Lecture capture would be a strange choice of hill for me to die on since I work at a university that doesn’t do lectures, and have no experience of it. But Sheila MacNeill started a twitter conversation about it, and I think it captures some broader ed tech issues, so here I am, weighing in with my ill-formed opinions.
- Does it benefit students? – students seem to like lecture capture. The evidence on whether it impacts on attendance is mixed, but it is useful for revision, for those who struggle to take notes for whatever reason, and to go over complicated topics. So in general, the basis is that learners who are in a lecture based environment, like it as an additional service. This should be the main factor.
- Understand the relationship with employment – Melissa Highton has talked about how recent political issues have brought ed tech like lecture capture to the fore. Unions have a role to play here in not resisting its implementation, but in ensuring that when implemented it is not used to undermine strike action or impact upon employment.
- It reinforces lectures – yes, possibly and I’ve seen this as an argument against it. But unless your institution is implementing a direct strategy to move away from lectures, then lecture capture is the least of the factors. Unless estates are converting lecture theatres to different types of learning spaces and there is extensive staff development under way to move away from it, then assume lectures are around for a while yet, and lecture capture makes no difference either way.
- It’s not as good as bespoke content – producing specific online learning material is probably better, but at scale this becomes difficult. Some staff will do it, but it is a considerable extra burden, which would require significant resource to realise across an institution. Also, there may be some value in the lecture having an experiential element – students will recall that the lecturer moved over here when they said this, and this was the point where they were distracted in the actual lecture, etc.
- Use it as a stepping stone – like the VLE it is likely that lecture capture will end up being an end point in itself, rather than a step on the path to more interesting practice. With this in mind, ed tech people should work hard at the start to make it part of a bigger programme, for instance running development alongside for the type of bespoke content mentioned above, or thinking about flipped learning, or making the lecture a collaborative resource, etc.
- It’s boring – we should be doing more exciting things in education! This is true, but it’s not an either/or, lecture capture is useful to students here and now. Boring but useful is ok too.
- Evaluation is key – people have lots of views about lecture capture, often based on beliefs or anecdote. So it’s important to evaluate it in your context, particularly for questions such as “does it impact attendance?”, “do students use it?”, “how do students use it?”, “do students who use it perform better?”, etc.
- It’s not a replacement – some of the objections are that it is a misuse of technology, that if you are producing online learning content then pointing a camera at it is like filming a play to produce a movie. But this is to misunderstand how students use it I think. For them it is an additional resource which complements the lecture, they may miss the occasional one knowing they can catch up, but in general they still value lectures. It’s like students who record the audio of a lecture, they now have a back up.
- We like it – after being at ALT-C last week, lots of people commented how much they appreciated the keynotes and other talks being live streamed. We didn’t say that live streaming prevented a move away from the conventional keynote, or that it reduced attendance, or undermined labour. So, if we value it, why shouldn’t students?
I appreciate that it’s a complex issue, and no technology should be seen as inevitable, but there is a certain logic to lecture capture. As we found in the OOFAT report, technologies that link closely to university core functions tend to get adopted. Lecture capture is about as close as you can get. In this case educational technologists can help it be implemented in a more sustainable, interesting and sensitive manner. So, in the words of Primal Scream, don’t fight it, feel it.
[UPDATE: Here’s a few references people pointed me to on Twitter, giving a mixed picture of effectiviness:
Witton, G. (2017), The value of capture: Taking an alternative approach to using lecture capture technologies for increased impact on student learning and engagement. British Journal of Educational Technology, 48: 1010–1019. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12470
Edwards, M.R. & Clinton, M.E. A study exploring the impact of lecture capture availability and lecture capture usage on student attendance and attainment. High Educ (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-018-0275-9
Nordmann, E., & Mcgeorge, P. (2018, May 1). Lecture capture in higher education: time to learn from the learners. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/ux29v]