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Engaging Lecture Capture: Lights, Camera Interaction!

By Margie A. Martyn
Lecture capture began 10 years ago at DePaul University in Chicago when the College of Computing and
Digital Media developed the Course OnLine system.
Both in-class and online students benefit from lecture capture, which augments classroom sessions for the
former and replaces classroom lectures for the latter.
Increasing the interactivity in lecture captures can improve student engagement and learning outcomes, as
suggested by matching the seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education with good practice in
lecture capture.
It might sound strange to use the word interaction when talking about course lecture capture, but interaction is
the key to engaging students. Lecture capture is a solution that captures classroom-based activities in a digital
format that is then available for download or consumption over the internet.
In the College of Computing and
Digital Media (CDM) at DePaul University in Chicago, this technology began 10 years ago with the
development of their proprietary Course OnLine system. This system captures video of the instructor, two
whiteboards, and whatever is displayed on the instructors PC, including PowerPoint presentations, Excel
spreadsheets, or other software (see Figure 1). Lecture capture serves both in-class students, by augmenting the
classroom sessions, and online students, by replacing the classroom lecture. Faculty members are recorded as
they teach the in-class section, while the online section watches the recording during the following week. The
sections share the same learning outcomes, assignments, and exams.

Figure 1. Lecture Capture Screenshot from Course OnLine
In addition to Course OnLine, a variety of solutions are on the market from Accordant, Echo
, Elluminate,
Panopto, Sonic Foundry, Techsmith, and Tegrity. A few key players dominate the market, with Sonic Foundry
holding a hefty 40 percent-plus market share (including the education, government, corporate, and health care
sectors). J ust a handful of vendors provide the lecture capture systems in use at most major universities.
recent partnership between Blackboard and Echo
, which the companies claim offers a seamless solution for
Blackboard users, will certainly increase the use of this technology in the future. Lecture capture has found an
important and permanent place in education.
According to Ramaswani
Digital lecture capture and broadcast has been around for only about 10 years, but are poised for healthy
growth. Frost & Sullivan research analysts estimate that the market (which amounts to $25 million currently)
will quadruple by 2013.
Is the cost and time outlay in these systems worth the investment? Does lecture capture engage students and
help them learn? The research to date has found a perception by students that it does; however, there is limited
preliminary research on how it might impact actual learning outcomes.
In a study of 29,078 in-class students at the University of WisconsinMadison,
which used lecture capture to
augment their classroom experience, 82 percent of the students would prefer a course in which lecture content is
recorded, and 60 percent were willing to pay extra to have this technology available to them. Students cited the
benefits of:
Making up for a missed class
Watching lectures on demand
Improving retention of class materials
Improving test scores
Reviewing material as a complement to in-class interactions
One student noted:
I would love to have online lectures in addition to normal lectures. Focusing on listening and comprehension
during class is very important to me and extremely difficult if I am also simultaneously scribbling notes.

At Temple University,
faculty and students perceived that lecture capture improved student learning and helped
with exam preparation. Lecture capture had very high approval rates by both faculty and students, and 95
percent of the students said they preferred taking a course supplemented by lecture capture. At Coppin State,

using course capture to augment the class increased retention.
Webcasts offered students increased flexibility in the way they learned and obtained course information, which
in turn contributed to psychological benefits such as a sense of security and a reduction of anxiety.

There is very little research on using lecture capture for online-only students. When the systems are used by
online students without the benefit of the in-class experience, the results may differ. In a focus group of in-class
students using lecture capture:
A few said that they might consider taking the course by webcast, especially if instructors were available
during office hours, but many disagreed, fearing the engagement level would be lower.

Online students dont have the benefit of meeting the faculty and other students first, and then using the lecture
recordings as an additional resource. The classes are recorded, and the online students view them later. They
rely on the lecture recordings as the primary mechanism to interact with faculty.
Although the research supports that students perceive webcasts to be a helpful learning tool, the impact on
grades, test scores, and learning is not clear. While existing studies do not demonstrate that lecture webcasting
has a positive impact on learning outcomes, they do seem to indicate that the availability of archived lectures
improves the student experience.
A report from University of Texas at Austin indicates that exam scores did
not differ in a statistically significant way between the webcast and no-webcast sections.
A small study at
Coppin State University
that compared face-to-face classes both with and without course capture found that
students in face-to-face classes that used course capture received slightly better grades than those in classes
To improve actual learning outcomes, pedagogy should include interactive discussions and activities.

Successful course lecture capture requires a well-defined strategy. Developing the knowledge, skills, and
attitudes necessary for delivery needs to be systematically achieved. J ust as in the pyramid of Maslows
Hierarchy of Needs,
where the physiological and then safety needs must be met before higher level needs are
met, the same holds true for lecture capture. Faculty must learn how to use the lecture capture system and then
the technical fundamentals before advancing to integrating interactivity and improved learning outcomes. (See
Figure 2.) For example, it is impossible to explain the complexities of network security when you forget to turn
on your microphone!

Figure 2. Lecture Capture Developmental Hierarchy
Lecture Capture System Polices and Training
Laying a solid foundation for successful lecture capture requires the institution to address three areas:
1. Providing a lecture capture system
2. Defining policies for use
3. Training faculty and students
Lecture Capture Systems
It is important to purchase or develop a system that accommodates a variety of teaching styles and does not
require faculty intervention. For example, MScribe, the pilot developed by the ATLAS Collaboratory Project at
the University of Michigan, utilizes a robotics tracking system that follows the lecturer as he or she walks about
the lecture space wearing an infrared-emitting necklace. Purdue University is putting standard lecture capture
technology in classrooms, yet David Eisert, manager of emerging technologies at Purdue University, indicated
that faculty members said they would not even be willing to press a button at the beginning of class to initiate
the recording. As a result, Purdue found a workaround that would require minimal cooperation form
Faculty are educators and need to concentrate on the content and presentation they should not be
expected to become technical experts as well. Technical support staff should implement, test, and maintain the
equipment (including back-up supplies like extra whiteboards and cameras) as needed.
Develop clear guidelines regarding the use of lectures and communicate them to faculty before a course begins.
While some lecture recordings from past classes (with a guest speaker, for example) may be used again, most
lectures should be fresh every class to incorporate new information, trends, and current events. A policy for
missed lectures, make-up lectures, and so forth should be communicated to faculty so that they are clear on how
and when the lectures will be recorded. In addition, a procedure should be instituted for faculty to request that a
certain class or entire course not be recorded. While lecture recordings are beneficial for the majority of
courses, class discussions in courses that address personal topics or controversial subject matter might be
adversely affected if recorded.
Educate faculty on the best practices and limitations of lecture capture. Ensure that faculty members are trained
to explore methods to integrate their pedagogy with lecture capture. (See this sample course lecture capture that
instructs faculty on the topic.) Figure 3 shows the opening screen for the Course OnLine documentation web
page on lecture capture, which has many recordings and tips from faculty on best practices.

Figure 3. Course OnLine Lecture Capture Resources
According to Traphagan:
A few instructors were not aware of essential practices, such as repeating students questions and telling where
the laser pointer was aimed. Some instructors found it difficult to remember essential practices, such as wearing
a microphone. Program staff should consider a more systematic way to convey all essential things that
instructors should be careful about and consider providing aids for instructors.

Technical Fundamentals
Lecture captures should be approached as an iterative process. Faculty should practice the technical
fundamentals required before, during, and after the class session. After going through this iteration, the learning
from watching the captured class will lead to changes that can be implemented before and during the next class.
Below is a checklist of practices that faculty should address for each recorded class session.
Before Class
All hardware (microphones, cable connections, etc.) should be tested. Batteries run out (have extras
available), cables jiggle loose, and connections break. Being proactive can avoid having an entire lecture
If using a lapel microphone, be sure that it is positioned for optimum sound quality. Systems have a
variety of microphone types and placement that affect sound capture. Also, avoid wearing accessories
that might make noise (bracelets, necklaces, chains).
Wear solid colors that have little pattern. Avoid herringbone, because it will cause jittering in the video
and make it look like the jacket is moving.
Avoid wearing material that is metallic or reflective because
this could cause light issues.
Educate students on the interface used to watch lectures. In a focus group of students using Course
OnLine at CDM in the summer of 2009, it was clear that students were not aware of the playback
options available to review lectures. A similar study
found that students were unfamiliar with some of
the interface features to facilitate the effective use of the webcasts. For example, the knowledge of slide
lists and other features would have helped them learn the material more effectively and efficiently.
Employ strategies to encourage students class attendance and viewing of webcasts. For example,
students can be given points for participation (attendance) or for submitting short discussion board
postings. This ensures that students view and comprehend the material and also provides interaction
with faculty and other students.
During Class
The instructor should stay within the video and sound capture zone. It can be distracting to students who
are watching the recording when the instructor disappears from view and then reappears.
Faculty should repeat students questions before answering. The microphone configurations on many
lecture capture systems do a good job capturing the instructors voice but not the students voices.
Classes should be monitored in real time to determine whether the capture quality is satisfactory. Course
OnLine has a remote administration feature that allows real-time monitoring. With other systems, the
instructor might need to do a spot check.
Whiteboards need to be erased carefully before being used again. Course OnLine provides a whiteboard
helper (called WBhelper) that allows faculty members to see the student view of the whiteboard.
Faculty should remember that when they point at things on the whiteboard, students might not be able to
see that detail in the video. Accompany pointing with words that describe what is being addressed.
After Class
Faculty should view their own recorded lectures for overall capture quality (video, sound, whiteboard,
Faculty, by watching recorded lectures, can learn from mistakes and improve future lectures. According
to Deal, Lecture webcasting can affect the quality of the educational experience indirectly by
influencing instructor behavior and perspectives.

Integrating Interactivity
Although mastering the technical fundamentals is a critical step, more should be done. A survey of 1,117 online
learning students at CDM in the spring of 2009 demonstrates this point. Of the 373 students who responded (33
percent), many had positive feedback about the technical fundamentals. (See Table 1.) However, a closer look
at their comments shows that in order for them to be fully engaged, faculty need to integrate interactivity. (See
"Interactivity" for specific student comments.)
Table 1. Survey Results about Lecture Capture Technical Fundamentals
Question Very
Good Satisfactory Unsatisfactory Poor
Rate the quality of the recorded instructor audio 25% 45% 24% 6% 0%
Rate the quality of the recorded instructor video 19% 38% 32% 10% 0%
Rate the quality of the recorded student questions/comments
13% 25% 29% 25% 8%
Rate the quality of the PC screenshots 38% 36% 21% 4% 1%
Rate the quality of the whiteboard recordings 20% 35% 30% 11% 4%
Faculty members should create opportunities for students to participate after the class lecture by asking
questions to be answered later, and then following the lecture with asynchronous discussion boards,
synchronous chat, or blogs. Some lecture capture systems allow synchronous virtual classrooms to run in
tandem with the lecture capture. CDM students in the survey view this as an attractive option. Remote students
crave the interaction that in-class students get by attending class. The interaction works to motivate both the
strong students and those who are struggling.
What I think were finding is that its the motivated student who benefits most from being able to review
course-lectures, since they allow her to check the accuracy of her own notes by going right to the source. The
student already prepared to do well will only further excel when given additional tools and resources. The
student who is struggling but wants to do well will also benefit by using videos as a virtual tutor and a way to
jog her memory.

Applying the seven principles for good practice
will help faculty reach all students though integrating
interactivity. Significant changes in teaching and learning are possible, particularly when interactive
technologies are involved. These changes promise to better engage the Net Generation and the adult learner.

Table 2 relates Chickering and Gamsons principles to specific practices for adding interactivity to lecture
Table 2. Seven Principles for Good Practice Applied to Lecture Recordings
Principle Practice
Encourages contact
between students and
Include questions in lectures that students need to respond to. After reviewing the lecture, the
student responds to questions on a discussion board. Students can respond to other students
responses as well.
Grade discussion postings. Faculty can review and provide feedback. Frequent student-faculty
contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement.

Develops reciprocity
and cooperation among
Assign a student the responsibility of summarizing and highlighting the important points of the
captured lecture. Students can be broken down into groups to do this. Instructor reviews and
students prompts students for missed points. In addition, student groups can take case studies presented in
the lecture and do additional research and follow-up.
Encourages active
Require students to apply lecture material to a case study, problem set, or real-world application,
instead of passively watching the lecture.
Gives prompt feedback Incorporate a synchronous component in the lecture capture system through a tool like Wimba.
This provides online students the potential to get immediate feedback to questions. In addition, this
option provides a larger pool of diverse students in the class discussion. Online students from a
broader geographical area can provide a diverse perspective.
Ask students to post the muddiest point of the lecture so that faculty can clarify via the discussion
Create quizzes based on material presented in lecture that are graded automatically. Having
students see what they missed focuses learning.
Emphasizes time on
Encourage students to review the lecture and learn before the next lecture is presented. This allows
students to spend more time than would be available in a normal in-class session. To improve
learning outcomes, instructors must think creatively about using webcasting technology to free up
valuable classroom time for more interactive discussion and activities.

Communicates high
Provide feedback on assignments in lecture to emphasize course goals and expectations. Students
can review this feedback throughout the term via the lecture playback system.
Respects diverse
talents and ways of
Support all learning styles: video and slides for visual, sound for auditory, and thumbnails and slide
movements for kinesthetic learners. Different groups of students benefit from lecture capture in
different ways. The relationships between students characteristics and the benefits they receive
from webcasts are complex.

Improved Learning Outcomes
The research to date has focused on student perception of value rather than actual learning outcomes.
Continuing to improve lecture capture technology, while important, simply builds the foundation of th
pyramid. The greatest increase in the effectiveness of lecture capture systems will come from the applica
pedagogical techniques that integrate interactivity. Once some instructors have successfully integrated
interactivity, we can measure the effect on actual learning outcomes. Given the magnitude of positive
perceptions surrounding the effectiveness of lecture capture systems, the impact on learning outcomes might be
significant and warrants further investigation. The College of Computing and Digital Media plans to continue
research in this area as more instructors adopt changes in pedagogy while recording their lectures. Data that
demonstrates significant increases in student learning will be the motivating factor for instructors to move
beyond the technical fundamentals and toward integrating interaction in their own courses.
tion of
1. Ann McClure, Lecture Capture: A Fresh Look (April 2008).
2. Rama Ramaswani, Capturing the Market, Campus Technology, J une 1, 2009.
3. McClure, Lecture Capture: A Fresh Look.
4. Ramaswani, Capturing the Market, para. 1.
5. Raj Veeramani and Sandra Bradley, Insights Regarding Undergraduate Preference for Lecture Capture, University of
WisconsinMadison E-Business Institute (September 23, 2008).
6. Ibid., p. 4.
7. Linda L. Briggs, Classroom Capture: Lecture Recording System Draws Devotees at Temple, Campus Technology,
February 14, 2007.
8. n Classroom Capture Boost Retention Rates? Linda L. Briggs, Ca Campus Technology, October 17, 2007.
9. Tomoko Traphagan, Class Lecture Webcasting, Fall 2004 and Spring 2005: A Case Study, Program Evaluation Report,
University of Texas at Austin (October 24, 2005), p. 7.
10. Ibid., p. 64.
11. Ashley Deal, Lecture Webcasting: A Teaching with Technology White Paper, Carnegie Mellon University (J anuary 16,
12. , Class Lecture Webcasting Traphagan , p. 6.
13. Briggs, Can Classroom Capture Boost Retention Rates?
14. Deal, Lecture Webcasting.
15. Abraham H. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Review, vol. 50, no. 4 (1943), pp. 37096.
16. Steve Kolowich, Fans and Fears of Lecture Capture, Inside Higher Ed, November 9, 2009.
17. Traphagan, Class Lecture Webcasting, p. 14.
18. Lecture Capture System, Information Technology Services, University of Illinois at Springfield.
19. Traphagan, Class Lecture Webcasting.
20. Deal, Lecture Webcasting, p. 7.
21. Paul Riismandel, Course-Capture Is Poised to Blow Up in 08, blog entry December 9, 2007, para. 6.
22. Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson, Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, American
Association for Higher Education Bulletin, March 1987.
23. he Net Generation Diana G. Oblinger and J ames L. Oblinger, eds. Educating t (Boulder, CO: 2005).
24. Chickering and Gamson, Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, para. 5.
25. Deal, Lecture Webcasting, p. 1.
26. Traphagan, Class Lecture Webcasting, p. 10.
2009 Margie A. Martyn. The text of this article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 license.