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Classroom Technologies

Welsh University Moves to Lecture Capture

Some faculty at Aberystwyth University are using a new lecture capture tool to restructure how they use classroom time. The Welsh institution has deployed Panopto's CourseCast, which some lecturers on campus are using to pre-record lectures, which they then post to the Blackboard Learn course management system. According to Nigel Thomas, desktop services technical support leader in Information Services, the practice is "changing the dynamic of what would have been the lecture slot. They are using the lecture slot as more of a seminar-based interactive session."

The university said in a statement that some lecturers have noticed a decrease in the number of e-mails and questions from students, since students now can refer to material that was unclear and clarify many points on their own. One department has also started using CourseCast in the field to communicate with students remotely who could not attend course trips.

"We [finished] an exam period in January," said Tim Davies, desktop systems manager. "Looking at the stats, we [saw] a lot of use and viewing during January, so the recordings have clearly been used for revision."

"You can actually plot the exam timetable by the spike of module viewing," added Kate Wright, e-learning development officer.

Previously, some faculty recorded audio as a study aid. But IT staff would then have to marry the audio with slides from the course. After a competitive evaluation, the university chose Panopto from a set of contenders for its low cost of ownership and ease of use, which allows lecturers to create and post recordings to the Blackboard platform without intervention from the technical support team. In addition, the university has added the use of CourseCast to its business continuity planning, since it allows lecturers and students to participate in classes even when they can't be present physically on campus.

The lecture capture system records audio, video, and presentations using Webcams and microphones. Since deploying CourseCast in fall 2009, 800 students have viewed videos from a library that now has about a hundred recordings created in 86 classrooms.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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