Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Lecture capture: long-term academic impact

Having previously looked at the approach taken by universities, here Richard Doughty moves the focus to further education (FE) and colleges, which present a slightly different picture, before assessing the impact of the technology in the long-term.

Without the budgets of the better-funded universities, many colleges have gone down the free software route by adopting Google Hangouts to capture lectures and communicate, and Google Forms to facilitate student/lecturer interaction.

However, in the UK, the FE sector could soon provide a larger market for lecture capture and videoconferencing suppliers. New funding arrangements for apprenticeship courses kick in from April this year, in which employers apply for government funds to allocate the college they think best suit their apprentices’ training needs.

Colleges will now have to compete for employer contracts. Tyrone Knight, Northbrook College VLE administrator, agrees with the suggestion that colleges using lecture capture and videoconferencing widely could be more attractive to employers wanting to get the most out of their apprentices in the workplace, and particularly help students needing extra help outside normal college times.

Hardware plans

Hardware manufacturers in the lecture capture market are also developing their offerings. Matrox is looking to build on its H.264 video streaming technology and its increasingly successful Monarch recorder range.

Last July it launched the Monarch LCS, a two-input lecture capture appliance built for the classroom. “It synchronises the teacher’s video, their spoken words, slides and other media shown on screen,” says technical marketing manager Dan Maloney.

“Users can decide the layout of their screen – the lecturer may, for instance, appear big in one panel next to another superimposed, smaller panel showing projected material or video, or vice-versa, with the lecturer shown in a small insert panel overlaid on a main PowerPoint presentation or other multimedia material such as live web surfing.

“It can be integrated into video management systems such as Opencast and Kaltura, and learning management systems such as Moodle. This can all be done online so there’s no need to transfer files after the lecture.”

Extron, which counts the Coventry, Edinburgh and the University of Manchester among its key UK clients, has been in this sector for 15 years. It aims to expand its software publishing capabilities beyond the main virtual learning environments like Blackboard and Moodle to other services. It is also looking to research optical character recognition, with a view to producing software that can actually search PowerPoint slide content and find recordings based on the slides.

Extron’s Andrew Evans, product marketing manager for streaming products, says: “We got our start with our SMP 351 recorder and have had good success with that for the last couple of years it’s been in the market. We’re now growing the lecture capture side by adding software to our portfolio. We’re not just doing recordings but managing, indexing and making them searchable so students and instructors can find recordings and play them out on personal devices and computers several months or years later.”


Lecture capture is undoubtedly spreading as students and teachers understand its value, but what about any long-term academic impact? At least one remarkable three-year study proves how useful lecture capture can be.

In 2012 the University of Manchester published a paper documenting student performance at a series of lectures always given on the same day of the week and delivered over the same time period by the same people. The results revealed that use of lecture capture (purely audio podcasts in this case) did improve exam results when students regularly used the lecture capture recordings.

Significantly, the report also stated: “As few as 6% of participating students missed at least one lecture, knowing that the podcast would be available.” Their insatiable demand for all their lectures to be captured suggests a constantly growing global market for this educational niche of the AV industry. The future looks good.

Case Study: Tripleplay manages QMU’s lecture capture programme

Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh has more than 6,000 students, many of whom are remote learners. The university selected Tripleplay’s media video player solution TripleChoice to stream and record live TV and lectures, while also enabling the digitisation and upload of central media resources and personal learning-based media content.

QMU media services manager Jim Bain comments: “Tripleplay combines a secure and encrypted video-on-demand solution with a high-definition IP television system, all delivered from the same user interface. Almost more importantly, the Tripleplay system includes a reporting system to ensure we know what is watched, where, when and for how long, and also the ability to restrict content access to selected IP networks, geo-locations or users.”

QMU has also chosen to integrate the Tripleplay solution into its Blackboard virtual learning environment (VLE). This enables resource lists and individual video clips to be searched and viewed within Blackboard as items of course material.

Owing to Tripleplay’s flexible delivery and transcoding methods, QMU can deliver video content via a thin-client environment into classrooms and to workstations all across campus.

The installation also recognises that today’s students consume content in a variety of ways. Bain explains: “With new Tripleplay Mobile Media App we can watch, record and upload content directly from our mobile devices; essentially making them mobile lecture capture devices.”

The installation was shortlisted for Best Education Project in the 2016 InstallAwards.

Picture: Simon Veit-Wilson