Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lecture Capture

lecture theatreThere are moves here at Leicester Uni to use lecture capture. A blog post by Mark Smithers suggests why this might be a bad idea. First, a couple of plus points for lecture capture:
The capture can be broken down into smaller chunks, so that it's not just simply a re-run of the lecture. It can also have subtitles added, and questions can be provided to engage the student in some active participation rather than simply passively watching.

It is useful for recording guest lecturers and visiting subject matter experts.

So, on to the bad points made by Smithers in his blog. Lecture capture perpetuates a passive and outdated mode of teaching. It is using 21st century technology to present 1000 year old pedagogy.

Lectures are a certain length often to suit the timetabling requirements of a particular building, rather than for any pedagogical reason - is there any need for example for lectures to be 1 or 2 hours long? Furthermore no meaningful learning can occur in a lecture.

What's the alternative? Use video technology to record short desktop pieces that are about 10 minutes long, and which develop a particular point. Or any sort of content that gets across information and ideas efficiently. This fits with the attention span of students, and enables them to study in their own time. Research at Bath University, where they have used lecture capture, suggests that the students spend around 10 minutes looking at the capture. This suggests they are skimming for particular content, and it ties in with evidence for people's attention span when learning. However, Bath uses the Panopto software which has good searching and note taking facilities.

Overall - I suppose it's like any technology in education, it can be used badly, and it can be used well. Perhaps money could be better spent on staff development that encourages different methods of delivery, and more engaging ways to deliver lectures.

photo credit: I, Timmy via photopin cc

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