My name is Katherine Innes, and I am Ai-Media UK’s Business Development Executive. On Wednesday 17th December I attended a conference hosted by Loughborough University. The subject for discussion was ‘Lecture Capture: Building the Evidence Base.’

Lecture capture is the name given to various types of technology which enable lecturers and their visual aids (e.g. PowerPoint) to be recorded and watched back by the students in their own time and at their own pace.

Delegates represented more than twenty universities in the UK, and were at different stages in their involvement with lecture capture. While some universities have had the technology for a considerable amount of time and use it widely on campus, other institutions have poor uptake of lecture capture by lecturers. Many universities are only now at the initial stage of looking into the solution, and need reassurance that the results justify the investment.

Research into its efficacy is still in its early stages, and it will be a while before quantifiable evidence from British universities is available to make informed decisions based on statistically valid studies. However, it’s fair to say that, with its perceived benefits and ability to attract the best candidates, along with pressure and high expectations from students, this is a technology that is here to stay in one way or another – you can’t uninvent the wheel.

If lecture capture is embedded into university teaching, it is essential to harness its true potential and make it work for its money.

Working for Ai-Media, I see things from an accessibility and inclusion point of view. Lecture capture, as it stands, produces an audio recording of the lecturer speaking and any visual aids used, but few lecturers currently allow themselves to be filmed. Here lies the opportunity to create a level playing field. Adding subtitles to the recording optimises its full potential and makes lectures truly accessible to all, including deaf students. Far from spoon feeding the non-disabled student, now all students, including those who are deaf, dyslexic or have English as an additional language, can have equal access to lecture material.

With the imminent changes to DSA funding, and the responsibility to support disabled students resting with the university, it is increasingly important that lecture capture is exploited to its maximum potential. This may well be the trigger needed for lecturers to embrace the technology. However, with a price to make your eyes water, and without empirical evidence to back the claim that the technology really does improve student attainment, many universities need an alternative way to capture their lectures.

I think this is where Ai-Live, which provides real-time captioning during the lecture and a full transcript following it, may well help to fill the void. Students in class can literally scroll back if they miss or don’t understand something. They can also revise their lecture using the transcript, which can be filed on their laptops for future use. Lecturers, meanwhile, are able to use their transcripts to reflect on their teaching practice without having to lose any teaching time.

This service is available to a limitless number of students at the same price as for one student, so this could be a much more affordable option than a commitment to a complete lecture capture system - which would then still need to be subtitled!

I hope you have found this blog thought provoking. All in all I found the conference incredibly informative, and a great forum to exchange experiences and opinions. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

You can find more information, and snippets from the conference, on Twitter under #LCevidencebase.

Written by Katherine Innes, UK Business Development Executive

Kathy Innes

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