Lecture capture at the University of Bath
The University of Bath currently operates an “opt-in” lecture capture process whereby academic staff can choose to record their lectures. There are a number of advantages and challenges associated with choosing to record a teaching session using the Re:View system.
Students at Bath and across the sector are now expecting lectures to be captured, where appropriate. It was a “Top Ten” issue from our Student’s Union in 2014-15, and working with our Student’s Union has helped in the success of the system. The Re:View system is easy for both students and academics to use. Lectures that have been recorded are automatically uploaded and can be accessed by students either within the Re:View block in their Moodle course, or via their folders in Re:View.
Lecture capture for clarifying key points
Lecture capture enables students to clarify key points from lectures. Soon after a lecture, students can re-watch parts that need clarification, especially if the subject matter is particularly complex. The ability to pause, rewind and forward the material allows them to address misconceptions without further support. For complex topics that are delivered in a step by step fashion (i.e. maths, programming, scientific or engineering principles), students can slow down delivery to revisit each step.
A study at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia notes that ‘students across all disciplines in our study indicated that they used lecture-recording to review, revise or catch up on missed lectures, and, regardless of their discipline, students wanted lecture-recording to be available across all their subjects believing recordings enhanced their studies’. (Dona, Gregory, Pechenkina, 2017)
Lecture capture for revision
Students may use the lecture capture around key exam dates and submission deadlines for revision purposes. It is not suggested that students passively re-watch lectures in their entirety but use the recording to bookmark and select key points that may need clarification or further work. Teaching staff can edit in Panopto and add quizzes or embed web material (such as a Xerte object) to create rich and interactive content. This builds on a resource that already exists and can help scaffold the learner’s efforts. Video clips that are created can be embedded in Moodle to support additional learning activities.
The availability of lecture capture data allows academics to access statistics such as how many times their lecture captures have been watched and which segments have been viewed most often. This data may indicate that students are finding particular concepts difficult and the lecturer may feel it appropriate to follow this up as a cohort by providing extra help via Moodle or the Re:View recorder.
Note-taking can be enhanced through lecture capture. Reviewing the video is a chance to add to their notes which may have been taken down hurriedly during the lecture. Furthermore, Re:View allows students to use their own device to take time-stamped notes directly into the capture, eliminating the need to match up hand-written notes with the recording afterwards. Alternatively, the student may focus less on taking notes during the actual lecture because they have another chance to do so once the lecture is uploaded to the system. The Cornell method of taking notes is one way of structuring purposeful notes for review. This is advocated in a paper by Emily Nordmann (2018) that states, ‘Lecture capture can be used to support generative note-taking as students who take more verbatim notes during a live lecture can use recordings to generate paraphrased notes at a later time during revision to improve the quality of their notes.’
Although some concern has been expressed that enabling lecture capture will result in a drop-off in student attendance, research findings have been mixed and some studies have found attendance unaffected (Suzanne G. Bollmeier, Philip J. Wenger, and Alicia B. Forinash, 2010). If a student does miss a lecture for a legitimate reason then having the recording available makes is easy for them to catch up. Furthermore, the availability of Re:View through a browser and as an app allows students to view the recordings wherever an internet connection is available. With a large number of international and placement students at Bath, lecture capture opens up the virtual classroom to those who can connect remotely.
Flexibility in recording content
In fact, the availability of the Re:View app (more commonly known as Panopto in app stores) means that recordings are not confined to lectures rooms on campus. Academics are able to record from their own offices, on field trips, at conferences and beyond. This opens up the possibility of alternative approaches to teaching such as the ‘flipped classroom’. In its simplest form, the academic turns the traditional style of teaching on its head by asking students to view a lecture-style video before the lecture, creating more time in the lecture for deeper learning rather than content delivery.’ A model to encourage academics and decision makers to be more purposeful and innovative in the implementation and use of these technologies in supporting teaching and learning’ is by Witton (2017) after a pilot study of alternative capture technologies at The University of Wolverhampton.
Lecture recordings are particularly helpful for students without English as a first language as well as for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Providing a recording of a lecture may be a “reasonable adjustment” under the Equality Act (2010) for students with particular disabilities, and in these situations we are required under law to both respond to and anticipate student need. In 2016 the University of Huddersfield set up lecture capture in 120 rooms with particularly positive feedback from disabled and international students (Walker, Whittles, 2016).
A student who has missed a lecture due to a disability-related matter can catch up independently, and those students who have particular needs such as hearing impairments can make use of captioning features by searching for a term that has been mentioned during the lecture.
What are the challenges?
The most common concern surrounding lecture capture is the question: Will students stop coming to lectures? Currently, the findings are inconclusive. One recent study at King’s College, London did find that student attendance of lectures decreased whilst sessions were being recorded. In addition to this, they found little evidence that lecture capture availability increased attainment or engagement with the course (Martin R. Edwards, Michael E. Clinton, 2018).
How to use lecture capture effectively
One of the challenges is around how to make students aware of the benefits of lecture capture and how they can use it effectively in their studies. The majority of students clearly like having their lectures recorded and made available and it is becoming the ‘norm’ across Higher Education institutions with some institutions operating ‘opt-out’ policies. Students may need guidance about why it is important to attend lectures in person and the best methods of viewing footage afterwards to help them in their studies. Likewise, academics may like to explore changes to their teaching style to make live lectures more appealing. This could be by ‘flipping the classroom,’ using quizzes for formative and summative assessment, encouraging discussion and setting problem solving tasks that deepen learning within the lecture. The Re:View system at Bath allows academics to record their screens using the Panopto desktop personal capture application (available from the software centre or for dowload via the Panopto website). This enables them to deliver content outside of a lecture, but could cause difficulties with writing without specialist equipment in STEM subjects (Lowe, Mestel and Williams, 2016), although there are alternative solutions such as filming your writing on flipchart paper. There may be concerns that the flipped classroom approach increases workload as it relies on an initial investment of time to produce video content (Witton, 2017), as well as a reliance on technologies such as webcams and microphones.
Enhancing teaching through technology
Some teaching styles may benefit from adaptation and this could include the use of digital visualisers which project written content, rather than the use of whiteboards. Along with capturing the material in high definition, visualisers have the benefits that staff can digitally adjust the text size, record what was written so it can be referred to later, and staff are able to face students while writing. Similarly, touch screen monitors are being rolled out in various teaching rooms across the University which will allow teachers to annotate their screens with a stylus. There may be concerns that these technologies are not available across every room on campus, therefore making it difficult to plan sessions. A lecture that was enhanced by the use of technology one semester may need to be adapted the next time it is taught if it is held in a different room.
Considerations when recording
Both staff and students need to be aware that they are being recorded which may limit some conversations during lectures. In fact, there is little benefit of recording group activity during a lecture due to the noise picked on the audio. Other considerations include students who have the right not to be included in any published media, and lectures being away of what exactly is being recorded (e.g. don’t bring up their emails on a visible screen or type in visible passwords).
Editing and copyright
Academics may be concerned about intellectual property implications (Chandra, 2011). Similarly, the fact that the recordings are being viewed and distributed for purposes that are not related to their course. At Bath the lecture recordings are linked to course folders in Re:View and are therefore set to be viewed only by those on the course.
The University of Bath has published clear guidelines around copyright in this document Re:View guidelines, Using Media & Copyright. It states, ‘Materials that you create for use in a lecture will normally constitute your scholarly output and you will own the copyright in them. Copyright in the words spoken by you in a lecture (once fixed by the recording) will also belong to you and you will also acquire performance rights. The University has a licence to use your course materials produced for issue to our students as outlined in the University’s IP Policy. Your ‘moral rights’ are also preserved, so you will be credited when the University uses them.’
Dona, K.L., Gregory, J., Pechenkina, E., 2017. Lecture-recording technology in higher education: Exploring lecturer and student views across the disciplines. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 33.
Witton, G., 2017. The value of capture: Taking an alternative approach to using lecture capture technologies for increased impact on student learning and engagement. British Journal of Educational Technology 48, 1010–1019.