Lecture capture conference report

Photo taken on iPad

Lecture capture conference

On 16th June I attended a Lecture capture conference organised by ALT and hosted at Queen Mary University, London. In the School of Arts and Social Sciences at City University London we currently do not have a lecture capture system. Well, we do; his name is Mo Pamplin! If someone wants a lecture to be recorded for any reason lecture staff contact Mo who is able to video the session and put the video onto our streaming server. This has worked well but we have an increasing number of people interested in having their lectures recorded because the university is on iTunes U and the ability to embed media into our VLE (Moodle) more readily.  So I was interested to hear about the experiences of other universities both in terms of implementation and the technology they are employing to automate the process.

Here are some of my thoughts from the sessions that I attended.

Anxiety of exposure. How lecture capture brings everything out for everyone to see presented by Eoin McDonnell from Queen Mary University London

Queen Mary (QM) use a lecture capture system called Echo360 with recordings accessed through virtual learning environment, Blackboard. Echo 360 at QM records automatically via a timetabling system so it is unobtrusive and means the lecturer doesn’t need to do anything extra.
Eoin talked very frankly about the ‘deeply entrenched naked hostility of academics to this project’
and interference with microphones, absenteeism from recorded lectures etc. It was very useful to hear about this as it is a concern generally about lecture capture. People tend not to like the idea of being videoed and for it to happen automatically can cause anxiety. There was also a fear that the videos would be used for performance management.
Eoin also said that the Echo 360 application failed ‘semi-regularly’ which is another concern. If we are relying on a lecture recording, as part of a series for example, this would be a problem, especially if we had advertised the series as being available from iTunes U. However, Eoin did say that their technical team was poorly resourced, they did not get any extra staff to look after this project meaning that everyone was stretched.

Advice from QM on implementing lecture capture

  • Build a team that covers all departments e.g. Av, IS, learning technologists etc
  • To be effective you need universal coverage – recording in all rooms. Staff wanted all or nothing
  • You have to deal with staff anxiety about being recorded
  • Students want it
  • The technology needs to work first time every time
  • Set up a community of practice who can act as ‘myth busters’
  • Lecture capture must be explicitly ‘opt in’

Enhancing student learning, providing recordings of chemistry teaching- an  HEA project
presented by Neil Berry, University of Liverpool

Neil talked about a project that was run in the Chemistry department. Their lecture capture system recorded what happened on the screen alongside audio so it didn’t record the lecturer visually.

Importantly they found no difference in student attendance for an UG lecture, comparing one lecturer who recorded to another that didn’t.  This research was great to see as it is the most cited reason for lecturers reluctance and yet time and again the data doesn’t back this up.  The access statistics (number of times a student accessed the recording) were very interesting. There was inital uptake which dropped off but access at revision time showed a dramatic increase.

Liverpool are now discussing whether they change what lecture time is used for e.g. workshops, tutorials etc

Supporting lecture capture – University of Coventry

ELTAC (Enhancing Lecture Through Automated Capture) is a JISC funded lecture capture project being run at the University of Coventry.  There are some excellent resources here:


Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights
The thread of copyright and ipr ran through the majority of the talks.  Issues include that staff may talk about current research before it has been published. Students attend university in order to be exposed to the work of their lecturers so this should still be encouraged but may need to be edited from publicly broadcast podcasts. Also, lecturers may want to use images or music in their sessions which they can do but which cannot then be distributed.


Run workshops on ipr and copyright for all those that are having their lectures recorded
Practical and conceptual
Exemplars – authentupic, contextualised
Site. one stop shop, academically focussed

General thoughts

I’m glad that I went to this conference. It was very worthwhile and thought-provoking


The recordings from the day are now available to view here