The University of Nottingham has agreed to a roadmap for the expansion of using lecture capture technology in its teaching. 

After the University’s Teaching and Learning Board agreed that it wanted to encourage teaching staff to make more use of Lecture Capture, the UoN has set out plans to implement an opt-out system for lecture capture by the academic year 2018-19.

Lecture capture technology is currently available in various locations throughout the University, but its use is limited and irregular, with some students getting limited access, and others studying without the support of any recorded lectures.

“Education Officers have been pushing for the implementation of University-wide lecture capture for the last six years”

Miranda Etkind, first-year International Media and Communications student, told Impact: “The technology to record lectures is readily available and easy to use, so I think it’s a great idea that the University has finally taken steps to make lecture recordings more available to students. This will definitely be useful, as listening to a lecture for a second time can enable students to a better understanding of lecture content, and be very helpful when revising the material at the end of term”.

Education Officers have been pushing for the implementation of University-wide lecture capture for the last six years, but although pleased by the “enormous progress”, current SU Education Officer, Beth Massey, warns there is still some way to go.

“There are a lot of sensitivities around the implementation of lecture capture”, Massey says, explaining problems with progress due to opposition from a member of the University Executive Board. “Having now passed at both Teaching and Learning Board and Senate […] this is definitely further along than we have ever been before”. However, “the work is not over”. There is still “considerable investment” required for “effective” use of lecture capture.

“We are doing a lot of lecture capture already – there has been a tenfold increase in the use of the Echo 360 system since it was introduced in 2011-12”

An opt-out policy, which is a preferred solution to opt-in, means that all lectures will be recorded unless there is a specific, reasonable reason not to. This means rather than sporadic recordings, students will have access to the vast majority of their lectures online, available for use at any time.

Sarah Speight, Professor of Higher Education, University Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, laid out the University’s plans for encouraging teaching staff to use lecture capture software. With the aim of “strongly encouraging teaching staff” to utilise lecture recording technology, the road to expansion encompasses four main strategies: 1) briefing schools on the use of the technology in their sector; 2) offering additional staff training; 3) improving the technology available; and 4) commissioning pilot projects to better understand the impact of lecture capture on teaching and learning.

Pilot projects would include exploring how lecture capture affects both teaching and learning, as well as investigating how students tend to use the recordings, and which student demographics lecture capture suits best.

“some students get access routinely to recorded lectures while others never get access”

However, worries over the impact of lecture capture on students’ productivity have been dismissed by Massey, who told Impact, “there is no evidence of a causal link” between using the technology and student attendance at lectures.

According to Speight, the University’s agreement to a roadmap marks a movement toward consistency. She said, “We are doing a lot of lecture capture already – there has been a tenfold increase in the use of the Echo 360 system since it was introduced in 2011-12”. However, she did mention that “some students get access routinely to recorded lectures while others never get access”, meaning the focus of the University’s progress will be “on those Schools that do not use lecture capture at the moment”.

The positive move forward with lecture capture will likely be welcomed by students throughout the University, and an encouragement for Massey who admits that they are “finally seeing positives”.

Isobel Sheene 

Make sure to follow Impact for more information and updates regarding lecture capture. 

Featured image courtesy of ‘Jirka Matousek’ via Flickr. License here.

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