Lecture Capture Case Study

Dawn WatkinsSenior Lecturer in Law, trialled the lecture capture system throughout 2013/14. She is not exactly new to recording her lectures; Dawn has been audio-recording her lectures and distributing the files via Blackboard for five years now. Still, lecture capture with the video elements was a new endeavour. Dawn recorded lectures for a first-year group and a third-year group; both groups are very large (more than 200 students).

Quick Stats

Looking at the third-year group in semester 2 (Equity and Trusts), with 332 enrolled, 15 lectures were recorded. Each lecture had an average of 103 views with an average completion rate of 82%. Each lecture had an average of 12 ‘warm spots’ or sections in the lecture which students specifically chose to listen to/view, as shown in the figure below.

Warm spots lecture capture

In the end of module evaluation, one question (Q10) was asked about podcasts, and another question (Q11) was asked about lecture capture:

Q10: Podcasts in Semester 1 were useful

Q11: The Lecture Capture Material in Semester 2 was useful

The chart below shows that for both questions, ‘Excellent’ and ‘Very good’ ratings add up to just under 80%, and the lecture capture question drew no ‘Poor’ ratings.

Equity Trusts Evaluation Data

Dawn gave her impressions and findings after one year of doing lecture capture:

1) Looking back over one year of doing lecture capture, do you feel you could see impact on the students’ learning?

“Having said that we are too anecdotal, I can only give you anecdotal evidence here! The best example to work from is Equity and Trusts. All of the S2 lectures were recorded using Echo or panopto. But podcasts of all S1 lectures were available too - we have been doing this for a few years now. There seem to have been a number of 'hits' on aspects of the course that are particularly difficult, so I hope that the lecture captures aided understanding in this way. In terms of overall attainment, the students did slightly better as a whole than last year - but this is part of a wider trend in improving performance that we have seen over the last 3 plus years, which has to do with many factors. So I couldn't attribute the better performance to the lecture captures alone.

But more subtly, I think that having access to the recorded lectures increased student confidence in the course (and in us as teachers, I think - creating the feeling that the lecturers are 'on their side'). A few said that they found this module the least stressful to revise for and sit an exam in, as they knew exactly what to expect and had been 'set up to win'. So in a way, I think that knowing that the lectures are there to go back to has a positive impact - even if the students don't actually revisit them in the end.

So - in terms of impact - I'd summarise by saying that it provides students with more control over their learning, which improves confidence, and contributes to higher attainment levels, when combined with other strategies to improve student performance.”

2) Did you see any change in students’ attitudes when you started doing lecture capture?

“These students were already used to podcasts, but they were nevertheless very enthusiastic about being able to see the slides with the lecture - as they could see exactly where they were. Responses were overwhelmingly positive. Students wanted to know when/if this would be used in other subjects. I was conscious of not wanting to increase student expectations in this regard - so was pleased to be running the trial with final year students primarily.”

3) Did you see any change in the way you taught – and if so, change for the good or not-so-good? If not-so-good, is there anything you can suggest for next time?

“Being videoed - or perhaps more accurately, watching the video back afterwards - made lecturing more stressful ("oh my goodness, my hair looks terrible!..."I'll never wear that dress again" type of thing) - so I opted to audio record only and I felt much more relaxed, as I was used to audio-recording lectures. The editing process proved to be more challenging than with Audacity, and I soon realised that editing would be far too time-consuming and didn't do it. This did make me slightly more careful in what I said - but not to the extent that it changed my teaching significantly.”

4) Were there any situations for which lecture capture just would not work?

“I have a couple of lectures that involve student participation at the front of the lecture theatre - so recording all of that was very challenging and probably too much hassle to be worth it. I also have guest speakers contribute to lectures occasionally, and I think they would be uneasy about being recorded. Colleagues who use links to YouTube etc would face copyright problems, I think.”

5) Do you have any ‘take-home’ message to other academics considering doing lecture capture?

“Certainly I would advocate adopting an audio-only approach (at least to start with) as it is far less stressful. When I started podcasting, concerns were raised by some colleagues that student attendance would diminish. This prompted me to do some research on the issue, and I found that this is a very common concern, but student attendance does not significantly diminish in fact (written up in D Watkins ‘Podcasting: a lawyer’s tale’ (2010) Vol.44, No.2 The Law Teacher, 169). The research seems to indicate a similar trend for lecture capture - with the exception of dull lectures or those schedules late on a Friday afternoon. Perhaps because we have large student numbers, and lectures are not compulsory, I have never worried too much about this issue. I am happy for students to decide when and where they listen to the lecture, as it is part of encouraging them to take responsibility for their learning.”



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