Mini-series: Lecture recording at Edinburgh – the journey so far

lecture recording

Over the next few months, every Wednesday, Teaching Matters will examine a different aspect of lecture recording as part of a mini-series showcasing how we are using and evaluating Media Hopper Replay. Here, Anne-Marie Scott, Deputy Director of Learning, Teaching and Web, ISG and service owner for CaptureEd, Media Hopper Replay and Media Hopper Create, reviews the history of lecture recording at University of Edinburgh and the implementation of a centrally supported service…

Lecture recording at Edinburgh is not new; the technology has been in use for around 10 years. Now, as lecture recording is being adopted more widely across the institution, we will hear from academic colleagues and students about their experiences of lecture recording, and share findings from related research projects.

Lecture recording began at Edinburgh in 2008 with a pilot of the Echo360 lecture recording system. The pilot was small, recording 198 events from across 11 courses. Commercial lecture recording solutions were expensive 10 years ago, and so, in an effort to save money, the CapturEd service was built in-house and was installed in 50 teaching spaces, including many of our largest lecture theatres.

In 2015, as CapturEd could no longer scale, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences began a pilot of a new system, Panopto. The pilot was a key recommendation from the review of the University’s Accessible and Inclusive Learning Policy.

Following that pilot over 3 years ago, to implement a larger scale system, the new Lecture Recording Programme was approved by University Court in September 2016. In the first year, after a successful procurement project, the Panopto pilot was decommissioned and replaced with Media Hopper Replay, based on the improved Echo360 product. For the 2018-2019 academic year, the service has been expanded and is available in over 250 teaching spaces. The Programme’s final year, 2019-2020 will see the introduction of advanced functionality and the completion of the rollout to around 400 rooms.

Whilst there has been a lot of change in lecture recording technology, and the courses using it, the reasons for using it have remained consistent across the years. Lecture recording at Edinburgh has always been about supplementing the range of digital course-specific resources that students have access to, and supporting the needs of our large and diverse student community.

To represent the interests, and incorporate the experiences of academic colleagues, an active Academic User Group is in place. We’ll hear more from the Chair of the Group later in the series.

To ensure the way we use lecture recording is informed by evidence, an Engagement and Evaluation Group is overseeing a programme of research and identifying opportunities for wider dialogue and the exchange of learning.

While the picture varies between disciplines, adoption of lecture recording has been rapid and widespread. During the first year of Media Hopper Replay availability, 43% of courses have used the service, 18,000 students have logged in, and half a million hours of video have been viewed by students. As in other Universities, there are clear, predictable spikes of viewing at revision time and strong evidence that many students are using recordings judiciously by regularly ‘dipping in’ to sample short sections during teaching.

PTAS-funded projects in Education, the Vet School, Mathematics and Physics are all indicating that students are not, in the main, using recordings as a substitute for attendance, except where life circumstances prevail. Average minutes viewed per recording signals that lectures are seldom being watched back in their entirety. Rather, students are selecting what they view in support of their learning needs. We’ll cover updates on the lecture recording PTAS projects in this series.

From the work at Edinburgh and beyond, we know there are differences between disciplines, but also important similarities in the use of lecture recording technology. Similarly, staff and students share some ideas about lecture recording, recognising its value as a learning tool, especially for diverse student groups, but also sometimes differ over how exactly they feel it should be used. Future work will focus on developing a shared understanding between the two groups – an issue we will also explore in this series.

Anne-Marie Scott

Anne-Marie Scott is Deputy Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services. Her background is in the design, management and support for academic IT services, particularly those used to support teaching and learning activities online. Amongst her interests are the use of new media and the open web in teaching and learning, scalable online learning platforms, and learning analytics. She is a Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology, an Apereo Foundation Board member and also a Trustee of the Mansfield Traquair Trust. Outside of work she is a prolific gardener and grower and can pickle just about anything!

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