Few will argue that the profile of students today has changed. From more students being given the opportunity to study internationally to those choosing to return to study mid-career, schools must now meet the demands of an increasingly diverse student population. These students, once considered “non-traditional,” are becoming the new normal.
Despite the changing student population, face-to-face instruction is still the preferred way to learn for many of them. However, today’s students are (mostly) digital natives, and there is an increased expectation that their school of choice will offer recorded content and make that content available on their own devices for anywhere, anytime learning. Students want to be able to review content and repeat sections of lectures to understand concepts they may have missed in class. Students also want peace of mind knowing they can view their course content when demands of their careers and lives force them to miss a lecture.
As the creator of the first lecture capture solution, Echo360 has kept a close eye on how it has improved learning experiences as well as the ongoing challenges being faced that the next iterations of technology need to solve.
High Student Demand for Lecture Capture
A recent study from Swinburne University, published in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology provides insights into student and instructor attitudes and the benefits of lecture capture technology. The study focused on how and why both students and lecturers engage with the technology. They found that while over 70% of students found that lecture-recording enhanced their learning, almost the same number of Instructors reported a preference to not have their lectures recorded despite many being able to see a potential benefit for students.
One student surveyed said, “recordings allow me to revisit lecture notes and write down notes I may have misheard or missed during the lecture as there is a lot of content. Also, you don’t want to disturb the flow of the lecture with constant questions that will possibly not allow the whole class to get through all of the available content.”
For Instructors, their key concerns mostly reflect other studies which report that students who were not highly motivated might be tempted to listen to recordings instead of attending lectures. And instructors also expressed concern that unmotivated students may not even watch the videos at all.
Instructors were also concerned that the presence of capture equipment might change the way they teach if complex work on whiteboards during class can’t be captured. Many worried that it might make them less spontaneous and more guarded knowing that their every word could be reviewed.
However, not all feedback from Instructors was negative. A small cohort of lecturers considered the future benefit of having a full semester of lectures already recorded would provide by enabling them to gain some extra class time. One lecturer also actively captured instructions for students and pre-records lectures for students to watch in their own time. These videos are shorter than the live lecture captures as they don’t contain any extraneous video that may come with discussion, classroom activities, and the introduction and closing of face-to-face lectures.
Deeper Learning with Flipped Classrooms and Active Learning Methods
Today, asking students to view content before a class is not uncommon. Across higher education the movement toward flipped learning is gaining traction since Eric Mazur re-focused attention on using active learning techniques in the classroom. To gain time for deeper learning Instructors ask students to learn key content on their own. They see the potential to increase student engagement as they guide them through complex ideas and concepts that result in deeper applied learning.
In an interview in Wired Magazine in 2014, Scott Freeman, one of the authors of a study into active learning noted, “The impact of these data should be like the Surgeon General’s report on “Smoking and Health” in 1964–they should put to rest any debate about whether active learning is more effective than lecturing.”
Echo360’s recent move to a new cloud-based and increasingly interactive platform has also been with a view to offer students opportunities to more fully engage with a lecture capture. Additionally, the unique combination of video, engagement tools, and analytics has been designed to offer support to Instructors integrating active learning techniques into their classes.
Learning tools built into the platform allow students to write time stamped notes, ask questions and participate in threaded discussions as well as provide real-time feedback to their Instructors when they are confused.
Instructors not only get a view into student learning behaviour from these learning tools, they are also able to make learning more interactive using polls and quizzes integrated throughout the lesson. The new opportunity to start and stop a class recording with the push of a button has been built into the Instructors dashboard.
Each interaction that a student has with the content is tracked and the analytics made available for instructors to identify any ‘at risk’ students as well as proactively intervene with those students.
These changes enable Instructors like those at Swinburne who feel impacted by the capture technology in the classroom to choose what – and when - they want to capture for students to review. It also allows them to return to a more spontaneous teaching style as they can incorporate direct feedback from students during class to guide their instruction. Students won’t want to miss class – or the learning and interaction that is now available – which will also appeal to many instructors who hold that as one of their greatest concerns.
Even though the lecture capture technology developed by Echo360 supports many pedagogical styles, the study from Swinburne also looked at the feedback from their Instructors by discipline. This provides some interesting insight into how we can adapt classroom capture technology for different disciplines in the future.
Click on the icon below to read the research. It’s interesting reading.