When we introduce lecture capture into an institution there is always one key barrier to adoption; staff concern.
Until staff feel that their worries over lecture capture have been listened to, adoption rates will always be low, regardless of institutional policy.
Another large consideration must also be the model to which the technology is applied. Are you going for opt-in or opt-out? Are you recording video of the classroom or just audio and screen elements? Are you focusing purely on recording lectures, or are you expecting more blended teaching as a result?
This last question is probably the most overlooked - the focus is often heavily around “we must record lectures”, and this is a significant barrier for academics. While we know that capturing lectures can provide significant benefit to students, this is only a single usage case for this technology.
'Other' uses for lecture capture technology
There are many more applications to which it can be applied:
- Narrated screen recordings provide a great way to highlight information about software, web sites, documents and other resources
- You can review content that has generated multiple questions in- and out-of-class, recording summaries or re-visit the subject in more depth
- Set activities before and after class, and demonstrate key aspects that can be handled more effectively through video
- More widely, this technology can offer the opportunity to record content away from campus. For example, conducting interviews with subject matter experts who can't otherwise attend campus, such as the local MP, the Court of Appeal judge, the football coach or the SAS doctor. Or you could explore geographic-dependent topics such as building architecture, exploring the setup in the back of an ambulance or emergency room, or demonstrating the physical makeup of a volcano, river or forest. This can bring content to the students that they would never normally be able to access
(And we haven't even covered what can be achieved when you give the students the option to record themselves…)
Yet we still refer to this type of service as “lecture capture”. This places this single usage case, seen as the most concerning to many academics, at the heart of the service, and immediately creates a larger hurdle for institutions to overcome by putting their core user group on the defensive.
Promoting the benefits of the technology
At Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) we’ve tried to approach the rollout slightly differently. Our YuJa-powered ReCap service (being rolled out this semester) is marketed as Digital Learning Capture, and we try hard in our conversations with staff to balance the lecture capture model with other usage models. Yes, the focus of our initial training is still around lecture capture specifically, but the conversations within those sessions highlight the opportunities that the technology presents beyond the physical classroom.
After the service has been in place for a first semester, which will be used as a "settling-in" period, we are adopting an opt-out model, but here too we've tried to put the academic at the centre of our thinking. The academic is the only person who can really understand the impact of recordings within their class, and therefore the only one who can make the decision on whether to opt-out.
Given the workload our academics have to undertake, it is important that we don't add to this needlessly, so it is important to provide the academic with very simple processes that require minimal engagement when they are making these decisions.
Our approach has been to avoid creating central processes, but rather put the decision process in the hands of local academic leadership, either at the programme or school level. These decisions must be pedagogic in nature, and the academic should be at the heart of that process.
By acknowledging the academics' concerns around "lecture capture", placing the power firmly in their hands (while minimising an increase in their workload) and focusing the introduction of the technology on a wider aspect of "learning capture", it is possible to alleviate staff concerns and help them to become comfortable with this sometimes controversial technology.
How has this affected take-up at CCCU? Ask me this time next year...