Campus Technology Focus

August 17, 2011


Lecture capture enhances learning at one East Coast liberal arts school

There is little question any more that lecture capture technology has become invaluable for students in large lecture courses at large universities. The technology enables students to view lectures again and again, replay complex topics, and generally improve study time across the board.

According to academic technologists at William Paterson University (WPU), lecture capture is equally successful in small-class settings at smaller institutions, too.

Over the last 8 years, WPU has used lecture capture from Tegrity to help students make better use of their class time—and their study time between classes. Because the school doesn’t offer many big lecture courses, the technology has been tested in classes of usually no more than 35-50 students, and has worked wonders.

Changing landscape

Colloquially speaking (but in technological terms, of course), Tegrity and WPU go way back. The 11,000-student liberal arts college in Wayne, NJ, was an early adopter of the lecture capture technology, rolling out the first iteration in 2003. Since then, its use on campus has grown gradually but steadily.

According to Sandra Miller, director of instruction and research technology, it has spread mostly by word of mouth, from professor to professor.

“When educators are excited about something, they talk to each other,” Miller says. “In the case of lecture capture, we didn’t have to work hard to convince them this was something they should use—rave reviews spoke for themselves.”

Case in point: The number of instructors using Tegrity has more than tripled since the first pilot program eight years ago, and looks to expand even more during the upcoming school year.

Students are excited about these developments too. In a fall 2009 survey following the pilot test of Tegrity Campus—Tegrity’s most recent solution—75 percent of the students reported that they would like to use Tegrity to study for other classes. Students told surveyors the new technology helped them notice things they had missed in class, and was particularly useful in preparing for finals.

A subsequent study in 2010 echoed those results almost exactly.

Improvising innovations

While most WPU professors traditionally have used lecture capture to make course lectures accessible to students outside of class, a number of them also have begun tailoring the technology for their respective particular disciplines.

One professor used it to record a series of supplemental tutorials about Microsoft Excel; another recorded the step-by-step process of solving complex math equations so students could go back and review how these particular problems were solved.

Elsewhere on campus, a linguistics professor recorded himself speaking in Old and Middle English—then referred to the recordings to help improve his own teaching of the subject.

In another class, a professor assigned student teacher candidates the task of making Tegrity recordings, and then had the class critique them in a form of peer review.

“On this campus, when technology grows, it grows from faculty,” said Miller, who noted the school boasts 380 faculty members in all. “To see our instructors embracing lecture capture in all of these different ways is an encouraging sign that even more change is coming.”

Facts don’t lie

While Miller was enthused by these anecdotes and excitement over various applications of lecture capture, she wanted data to back them up. In the fall of 2010, she spearheaded a student-user survey to gauge how students really felt about Tegrity technology.

The results overwhelmingly indicated that the ability to record and review course material and discussion has been a boon for achievement at William Paterson University.

Some of the most notable data:

  • Of the students surveyed, more than 81 percent said the technology had increased their depth of learning.
  • An astounding 73 percent of respondents said they would request that their professors record class lectures using Tegrity.
  • More than 90 percent said they would recommend using Tegrity to their classmates.

Also of note: Roughly 73 percent of respondents reported that they felt that their success in the course had been impacted positively when lecture capture was implemented.

“It’s clear this is making a difference for students, as well as faculty,” said Miller, who will continue to assess Tegrity’s impact on campus.

Down the road

This data is only the beginning. According to Miller, WPU will continue to integrate Tegrity’s lecture capture solution into course offerings, providing an edge for its students and an invaluable teaching tool for its instructors.

Overall, the institution expects to offer more Tegrity classes in the 2011-12 school year than ever before. In addition, a number of administrative offices are beginning to use it to distribute mini-tutorials for using the technology on campus such as online degree evaluations. “The possibilities are endless,” Miller added.

2520 Mission College Blvd. Suite 101
Santa Clara, CA 95054