. But, isn’t this throwing technology at a broken teaching model?

At the recent Tegrity User Conference, which was held in downtown Seattle April 18th – 20th, I found that the term ‘lecture capture’ hardly describes the kinds of teaching and learning activities for which Tegrity is, and can be, used.

Colene White, a communication instructor at Everett and Cascadia Community Colleges, records student presentations, speeches, role plays and other speech performances. For White, recording these presentations allows her to provide more detailed feedback to her students on their strengths and weaknesses with verbal and non-verbal public speaking skills. In addition, students can return to the recordings to reflect and self-evaluate.

Nadine Lemmons, a Business Technology Instructor at Lower Columbia College in Longview, WA, uses Tegrity for student feedback on computer application assignments. Lemmons teaches Microsoft Excel (spreadsheets) and Microsoft Access (databases) classes, and she has to give students feedback on their spreadsheet and database files. When the student has significant issues with a file, her comments can be extensive. Rather than typing out her comments, she can begin recording using Tegrity, open a file on her computer, and then record her spoken comments. Lemmons doesn’t recommend using Tegrity when the comments are minimal, because it won’t end up saving time. However, for more extensive comments on assignments that were submitted electronically, Tegrity can replace a large amount of typing. What’s more, feedback to students can feel more personal, because they hear their professor’s voice as she talks about their work.

What these examples show is that the term ‘lecture capture’ has conditioned how we think about these technologies. Technologies are made up of both technical objects and the cultural practices and behaviors that arise around, in and through these technical objects. As you might expect, these cultural practices have a way of shaping our use of the next generation of technology (think: “desktop” interface for computers). So, when we say ‘lecture capture,’ we are identifying a narrow practice, not the specific technical capacity of Tegrity.

The examples above show that, instead of a technology that simply records the same old lecture, Tegrity is a better understood as a multimedia recording tool. And, it only requires the ability to click Start and Stop. Student assessment feedback, quick tutorials, student presentations, or, yes, even short lectures tied to active learning activities are all potential ways to use the software. Seen from this perspective, the technology becomes more malleable, allowing the instructor to “hack” it for her own use.

If you are interested in how Tegrity works or how you might use it in your class, contact UW Bothell Learning Technologies at learningtech@uwb.edu.