Author:  Kevan Williams, TELT

One technology-based activity which continues to stimulate a significant amount of debate across the sector is lecture capture. There are many articles and reports available which support the activity and yet there are also a large number which do not.

At UCLan, the recording of in-class activity is referred to as event capture as this better reflects the range of activities and approaches to learning and teaching. As part of the on-going drive to move away from traditionally taught lectures, the provision of more collaborative, active learning is favoured by many, however this does contribute to the challenge of providing effective recording services.

Some technology solutions provide fully automated systems which are linked into the timetabling software and record on the hour every hour with very little, if any in-class control. At the other end of the scale there are applications which offer no automation and the tutor remains fully in control throughout. The real question however when evaluating any academic technology, is which option offers students the best learning experience? This requires further analysis and consideration of when technology supports teaching and when and how the same can support learning. Teaching is the process of imparting knowledge and instruction whereas learning is acquisition of knowledge, capabilities and behaviours, but how can event capture enhance either or both activities?

During the 2017/18 academic year 1100 students were surveyed regarding the impact of user-controlled recording of in-class activities (where deemed appropriate by the tutor). 97% of the students who responded felt the recording added value to their learning experience. This would seem to be extremely positive and worthy of further deployment, however there are several justified academic concerns which need to be acknowledged and understood before an institutional approach should be adopted.

It is particularly challenging when looking at technologies to support event capture to find a one size fits all solution that can respond positively to all academic concerns. Experience so far at UCLan encourages staff to consider the in-class activity and which aspects of the session would have value in being recorded. Where there are ‘taught’ elements, the ‘information giving’ components of the session, general consideration can be given to event capture as this part is very much centred around the tutor. Where collaboration, discussion and sharing of experiences takes place, the ‘learning’ aspect of the session, recording may not necessarily provide any value, and in response to some feedback, may even hinder and negatively impact the quality of student contributions.

So where is the real value in using event capture? For this you must look outside the classroom and consider how students ultimately use the recorded content. The additional learning opportunities event capture provides are beyond the in-class delivery. Revision, review and reflection of the taught components offer students on demand access to a resource that can continue to support their learning outside of their timetabled studies.

The initial research case studies at UCLan indicate three key points in the use of event capture;

  • Only use it where appropriate in the ‘taught’ aspects of the classroom session
  • The academic should maintain full control of the recording from capture to publishing
  • Recognised by most students as a valuable addition to their learning resources

Opinions across the academic community appear to be as divided as ever, both in favour of lecture capture and against it so for now, find the approach that works for you, give it a go and ask your student’s opinions of the output.


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