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Lessons Learned from Lecture Capture

In a recent article from Campus Technology, UCSF‘s John DeAngelo shares his experience of heading a campus-wide lecture capture system adoption. Since it was introduced in 2011, over 2,000 recordings have been made through Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite and the project has been deemed a success. Along the way, DeAngelo has learned a lot about achieving the best instructor recording. Here are some of the best practices and expectations DeAngelo points out:

  • “Don’t assume class attendance will drop” – It could be because the subject material was so dense (UCSF is a graduate-level school focused on health and life sciences), but instructors at the university found that students’ attendance stayed the same after introducing lecture capture. Lecture capture rose in popularity on campus as a supplement to the course material, not a replacement. Students would attend the lectures, then have the recorded versions on hand to refer back to while studying. Additionally, students who watched the lecture would watch it nearly in its entirety–there was far less skipping around by students than anticipated.
  • “Keep it simple” – When implementing a new technology among faculty, it helps to make the process as smooth as possible for them. In the case of lecture capture, this means simplifying or taking out the difficult technical work. At UCSF, faculty are able to set up a recording time for their lecture and simply show up, lecture, and leave. The behind-the-scenes work takes place by a staff member, who sets up the recording time, processes the recording, and links it to the faculty LMS system. The Tegrity system, used here at the University of Washington, also has a very simple recording process that allows faculty to record and publish lectures in several simple steps.
  • “Get two things right” – Good audio and video are essential to effective recordings. At the end of the day, the lecture is about content. However, if one does not communicate the content in an effective way, it can easily get lost. Acceptable audio and video simply consists of clarity and consistency–no special effects or fancy editing needed. Make sure the microphone can pick up sound even if the instructor happens to move around a lot during the recording. If the instructor chooses to use a video of themselves, make sure the lighting is good and the instructor knows when they are inside and outside of the frame. These small details come together to make a recording more engaging for students.
  • “Ask faculty to watch their own captures” – Because faculty generally make recordings for students, they may not think to–or even want to–watch their recordings after they have been published. However, faculty can learn a lot from watching themselves. Ask faculty to review their recordings while keeping an eye out for what worked and what didn’t work, so that they may improve on their future recordings.
  • “Be aware of privacy issues” – It is important to remember that captures will be published on the Internet, so extra precautions should be taken to protect the privacy of students. One issue that came up at UCSF was the recorded discussion of medical cases and patient names, which violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). To get around this, instructors would discuss cases at the beginning of class and start the recording and lecture about 15 minutes in. UCSF is developing a “privacy button” that will allow the class recording to pause if a private discussion needs to take place in the middle of a lecture. Our system at UW is far more flexible–instructors can pause the recording at any time during the lecture using the Tegrity controller in the bottom right corner of the recording screen or may go back to edit their recording later.

For more information about lecture capture at the University of Washington Bothell, visit the Learning Technologies Tegrity pages for students and faculty.

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