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A Quickstart Guide for Lecture Capture Technology

Posted on 9/11/2019 7:00:00 PM by Legrand AV Team

The pace of class slows as the instructor scrawls out definitions and key phrases across the board so students can copy it down before advancing onto the next topic. Students are half in, half out -- meaning, they’re listening to the instructor about half the time but dedicating the rest of their attention to jotting down notes in a legible manner.

The result? Students miss out on important aspects of the lecture or don’t retain quite as much as they’d like, while professors continue to slow the pace down to accommodate the students. By the end of the semester, students and instructors, both, are cramming for exams.

Recurring situations like this have added to the appeal and necessity of having a reliable lecture capture solution in place on the modern college campus. What’s more, students and instructors have come to expect technology like this in the classroom. A University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that 83 percent of students said that they prefer classes that offer online lectures over classes that don’t.

With that in mind, this quickstart guide is designed to give you a crash course on the need-to-know information related to lecture capture.

What is lecture capture?

Lecture capture is the means for recording the audio, video and presentation material of a keynote, lecture or an address with the intention of making it available via live streaming or on-demand for later consumption.

Today, what’s common at many colleges is an instructor prerecording lectures for students, making them available on a learning management solution (LMS) -- like Blackboard, Canvas or Moodle -- and then assigning students to view it ahead of time, so the in-person class session can be dedicated to discussion and group work.

Or, instructors will record a lesson during normal class hours in person. Students will show up to class normally. The class is held as it would be in a traditional setting. But a lecture capture system is running in the background to ensure the class session can be made available to those students who missed that day or, in the case of live streaming, those students who are watching remotely.

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Classroom with tracking camera mounted to back wall 

The Benefits to Students

The main focus of lecture capture solutions is to benefit the students, and surely, students have the most to gain from it.

Less Pressure In Class

Some students feel less pressure while in class because they know the information is available to them at any time. That hurried demeanor that comes over students to copy down everything on the board subsides as they realize that information isn’t vanishing before them; it’s already online. In return, students focus their attention on the lecture and material.

This same notion pertains to those students who must miss class for personal or professional reasons. It’s a helpful way for those students to keep pace with the rest of the class, despite their absence on that specific day.

Better Retention of Information

Because the pressure to take down notes during class goes down, students tend to retain more information because they’re not dividing their focus between what the instructor is saying and typing on their computers or scribbling in a notebook. What’s more, they have the information on hand for review at a later date.

Greater Educational Outcomes

The University of Wisconsin-Madison report shows that 76 percent of undergraduate students tied lecture capture to improved test scores. As lectures are made available to students throughout the course, they can go back and review material at any time. So, if a test is approaching, students can review previous class sessions to prep.

See how one university upgraded their system to help law students study with lecture capture

The Benefits to Universities

While the majority of benefits are for the students, the universities that implement these technologies also see the advantages -- mostly in the form of instruction and recruiting.

Technology Can Improve Instruction

Some instructors say lecture capture actually improved the way they teach. Using this technology has helped them prepare for class differently and serve students more efficiently. For those professors and instructors whose class sizes range into the hundreds, it’s both important and challenging to teach students in an effective way. Lecture capture has made it significantly easier to distribute information and use class time in more dynamic ways.

As mentioned earlier in this guide, some instructors prerecord their lectures and make them available to students ahead of class. Since those lectures are made available in advance, that leaves class time open for group work and discussions that focus on material and concepts that are best learned in the classroom.

A Must-Have for Universities

As reported by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the majority of students prefer to have an online, on-demand component to learning. It’s not only a helpful tool that supplements attendance but one that enables better attention in class and retention of information outside of class. For students, it’s a no brainer to have this sort of technology solution in place.

What that means for universities is that lecture capture technology is quickly becoming a key feature that students look for when scouting schools. Given how ubiquitous technology is, integrating it into college life, including the classroom, is expected at this point. For the universities that meet and even exceed this expectation, it shows prospective students how serious the institution takes learning and innovation.

Must Have List

Lecture Capture basics:

RoboTRAK system above a display.

How to Make Lecture Capture Work

Making lecture capture happen is split between a few main courses of action -- technologically speaking. There is the hardware route and the software route, and then there is a blended route.

While there are many considerations to take into account when deciding which route is best for your university, it’s important to know that to make lecture capture happen, you’ll need to be able to record high-quality audio and video, make it available to students via live streaming and on-demand, and store that data in a reliable way.

Taking the hardware route will require cameras, switchers, microphones, smart boards and displays, and more (link to appropriate products). The software route takes some of this away, but instructors must have a means for recording, whether that be their computers or a portable setup that’s easy to use and travel with.

What seems to be most common is a blend of the two, using a hardware-based system in some situations, while also allowing for software-based capture as needed. Both ways demand storing the data so students can easily access it on-demand.

Legrand offers integrated solutions needed for educational institutions that are taking advantage of new converging technologies such as distance learning, distributed computing, interactive teaching tools, and more. To gain more insight into how lecture capture can enable distance learning programs and dynamic classroom solutions, read about Legrand | AV's Education Solutions here.