Lecture Capture Debate summary

A summary of the Lecture Capture Debate held as part of the IT Focus week on 20 November 2013 1-2pm.

The discussion will be used as part of the feedback to the Lecture capture pilot project.


The session began with an introduction from Christine Fyfe, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Students:

One of the particularly pleasing things about our engagement with Lecture Capture at Leicester is that it was an enhancement theme proposed by the students. It is an example of the strong partnership that exists between students and the University.

There are obvious benefits: it can act as a revision aid, enabling students to revisit lectures or particularly difficult sections of a lecture. In my view, these are the least important aspects of Lecture Capture. We should be looking at it in a much more active way – it can open up new possibilities for teaching and teaching innovation through the flipped lecture.

Jon Scott gave a description of the trial process, how two systems will be used: Echo and Panopto and the pilot will be used to develop thoughts around Lecture Capture. Jon then asked each of the panellists to introduce themselves and share for two minutes their position on Lecture capture:

Alan Cann

I am a huge fan of online video; I have a YouTube channel which is about to reach 1.5m views and I think that online video is a fantastic tool for augmenting learning. But, I have a problem with Lecture Capture. There is a lot of evidence in peer reviewed education literature that it is quite easy to use recordings to distance students and push them away from academic staff.  As class sizes get larger that problem is increasingly apparent.

We should be using these technologies not to replace lectures, which is the danger when we stick this Lecture Capture label on it, we should be using them to augment lectures, to make high-impact TED style videos of so called threshold concepts that students struggle with.  But, much more importantly, rather than watching someone recite their PowerPoint presentations – which is going to happen – we should have rooms dedicated to this technology so that students can go in and they can make these short, five minute videos on threshold concepts. That’s where the gains are to be had.

Michael Rubin

The Students’ Union are delighted that the University has implemented the pilot and to echo Christine, it’s another brilliant example of the partnership to enhance the student experience.

I think it is important to start off by busting a myth: Lecture Capture is not designed as a tool to help lazy students – it’s an incredibly important learning tool. At its heart, it is an online tool to help students learn. The main reason will be when it comes to essays and exams and students can look back and review.

Further to that, there are certain segments of the student population that will really benefit:

  • International students who struggle with English may wish to revisit lectures
  • Students with learning difficulties that have to record lectures
  • Distance learners can feel more connected with the campus

Dylan Williams

Like Alan, I have also been involved in producing videos.  I was very interested when I was approached by the University as it offers a different kind of benefit – it’s not just about building up a library or database of recorded lectures – it is about giving us the scope to think how we can make better use of the contact time we have with students by pre-loading a lot of material and doing something a bit more productive, problem-focused or context-focused with contact time.

Chris Gooch

I have been looking at Lecture Capture for a few years and how it is implemented in other institutions. Additionally, we have already been recording lectures – especially in the Medical School – Lecture Capture is just a follow on from that.

As Michael has already said: it is a learning tool as opposed to something that supplies everything. Lecture Capture is not just video, but can be audio or PowerPoint or a combination of these things. One of the real benefits of it is that it enables lecturers to identify where students are struggling as they can review if specific sections of lectures are watched more frequently than others.

The debate

Could Lecture Capture impact the quality of a lecture?

There is the danger of lecturers being more careful about what they say if they are recorded making it difficult to have frank discussions around sensitive topics. Also, isn’t there a danger it could stop students from doing further reading and just relying on the recording?

  • The lecturer owns the recordings and can edit parts that are too sensitive. At all times the lecturer has control
  • It is better that the lecturer has control. Although it is not permitted, there are already instances of students recording lectures and it would be much better for the student to obtain it from a proper recording of the lecture
  • Lecture Capture would not stop students from doing further reading – it is just another tool that they have available to enhance their learning
  • Nobody is saying that this is how you revise – it is a revision aid and there is nobody that holds the view that students do not need to do further reading

How will the trial be evaluated? Will there be academic perceptions and will there be evidence of how the software is used.

  • Academics signed up to the pilot will provide feedback through questionnaires and focus groups and students will be surveyed for their experiences
  • IT Services will provide information around usage patterns
  • An important thing we get out of this is if we can see particular hot spots where students are playing a specific section over and over allows us to see if there is something conceptually challenging, that perhaps we hadn’t appreciated, which we can then improve

Would we be wiser to invest in technology for video editing software?

  • The two are not mutually exclusive – the University has an individual licence which means that it can be used remotely on University laptops and computers.
  • There is the danger of that kind of system going underused unless there was also a significant investment in training and staff development for lecturers who may not be comfortable with such software.

Is there evidence to suggest students want Lecture Capture?

  • A survey by the Students’ Union asked ‘Would having access to recordings of your lectures benefit your learning?’  Around 85% of students believed that it would.
  • Michael Rubin: As Education Officer for the Students’ Union my number one pledge was to campaign for Lecture Capture and I received over 1800 votes
  • UCL, LSE, Birmingham, UEA, Manchester and Newcastle have all surveyed students since Lecture Capture has been introduced and between 75% - 90% have said that they have benefited from its introduction

Would Lecture Capture stop students from attending lectures?

  • There is the possibility of a slight drop in attendance
  • There would be very little impact or no impact. Students value lectures and accessing them online won’t stop students attending.
  • When PowerPoint was first introduced and slides were shared before lectures, people feared that students would not attend lectures and it didn’t happen

What impact will Lecture Capture have on Distance Learning students?

  • It opens up the possibility for them to feel less isolated. There is an opportunity for Distance Learning students to feel part of a lecture. You can never fully integrate Distance Learners but access to a lecture on campus can help to bridge that gap to some extent.

Will this open up the market for disabled students who may not always be able to attend lectures?

  • There is a very strong equalities benefit to these kind of developments

How will the institutions use the meta-data to monitor staff and students?

  • Reviewing the data for anything other than teaching and learning purposes is not part of the ethical policy of an institution like ours.

Twitter and Blog coverage

You can view the Twitter coverage for the debate:

A few blogs were also written by attendees of the debate:


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