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Lecture Capture

Capturing the Market

Trying to make sense of the lecture capture market and get that short list down to a decision? Here's the lowdown on products, features, and more.

Digital lecture capture and broadcast 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. It's still dominated by a few key players, however: Sonic Foundry holds a hefty 40 percent-plus market share (including the education, government, corporate, and health care sectors), and only a handful of vendors provide the lecture capture systems in use at most major universities.

The cost of these systems varies widely, though, depending on the features and functions available. In general, vendors charge a fairly inexpensive licensing fee for software-- DyKnow, for example, charges anywhere from $24 to $108 per license depending on the product and volume. But watch out: Hardware, training, and maintenance costs can run into tens of thousands of dollars a year.

At The University of Tennessee, Bob Hillhouse, director of engineering services, recovers the cost of Mediasite, the Sonic Foundry application that the university uses, by charging departments an hourly fee for streaming lecture content. "Roughly, we base this on how many hours of streaming we do on our server and what the yearly cost of the system is," Hillhouse says. "Hardware solutions typically cost more than software solutions because they come with the equipment; they can easily cost $20,000 per box." The total cost of running a feature-rich application such as Temple University's (PA) Apreso Classroom from Anystream (now Echo360 can go as high as $60,000 a year, says statistics professor Darin Kapanje. "Every vendor's pricing model is different; for example, Mediasite is expensive up front, but later the cost drops."

At the other end of the price spectrum is CourseCast, a system developed in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University (PA) and produced for the academic market by Panopto. The product is available free of charge to universities that participate in Panopto's Socrates Project, which seeks to make lecture capture software accessible to all universities and K-12 institutions. In November 2008, Panopto launched Panopto Hosted, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of its lecture capture platform. Pricing plans for the hosted solution range from $49 to $129 a month, depending on the number of viewing and recording hours the user selects.

Many vendors offer programs that capture content in some form or other; even an iPod, for example, can be used to record a lecture and play it back. A full-fledged content capture system, however, is designed specifically for that purpose and offers a spectrum of features tailored to K-12 or higher education instructional content. The following is a sampling (in alphabetical order by vendor name) of major lecture capture solution providers whose products fit that definition:

Vendor: Accordent, 310-374-7491
Product type: Rich media creation and management software
Flagship product: Accordent Rich Media Communications Suite;includes Accordent Capture Station, an all-in-one lecture and presentation capture solution
Accordent Capture Station-- Key features include:

  • Easy-to-use room-based appliance; laptop-portable, workstation-portable, and rack-mounted configurations
  • Integrates with smart classroom equipment
  • Includes Accordent PresenterPlus, with ability to add Flash, PDFs, and more
  • Can automatically convert PowerPoint slides to JPEGs
  • Wide choice of formats, platforms, browsers, and media players
  • Content can be published to any delivery system
  • Users can create searchable online archives of video, web, and audio conferences

Customers include: Ohio State U, Boston U, MIT, Emory University (GA), U of Michigan, Columbia U (NY), Brown U (RI), Rutgers U (NJ)

Vendor: DyKnow, 317-275-5900
Product type: Classroom interaction and collaboration software
Flagship products: DyKnow Vision and DyKnow Monitor (can be purchased separately or as a suite; latest version is 5.2)
DyKnow Vision-- Key features include:

  • Uses Microsoft digital text and inking capabilities with WPF-based authoring tools
  • Broadcasts content to student screens
  • Creates and saves work groups before class
  • Students can annotate teacher content on-screen
  • Offers personalized capture of student notes
  • Server-stored audio recordings can be played back to sync with video
  • Allows graphical student response
  • Allows anonymous as well as student-specific polling
  • Enables chat
  • Teachers and students can share whiteboard control
  • Beginning in summer '09, will import PowerPoint content into a DyKnow notebook

DyKnow Monitor-- Key features include:

  • Provides thumbnail display and automatic refresh of student screens
  • Allows student screen blanking
  • Allows application blocking
  • Monitors large 802.11x environments
  • Can be controlled remotely
  • Enables file distribution
  • Based on scalable client-server product design

Customers include: U of Richmond (VA), DePauw U (IN), Joliet Junior College (IL), Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (IN)

Capturing the MarketVendor: Echo360 (formerly Anystream), 877-324-6360
Product type: Course capture system
Flagship product: EchoSystem
Key features include:

  • Integrates with existing systems and technologies
  • Allows remote updates via web-based interface
  • Hands-off operation; no need for technical staff to monitor, modify, or upload lectures
  • Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, plus mobile devices
  • Features DVD-style controls
  • A single edit applies universally to EchoSystem podcasts, vodcasts, and rich-media lectures
  • Closed captioning
  • Automatically publishes links to Blackboard, Angel, iTunes U, or custom portals
  • Compiles audio-only presentations for playback on an iPod, MP3 player, or computer
  • Integrates video presentations with Windows, Real, or Flash media servers for playback
  • Enables streaming of captured echoed content

Customers include: Temple U, UMass-Lowell, Gallaudet U (DC), Stanford U (CA), Arizona State U, U of Pennsylvania, Duke U (NC)

Capturing the MarketVendor: Elluminate,954-229-2622
Product type: Solutions for real-time online learning and collaboration
Flagship product: Elluminate Learning Suite,including Elluminate Plan!, Elluminate Live!,and Elluminate Publish!
Elluminate Plan!-- Key features include:

  • Organizes/packages content, activities, and outlines for a live session in a single file
  • Automates routine tasks of running a session
  • Triggers search action in a live session with a single click
  • Stores plans in LMS/CMS systems, on local networks, or on CD-ROM

Elluminate Live!-- Key features include:

  • Built for live, multimedia, many-to-many collaboration
  • Uses proprietary No User Left Behind technology
  • Offers tightly integrated components (two-way audio, high-res video, shared whiteboards, application sharing, and more)
  • Users can develop online communities/ social networking
  • Users can hold virtual office hours for students and enable real-time tutoring and mentoring

Elluminate Publish!-- Key features include:

  • Users can: Leverage content of Elluminate Live! session recordings
  • Create audio files in MP3, Ogg Vorbis, or uncompressed WAV format
  • Store audio files on their own hard drive
  • Distribute recordings by e-mail or on CD
  • View content, even when not connected to the internet

Customers include: U of Illinois at Springfield, Babson College (MA), U of Iowa, Tennessee Tech U, Northampton Community College (PA), Northern Arizona U, DeVry U (IL)

Capturing the MarketVendor: Panopto,800-931-5036
Product type: Videobasedrich media content capture platform
Flagship product: CourseCast (most recent update is 2.1,with accompanying Blade Pack 2.1)
Key features include:

  • Deploys as a three-tier product (web, client, and server)
  • Configurable as a single-server installation or within a logical cluster of clients and servers
  • Offers podcasting and remote recording
  • Integrates with Blackboard Records video, audio, and presentation materials
  • Records multiple video streams
  • Allows single-click creation and publishing of rich-media presentations
  • Users with a Panopto Hosted account or CourseCast installation can stream live presentations to viewers, from the desktop
  • Allows keyword search in PowerPoint slides and student notes
  • Automatically detects recording devices and generates multiple playable formats

Customers include: Carnegie Mellon U, U of Pittsburgh, U of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Capturing the MarketVendor: Sonic Foundry, 877-783-7987
Product type: Rich media communication and knowledge management platform
Flagship product: Mediasite (latest version is 5.0)
Key features include:

  • Plug-and-play capability
  • Scheduling and automated recording
  • Automatically synchronizes audio, video, and graphics
  • Can mark content clips at a specific time and share link with other authorized users
  • Instant slide editing allows immediate update of presentations
  • Polls with real-time results
  • Users can add custom links to web pages/reference materials
  • Access for all users (closed captioning, screen readers)
  • Allows recipients of presentation invitations to add event to Microsoft Outlook calendar
  • Search options include keyword, OCR, phonetic, and contextual search
  • Complete access to viewer and playback stats

Customers include: Cornell U (NY), Georgetown U (DC), Johns Hopkins U (MD), NYU, Stanford U Graduate School of Business, U of Chicago Booth School of Business, U of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt U (TN)

Capturing the MarketVendor: TechSmith, 800-517-3001
Product type: Screen recording, lecture capture, and presentation solutions
Flagship products: Camtasia Studio (latest version is 6.0.2) and CamtasiaRelay (latest version is 1.1)
Camtasia Studio-- Key features include:

  • Captures HD-quality video of screen; compacts files
  • Audio/video tracks can be decoupled and edited separately
  • Customizable hot keys reduce editing time
  • Allows editing of video files from a digital camera or previous project
  • Offers free account for sharing content on the web

Camtasia Relay-- Key features include:

  • Recorder captures audio, on-screen activity, and keyboard/mouse input (Mac or PC); server handles processing and publishing (Windows Server 2003)
  • Captures high quality for video and animation; lower quality for static slides
  • Recordings compatible with multiple file formats
  • Allows offline recording without internet or network connection; can be uploaded later to Camtasia Relay server
  • Title slides of recorded PowerPoint/Keynote presentations can automatically turn into table of contents
  • Sends e-mail notifications to presenters and adds Blackboard announcements when recordings are published; administrators receive system e-mails when the server needs attention

Customers include: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Seattle Pacific U, Cornell U, Drexel U (PA), Harvard U (MA), Princeton U (NJ), Stanford U, Texas A&M U, U of Florida, Virginia Tech

Capturing the MarketVendor: Tegrity, 800-411-0579
Product type: Advanced teaching and learning systems
Flagship product: Tegrity Campus 2.0
Key features include:

  • Web-based; no server, room appliance, or user software/hardware needed
  • Automatically captures/aggregates all on-/off-campus teaching within a single repository; can be accessed directly or from existing course management system
  • One-click start-and-stop recording
  • Includes instructor's voice and computer screen activity (plus video and freeform handwriting option)
  • Divides class recordings into chapters based on instructor's slide changes and application switching
  • Attaches additional metadata (including all slides' text) to the recording for later navigation/searching
  • Creates a custom environment for each user, based on course enrollment
  • Features extensive search capabilities for any word or phrase that appeared on screen (in any PowerPoint presentation, web browser, or computer application) during class
  • Reporting capability tracks students' utilization of the system
  • Coming this summer: Bookmarks feature allows instructors and students to tag recordings via iPhone/iPod, browser-enabled cell phone, or web browser

Customers include: U of Central Florida, Medical College of Georgia, U of Colorado at Boulder, Saint Mary's U of Minnesota, El Centro College (TX)

::Editor's Note ::
Editor's note: Still wondering which lecture capture system is the best fit for your campus? Head to ourspecial online bonus feature, "Lecture Capture: Instant Replay," where four lecture capture pros share they chose, and why.

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