Lecture capture – Teaching and Learning Conference Report


At UoB’s recent Teaching and Learning and Teaching conference, I attended a session entitled ‘Analysing students’ use of lecture recordings’ by Dr Karl Nightingale.

The speaker began by positioning himself as someone who was initially quite skeptical of using lecture recordings.  Like many of his colleagues, Karl had a number of preconceptions about using lecture capture which he wanted to test using a cohort of second year students in BMedSc.  Predominantly the concerns are:

–          That e-lectures will impact on attendance

–          That use reinforces an exam-centric or lecture-centric viewpoint, i.e. that all the information you need for an exam will be contained in the lecture, and therefore discourages independent learning.

Lectures were captured using Echo360 which records powerpoint slides and voiceover.  It can also record the person speaking, but I don’t think this feature was used in this case study.  An overview of Echo360 and another software called Panopto are available here: http://www.lrat.bham.ac.uk/lecturecapture.shtml.

Data was collected on usage through:

–          A questionnaire on e-lecture use

–          Focus groups

–          Download data

–          Exam results (NB. This hasn’t been done yet but some students gave permission for their results to be mapped against their use of e-lectures)

Assumptions made prior to investigation were that e-lecture use might:

–          be associated with problems in note-taking

–          be effective in supporting dyslexic or non-English speaking students

–          possibly result in higher grades in recorded modules for these two groups of students


–          Some high-users of e-lectures were the same as those students having trouble with note-taking.  These students appear to be using the lectures to expand, clarify and understand difficult concepts.

–          High-users are also often those who have higher grades in year 1.

–          Most students listen to small sections of e-lectures or one part many times (again, this suggests targeted learning).

–          Download figures show an initial spike in download immediately after the lecture suggesting that this is part of some students learning ‘routine’ and another spike around exam time.

–          Some students listen to the whole lecture (sometimes multiple times) – is this an appropriate or an unthinking response to learning?

–          Focus groups suggested that dyslexic and non-English speaking students liked the possibility for repetition of things they may have missed

–          Focus groups also suggested there was a danger of promoting a lecture-centric viewpoint

Overall, students love lecture and largely use it in a targeted way to aid note-taking and revision.  Around 10% of students may be using in a less targeted way, taking a more lecture-centric viewpoint.  Overall, Karl recommended that lecture capture is a great tool, but needs to be used with caution and that, as always, we need to emphasise the concept of independent learning to students.

So what does this mean for libraries?  Lisa Anderson, Catherine Robertson and Nancy Graham have already experimented with lecture capture at Birmingham, a fine example of which can be found here:  Their experiences suggest that it can be a daunting experience to begin with, but are worth the time as a quick and cheap way to produce multi-media content.  Unlike Karl’s experiences with BMedSc, Library Services have used lecture capture to produce distinct, short units of no more than 3-5 minutes to stand alongside face-to-face training and printed materials, rather than recording existing lectures.  However, the results from BMedSc suggest that students really value this type of resource and I’ve certainly had requests from undergraduates for more of this material.  If I get as far as making any lecture capture resources myself, I’ll report back on the experience!

Post by: Sarah Pittaway


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