Is lecture capture the worst educational technology?

Lecture Capture

Licensed CC by The Reith Lectures

Is lecture capture the single worst example of poor educational technology use in higher education?

Many institutions seem to be completely obsessed with lecture capture technology as a method of generating flexibly accesible learning content. For me though the large scale implementation of lecture capture is probably one of the costliest and strategically misguided educational technologies that an institution can adopt. Now before I go on let me say that I wouldn’t be here now if not for lecture capture. I used nascent lecture capture technology at a UK university in 1994 to record myself and then used the recording as part of a succesful job application to be an academic at an Australian university. In fact I don’t have a deep seated dislike of the technology itself, just the way that it gets used. It certainly has some uses, like getting a job.

Furthermore I don’t believe that the lecture is dead. I just think that it is vastly overused in higher education and that most learning can be delivered in better ways. So just mostly dead. I do, for example, believe that there is a place for capturing important presentations given by a visiting subject matter expert. This means having one or two venues equiped to record a presentation. What many HE institutions have done is to invest heavily in technology (not usually in staff development) to record in large numbers of venues.

The other thing I should say before telling you why I think lecture capture is so bad is to say that I think that associated technologies such as desktop capture actually have great promise and, with appropriate staff development and leadership, can lead to much higher quality material that leverages off the existing skills of academics.

So why is this widespread use of lecture capture so bad?

  1. Large scale recording of lectures perpetuates an outdated and increasingly discredited passive learning experience. Before all the great lecturers jump up and down and say how great lecturing is you have to admit that you are the exception and not the rule and most academics, although they may be good educators, are poor presenters in the lecture theatre.
  2. The technology does nothing to engage the student who instead of sitting passively in a lecture theatre checking their text messages will now sit passively in front of a screen at home checking their text messages.
  3. Traditional lectures aren’t designed for online delivery. They’re too long. Their length is designed to fit in with the timetabling constraints of the buildings in which lectures take place not for any pedagogical reason. Why should this physical constraint be allowed to migrate its way into flexible online delivery?
  4. Using the technology takes away technical effort, funding and other resources that could be better used in consolidating other enterprise wide educational technologies and in providing more widely available and timely staff development and support.

Why do the technocracy promote wide scale lecture capture?

1. They say the students love it.

Well, lets face it, the students are starved of any decent content that they can access flexibly (uploads of bullet pointed Powerpoint decks do not count as useful online content). It is not surprising that students say they like it. But wouldn’t they much prefer richer content designed specifically for online flexible delivery? This could be short desktop recordings of 10 to 15 minutes made designed to help develop a particular point and that fits in with a students attention span and/or their ability to study flexibly from the workplace in a lunch hour for example. Or it could be any other sort of quality content that conveys ideas and information efficiently.
For me, the ‘students love it’ argument doesn’t wash. Students love getting the notes before the lecture and being given exam hints (oops, I meant guidance) but that doesn’t mean that either of these are good practices.

2. They say the staff love it.

Well that’s patently untrue otherwise utilisation rates would be higher. The fact is that a relatively small number of academics like the technology. Probably because they consider themselves to be particularly good at lecturing.

3. They say it provides flexibility and doesn’t involve any staff development

The argument is that staff can deliver their material online but still maintain their traditional delivery practice as well. That is to say, all they need to do is click a button and they’re delivering material online. I’m not really quite sure why an ability to avoid providing staff development is seen as a positive attribute for an edtech but it would seem to the case here. Actually, I do know the reason, it’s because staff development involves cultural and organisational change within a higher education institution and that is much harder than installing servers and recording devices.

I’m sure there are lots of other reasons that edtechnocrats promote lecture capture that I’ve missed and there are probably quite a few more reasons why it should be considered the worst used educational technology than I’ve listed. What do you think? Am I wrong? Am I right? What other educational technologies might vie with lecture capture for the worst educational technology? Clickers comes to mind for me but I’ll save the devices that try to turn academics into game show hosts for another post.

51 Comments On “Is lecture capture the worst educational technology?”

  1. Well captured, Mark! 😉

    I think under “So why is this widespread use of lecture capture so bad?” you can add:

    5. Because it gives institutions and teachers the mistaken belief that they are meeting the needs of the 21st century student with their teaching approach . Meaning they will not invest in exploring and adopting 21st c pedagogies, like social constructivism, networked learning and connectivism.


  2. Couldn’t agree more with the sentiment here. In one of my units this semester, I’ve scrapped all lectures. Instead, I’m creating shorter recordings of some of the theoretical content – the kind of length that you might just be willing to sit in front of a screen to view. Students will view these before class. Instead of using class time for traditional lectures, we’ll be hearing from industry experts and undertaking a range of practical activities. I’ll still use screen capture for some of our guest lectures; others will take the form of recorded interviews. And in some weeks we won’t have class at all – we’ll have activities to complete online.

    I’m yet to see how the students feel about this – from the look on some of their faces when I explained the approach we’d be taking this semester, I think there’s a bit of skepticism about what they’re going to get out of this approach. Some students (particularly at the Masters level, where students have had prior experience in higher ed environments) still expect a traditional lecture every week of semester.

    Many people seem to think posting a recording of a lecture online amounts to ‘blended learning’. This technology has a lot to answer for on that front.

    I might also add: I think the major LMS in use at the moment are incredibly bad educational technology, too.


    • Thanks for the comment Kate. I think what you are doing sounds great. I hope it works well.

      I do agree that some students have an expectation that they will be ‘given’ their knowledge and understanding by sitting in a lecture and, presumably, being given some lecture notes before hand. Higher education institutions are largely to blame for this culture of dependence and it’s one of the worst things to happen to higher education in the last thirty years.

      I also agree with your last sentence :).


  3. The world’s most common hobby is watching “passive”, “unpedagogical” and “too long” TV-shows. These are often more than 50 minutes. According to the reasoning of this blog post, TV would never have catched on. Most of the time, students actually want a “passive learning experience”.

    What I enjoy from lecture capturing, is beeing able to watch the greatest lectures in the world, and skip any lectures that are not excellent. When I was a student in the 90s, I would dream of having a fast forward button on lectures and skip all talks not of TED class.


    • Thanks for the reply Harald.

      I think that there are many highly educational television shows but these are extremely well produced at high cost and with the input of many people with a lot of experience in creating content that will continue to engage the viewer over the period of an hour.

      Some students may say they want a passive learning experience but does that mean it’s the best way of learning? I’ve observed student behaviour in lecture theatres and often the majority of students are completely disengaged.

      I agree that lecture capturing the best lectures is valuable. I really enjoy watching recordings of Professor Marian Diamond from Berkeley giving her lectures on human anatomy but that is mainly because she is a fabulous presenter. Not many academics would be any where near as good. I definitely think there is a place for recordings of that quality. My argument is against the wholesale recording of lectures at universities as some sort of panacea for creating digital content.


  4. I agree with the post. And I have to disagree with Harald – televisions shows have a commercial breaks every 5-10 minutes where you can get up and move around. They also spend millions of dollars to make themselves engaging and palpable to passive engagement. I would argue that entertainment is different than learning – the passive mode of television is excellent for entertainment, but not for learning (as this article points out). Comparing hobby and entertainment to learning is not a fair comparison.

    Also, in college you don’t always have the luxury of skipping the boring lectures if you want to pass. But what if you replace that boring lecture with engaging active learning?


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  6. Hello Mark

    Thanks for the post as allows us to pause and reflect on this particular topic.

    From my reading and conversations about lecture capture in the past 1-2yrs I would say that there seems to be growing momentum toward lecture capture led in part by the “if X institution is doing it then maybe we should be?” – i think this curiosity is natural.

    The idea of having the choice of recording a lecture anywhere a lecture takes place is a good one BUT this may be in the form of portable kit (such as done by Nottingham with portable recording kits) or institution/department systems (Bath are trialling such an approach).

    So now that it is ‘technically’ possible to record a lecture many will be doing so.
    However, and this is where I think you are indeed correct and I think is the main point of the post, is that use of such recordings should be done based on appropriate context OR it will be a poor experience.

    Recording guest sessions seems obvious as does recording key sessions.
    Where recording every lecture, i think if the lecturer considers usage and context, it can still ‘potentially’ be value. I stress ‘potentially’.
    I think if we consider what ‘contact’ time is these days then there can be good potential to weave lecture capture and other forms of multimedia and web service usage to benefit the whole experience.

    I like to always consider how each face-to-face contact time has a sliding scale of pre-session, during face-to-face and post-session activity that lecture capture may influence.
    Does that mean that a full 1hr session is always required? no. I can see how a terms worth of recordings could be cut/spliced and adapted though. At the moment ‘revision’ time is a clear use/value but I hope that we can move beyond just this use case.

    At Bristol for example, I know that some lecturers have altered the course design to accommodate recordings and used them as springboards to all sorts of interesting activity and this is very valuable.

    Also I am intrigued by student conversations that I have had and the comments that they can see an institution who does use this type of activity as ahead of those who do not. Could this be a marketing opportunity and to what degree is this a good/bad thing for meeting expectations?

    So in closing I agree that lecture capture can be bad, as can any poor use of technology/teaching and that for it to be GOOD then we need to design for it with clear workflows and processes.

    This thread could also apply to recording of conferences perhaps.

    Nottingham Podcast kits

    University of Bath


  7. Hi Zak,

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I think that there is a certain amount of institution x is doing it so we must do it to but I think this applies to lots of edtech and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the tech is good in itself or won’t be poorly used.

    In this case, lecture capture can be used in interesting and innovative ways. However I think that, by and large, it isn’t used in interesting and innovative ways. In some senses, the marketing of this particular tech and the desire by vendors to encourage mass installations compounds the poor use of the technology. Blind Freddy can see that, as a widespread technique for generating digital content, lecture capture has a very limited future. So why do universities to continue to invest so much in them?

    I completely agree with your last point that staff need clear guidelines for using edtech and these should describe not just how, but why as well.



    PS I like your mobile recording kit solution better than fixed recording facilities.


  8. I just went and checked the University of Bath lecture capture stats. They quote total hours of video viewed (5364) and number of views (33,133) and based on this claim how much students want the technology.

    What gets interesting though, is the average viewing length. 5364 hours = 321,840 minutes divided by 33,133 individual views results in an average viewing length of 9.7 minutes. Students are therefore not viewing entire lectures, they are seeking out specific information for revision.

    I would think this supports the argument of creating desk top video addressing specific ‘hot topics’ rather than blanket lecture recording. Perhaps some lecturers don’t actually know which of their topics are the most challenging for students? That would make a desktop approach much too hard! (Okay, I’ll try and drop the cynicism).

    Most interestingly, in the book ‘Brain Rules’, John Medina claims that the typical natural attention span is about 10 minutes – amazingly close to the 9.7 minute average observed at Bath University. Dr. John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant. He is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. He’s also a great presenter and entertaining book writer.


    • Thank you for your reply Catherine. Those are really interesting stats. i wonder if I can get something similar for my institution.

      Many thanks for the John Medina reference as well and the url.




  9. I’m going to sound like the NRA, guns don’t kill people, people do.

    Anyway, your beef isn’t with lecture capture, it’s with lecturing. I recorded lectures onto tape 15 years ago, and on the whole it was delivering the same didactic material in a different way. Lecturing is the thing that should and I guess to begin to explore. Arguably lecture capture eases the massified experience that students have. For what’s worth within the paradigm that we are in (lectures cheap) lecture capture seeks to temper the god damn awful system that doesn’t work when 50% of a certain demographic is knocking around your institution, not to mention large numbers of students whose native language is not English (and I’m not even going to begin to go down that channel).

    My view is yes the lecture should be got rid of. That it is as student centred as the Victorian classroom. However, it ain’t going to happen, and the unicorn I want for my 40th ain’t coming.


  10. I agree that the lecture as the primary method of content delivery is vastly overused.

    If we can’t get rid of the lecture can we at least get rid of the notion that we capture all lectures and that this is a good use of technology.

    Incidentally, I gather some institutions are trying to move to a system whereby lecturers opt out of recordings rather than opt in. The idea is that this will vastly increase the usage rates of the recording equipment and so justify the investment.

    This is the quality of thinking that we are coming to.


    • I don’t see why you think this is particularly expensive Mark. When you consider a HR system, Student Management System it’s peanuts.


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  12. Recording lectures for the intranet is useful in very large classes where it is reasonable to assume that several students will have missed class, others will have dozed off for whatever reason, and some simply want to doublecheck something. This is particular useful when the student body and professoriate are very diverse, and with the best will in the world, people miss words because accents differ.

    Sadly, some students do use recorded lectures as a primary source. I agree that is not good because even large lecture theatres are active. Students in the room also have access to each others reactions which is important for sensemaking and the development of efficacy.

    In small classes, recording is unnecessary. Students can knock on my door, ask each other (they often don’t know anyone in a very large class) or ask at the next class.

    Hope that helps. (Of course administrators will have their own idea but that is nothing new.)


  13. So,
    very nice blog- agree but I am struggling with some reality. I teach A&P to 250 students and use lecture capture. Would you recommend that I
    1. learn to lecture like Marion Diamond.
    2. drop lecture and tell ’em to read
    3. use lecture capture that my institution offers and let students decide?
    Deciding where to spend my time is a real challenge! I like lecturing, telling relevant stories, using current events, and I like talking to students. I especially like teaching students in a way that they learn! I HAVE to teach large courses. My idea was to use lecture capture to deliver some content and then to use lecture time to have more give and take, to cover ‘tough’ material, to encourage students to arrive at lecture ‘prepared’ to learn. I have read to students don’t learn in lecture. So what is the best course?


    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for the comment and apologies for the delayed reply. I would recommend that you do the following, in order:

      1. Learn to lecture like Marion Diamond.
      2. Do fewer lectures and get the students to read more and collaborate more.
      3. Of the very few lectures that you do that are of Marion Diamond quality then record those.
      4. Learn to use desktop capture to deliver short, focused content that can be broken up with online and offline interactive activities and that isn’t constrained by physical room timetabling constraints.




  14. Lecture capture does live with the myth that video lecturing is just as good as the classroom experience. I don’t think the disadvantages of lecture capture mean that it should be gotten rid of.

    Lectures are knowledge assets. Based on a rudimentary guess, universities teachers make between $250 to $300 to give a lecture on the low end ($35k-$40k). To pay $10 to $20 to capture and save that seems like a very reasonable investment (or perhaps even up to $50). I think they have $10k+ systems which automatically record and shift based on the position of the teacher, which is a net savings over paying someone at $10 to $20 per hour. You’re more directly involved in this so know the economic calculations better.

    Should the Stanford Business school shut down video operations? Should Harvard? Should MIT? Should any other school?

    Also, if you know that 3 to 5 students will watch the video that wouldn’t have attended the lecture, it seems the system pays for itself. Sure, they’ve missed some of the value of the lecture/classroom experience. However, perhaps now the onus is on the teacher to actually make the classroom experience transformative.

    The short case for video recordings:
    1. Allow time shift and flexibility for students
    2. Create a digital video asset. $25 is a small price to pay for a lecture–much less a saved version which can be viewed again based on the students needs or future students needs.
    3. Recorded lectures have the possibility of being used as the lecture component of a blended learning experience. This is a way to up the game and disrupt existing practices. (think the Khan Academy)
    4. Present the possibility of creating a market (ie the students now have a choice to watch the lecture with a degree of flexibility.) If they aren’t coming to class, perhaps your classroom experience isn’t anything beyond a lecture. Admittedly, this is less than perfect because students may be pre-disposed to not wanting to come to class, but it might give professors a challenge.


    • Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful comment. I don’t really think the economics of video capture is that important when we’re dealing with a model of delivery that is (mostly) not very useful for the student. Should Stanford Business School or Harvard or MIT shut down their video operations? Probably not. They have enough world class content producers and deliverers there to warrant a wider scale recording program. I am curious as to why Marian Diamond’s lecture series needs to be recorded each year. I don’t suppose I’ll ever know the answer.

      I actually agree with all four of your points about the case for video recordings but I’d make the observation that desktop recording provides each of these and can be tailored to appropriate lengths of content to suit attention spans, the content, integration with interactivity and other benefits. Why does web based video delivery of learning content need to be tied into the delivery patterns determined by physical room availability and timetabling constraints?




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  16. Hi Mark,

    Great piece. I disagree mostly as I’m now a converted user, although I agree it is used poorly. Basically, Lectures are an effective way of communicating information to a large audience. Simply capturing this delivery is, to a large extent, pointless. However, I did some reseach with this (for my sins) and discovered that students, yes loved it, but at the same time found lectures to be a poor learning environment. So, as it is currently used, you simply record a bad lecture. However, I discovered that, to be overly reductionist, bad students didn’t use it anyway, instead good students used it to self-direct their post-lecture learning. In this instance, they were more confident in facilitating self-study because their notes were now complete, they could answer their own questions by reviewing the lecture, and to my surprise attended more!!! Students with dyslexia were now able to make better notes as were english 2nd language students, and even UK students could relisten if their tutor was 2nd language english. The glorificaion of tis facility is overstated, but I have discovered that it is really easy to help out students post-lecture, too with short videos. This is really helpful for my statistics classes. Secondly, for more conceptual lectures, I ahve managed to completely reframe my delivery to a student focussed lecture. Basically, I record a short lecture for them to listen to, then set them questions and task in the lecture recording. They can interact in the software leaving notes about unclear points I made (the software is Panopto by the way). They then come to class with answers prepared and engage in en masse in a peer learning environment. They then turn in their answers and findings and then I resummarise a their ideas into a short video again while also addressing their comments in teh lecture. They really love it.

    As for staff, most don’t even care to know it and some just hate it because it breaches their philosophy of teachig. Some as stupid as,” i didn’t have it so why should they”… most hate it because they fear it will replace lecturers, and secondly, attendance will fall. Thus far, neither has happened. Studens like the socailness of lectures and if they choose to not turn up it is because they have other things stopping them not the facility i.e., work, wouldn’t have come anyway, sports, just hate lectures, find the classes difficult – all published evidence.

    To me the only thing to worry about is not using this software intelligently and more importantly, lecturing staff abusing it by recordinig lectures to free their time to go do research (as it happened in my institute). I just hope this was an anomoly.
    Anyway, great points and I’m happy to share my article when its ready.


    • Hi Gareth,

      Thank you for your very detailed and considered comment. I take your points about lecture recording but I do think that recording full one hour lectures is not particularly useful. I am, however, very much a proponent of the approach you describe in the second half of your first paragraph. What you are describing is effectively flipping the lecture and making the face to face time more effective. It makes the best of both online delivery and face to face delivery.




  17. Capture is expensive and at the same time, those impliment and support it are a formidable department of technicians, not necessarily having any teacher-education knowledge. In addition, the amount of capture is somewhat used as a measure of effort by that department, and in turn relates to its funding.

    As their duty is largely to support particular venues, it is unlikely they would provide desk-top support for local capture – be that camtasia or Echo etc.,

    Finally, new technologies (new to the user) are often the subject of pilots, managed by academics not technicians who would stand little chance of getting a grant or time to evaluate them in other than a technical context. This means alternatives need to come to the notice of academics, and further that they would be interested in working on some form of discovery or action research as collaborators. As you know there are deeply held views about the gap between academic and general staff. All to often the techie is a footman, rather than offered a mount.

    The success of a lecture is measured by use/relaibility


  18. Agh, I phone! …. Success is not measured in terms of understanding, just delivery for the most part. I think you are right, however the recording of lectures is a fixture today, as is uploading PowerPoint, reading lists and the student forum. The way these are measured as useful or otherwise – often though the teaching index means teaching measures and technical measures are both tied to jobs and funding, but theres no correlation between them.


  19. I’m hunting for websites with a vast range of watches – specifically for authentic (official) luxury watches


  20. Thanks for the post and all the comments – very much enjoyed. I suppose you’ve seen Donal Clarke’s take on this issue… I wrote a little bit back in 2009 of my own thoughts on Lecture Capture:
    I’ve been investigating audio recording recently because it seems to me that in driving for video we’re overlooking that. Of course some systems will hand students both so they can choose. But perhaps even there it’s worth producing a few brief recordings of key concepts explained rather than the whole hour every single time (the audio-only has no index, even of a ppt deck, to aid navigation).
    Was looking at RMIT yesterday for this:
    Are you getting lots of confusion from having both CP and BB blogs switched on?
    Fancy you worked in Cardiff though. Oz playing Wales on Saturday…


  21. Mark, this is a great thread with lots of interesting and contrasting opinions. The one thing that is not being discussed is the fact that there are a couple of newer capture companies who are opening up the world of “capture” in brand new ways.
    1) They use internet, not appliance technology. Their cost is a small percentage of the traditional, large classroom systems. They can be run with a computer and $60 HD camera.
    2) They are “mobile” so they can easily be used from desk top (for mini-lectures), from labs, from virtual classrooms, from clinicals or practicums. Content is hosted forever and can be archived, searched, and re-used.
    3) At least one of the new companies (Panopto) offers “student recorders” which enable students to turn in assignments in skill level courses (nursing, education, cosmetology, speech, drama, etc.).
    4) The new systems typically include a powerful search engine and note taking capabilities. This is why students at Bath only watch an average of 9 minutes per lecture. They simply search the key areas they want to review for a test or paper. Nobody want to sit through a long lecture twice!
    5) Good lectures, guest speakers, and university commuications can and should be archived, shared, and re-used as needed.
    6) At the end of the day, lower cost/more flexible technology allows academics to “opt in” versus a mandate to record everything that happens in the lecture hall. As noted by others, creative faculty are using the power of video learning in highly innovative ways. This should be encouraged, but not required.
    7) Likewise, students should “opt in”. Panopto and Pearson offer a model where faculty get recording software for free and students pay (about $15 per course I think) for the ability to view any and every video recording that is posted (including their own if professor requires).

    “Lecture” is not the right word to describe capture technology. New video and search technology does indeed expand the mix of content and pedegogy well beyond the lecture hall and offers new and innovative options for teaching and learning.


  22. I am for the online lectures which are distributed publicly. If you attend a uiversity where your teachers are crap it is a good way to learn the topic. And if they do not record it for their students will they put an effort for recording and publishing on internet for humanity.

    In my opinion only scared universities which are not confident with their teaching staff has objections on this issue


  23. I think there’s a trend now to do offline marketing online (if that makes any sense)


  24. Thank you, Mark, for raising such a controversial and important issue. This sort of discussion is needed in today’s educational environment where we have more option for teaching, which inevitably creates more confusion. In my University, lecture capture is promoted as a means for better teaching and learning. My own college (College of Pharmacy) started the lecture capture culture in the University since 2008 and eventually lecture capture became a policy teaching tool. Other colleges are slowly following. We are still very lecture-oriented institution, but our class size is small, allowing for interactive teaching within the lecture. Few weeks ago, I disseminated a short online survey questionnaire to students and faculty members about lecture capture. The qualitative part of the questionnaire asks about perceived advantages and disadvantages from both groups. Students placed flexibility (choosing which part of the lecture to revise, etc) and better understanding of topics as the best things in lecture capture. They listed technical difficulties (slow downloading of content, inability to hear discussions), and tendency to rely on recorded lecture as down sides. Faculty members listed self-improvement (by watching their own and their colleagues’ lectures), and avoiding duplication of content taught by other colleagues as major advantages. They identified feelings of uneasiness and anxiety (for being watched by others), and technical issues as the most important problems they face while using the technology. Some pointed out to violating class privacy as an issue, others suggested it should be left to the desecration of the faculty members (to switch on or off). Worth mentioning that class attendance is compulsory in our college, which adds an interesting dimension. Should students be free to attend or not to attend, one wonders what effect would lecture capture have. Our data shows spikes in the number of times students access recorded lectures before exams, which might indicate a degree of reliance on this facility and could have negative implications on their ability for independent learning.


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  28. I agree that the simple video capture of lectures is a waste of time and energy. However, having worked with a lecture capture system since 2009 for a very large first year paper that caters to both internal and distance students, I would say the system can be used to the advantage of the learner and the lecturer. I use the Mediasite lecture capture system and this provides me with a bunch of tools that help me drive as much value as possible out of the recordings. I also create a lecture to be recorded, that is, I design the structure and flow of my lecture mindful that it will be recorded and cut into useful and sensible chunks. All lectures are made available to students as live streaming video and this is also recorded for later viewing. The Mediasite system allows me to very easily cut the original recording and publish the chunks into audio (mp3) and video (wmv) downloadable files as well as video-streaming segments. I can also provide links to segments within a chunk so I can build a glossary that links to specific content within a lecture and these links can also be embedded within online discussions with students.

    I certainly wouldn’t say that I am a wonderfully entertaining lecturer but simple changes like addressing your “viewing” audience can make a huge difference to the viewing student. And, now we have the ability for those students watching the live streaming to post questions to me so I can further engage with them within the lecture – a little like what can be done with Adobe Connect meetings. Sure there is some management required within the lecture to keep the flow and to field questions from outside viewers and a tiny investment outside the lecture to snip the video content into the predetermined chunks but it certainly beats a full scale production of separate content whatever form and length it takes and doing so in addition to the existing workload of providing internal lectures.

    Do students like lecture capture and see value in using it? The answer is an overwhelming yes. Internal student attendance at lectures is solid and they report that viewing lectures they miss encourages them to attend the next one – so there is a promotional angle there as well. Distance students feel they are more in tune with the lecturer and their character and consequently, the content.

    Of course, lecture capture is merely one of many tools available and I feel the efficacy of any each tool is largely dependent on how they are combined and delivered. As was the case in the days before video capture and online learning tools, the way we design the complete learning experience will dictate the individual worth of each element within that experience. I wouldn’t discount the usefulness and value of lecture capture without first exploring the possibilities and opportunities the capture of content can provide. A little thinking outside of the square can open up a wide range of value for all concerned.

    Apologies for the long post 🙂


  29. My big hate is online material that assumes any wrong answer is a mistake and a sign of lack of understanding – the developers can’t seem to understand that sometimes people make a mistake to see what will happen when they make a mistake.


  30. Lecture capture occupies the pedagogic no man’s land where technology meets educational practice in HE. This can be a fruitful place to begin from, providing there is a forum for conversation and development. To me, who should provide this forum and provide direction doesn’t matter; engaging academics is both essential and difficult.

    Technology is useful initially in rendering educational practice visible. When working on ‘blending’ a course or ‘moving a face to face course online’ practices such as lectures which were largely unquestioned become problematic; iterative approaches based on collecting data and capturing the experiences of staff and students will lead towards engaging and fulfilling learning providing the support is available.


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  32. An excellent model of useful and engaging online lectures is the TED talks; if captured university lectures were to this standard, I would have no problems with the technology. Sadly, it is often used merely to propagate bad lecturing to a larger audience.


  33. Pingback: More thoughts on Lecture Capture + | Craig Despard

  34. Even though I am getting to this party late the conversation causes me to wonder if there is fixed definition of “lecture capture”. When I first heard the term I envisioned the recording of my Socratic dialogues with a seated class for use with an online course to emphasize the need for students to verbally process material in ordered to strengthen critical thinking. Is this lecture capture or is something else altogether? Being new to the use of advanced technology in blended and online teaching I quickly realized the first thing I need is a glossary defining the terms of the whole business of teaching using advanced technology. My biggest goal is to get from two dimensional online teaching to a level of student learning which is more like the Socratic classroom with the associated sense of community.


  35. Pingback: Reflection on Post-Lecture Learning Supporting via Video-Slide Approach « Jialiang's PGCAP

  36. I think that you are spot on Mark. Even from the support angle it is the worst tech. This is a piece of tech that came to light too little too late. Yes TV is passive, but the level of attention required is minimum, in fact most people watch TV as a passive instrument to avoid thinking. all the most watched media are either of short duration, very high quality or interactive and lecture capture, as it is used, provides a low quality ( technically speaking, not talking about the quality of the lecturer),long, passive videos. If you want to challenge or put this hypothesis to the test, get a fantastic lecturer, capture his talk, put it on you tube and check how many viewings gets and compare these to the ones including at least 1 of the attributes mentioned above. I can assure you that in a comparatively similar length of time, lecture capture will always lose. Teaching needs to evolve, needs to challenge, and lecture capture does not provides this.


  37. We are using lecture capture to create the transcript and curriculum along with creating only 3-5 minute video pieces
    that supplement real scholarly exchange….a flipped curriculum of sorts… is a great study on lecture…. aged but still true!


  38. Pingback: Study tips: Lecture capture technology — what to know | Citations

  39. Pingback: Considerations for Online Lectures - Online

  40. Pingback: 50 Must-Read Higher Education Technology Blogs-2013 | Education Progresses Best When Knowledge is Shared Openly and Freely

  41. Pingback: Is lecture capture the worst educational technology? | Mark Smithers

  42. Pingback: Pirates in the Classroom: The Afterlives of a Lecture Recording - &

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