lecture capture will set you free

johnson50-pdg-0001-0This week saw the first meeting of the project board for the much anticipated Lecture Capture project. The Lecture Capture project was previously part of the Media Hub project and we did some early thinking on the topic some time ago as part of that. The project board were surprised and delighted to learn that work is well underway already with lectures being happily  hunted down, captured and saved.

You may be thinking that surely we already have a service to capture lectures- what have the podcasting team been doing all this time?  What about the dozens of wonderful people across the collegiate university who record and film and publish lectures into itunesU and podcasts.ox?

That of course, is *manual* lecture capture, this is *automated*. Instead of a person or persons having to be herepresent to record your lecture, the purpose of the project is to explore the technical and software options which can  automate the processes of ‘capture, keep and publish’ to such an extent that the power to record lectures, and decide who sees them and when,  is given back to the lecturers. All you need do is press a single button (or click, or similar, you get the idea.)

One of the challenges to the project is that the combination of the words ‘automatic’ and ‘capture’ , particularly when used in conjunction with the phrase ‘ student demand’ or ‘ disability discrimination’  is making the whole thing sound like lecturers are being ambushed with a big stick.  Not good for getting support and buy-in.

It is common in IT Services to want to name projects clearly to describe  the technical work and features , in this case ‘lecture capture’ or the software involved, in this case ‘Panopto‘ rather than the benefit or what the service  is for.

If the project is successful and a new service becomes available, the recording of lectures at Oxford will be more sustainable, we will be better able to meet  demand for staff and students, students will be able to listen again to lectures from times and places they experienced or missed. Costs will come down, technical barriers will be lowered.  The whole thing will be much more equitable.  Lecturers will be put back in control, to record whatever of their work they chose without having to book, wait, rely upon, or compete for access to, my central teams. The parts of the course which need be said only once, may be said only once, recorded and played a dozen times by whichever student may need  to hear it a dozen times. The best performances can be saved for wider audiences, the  more scrappy can be binned. The discussion and debate which could and should happen in face to face lectures will not be stifled by the need to speak slowly so that notes can be taken. Data will be gathered to inform and focus teaching.


In short, lecture capture will set you free.

The name we give to the resulting service, or perhaps even the project, should make clear what part of teaching and learning it enhances or what colleagues and students will be able to do as a result of it.

Here are a few suggestions, I’d be pleased to hear more.


RecordNow, EasyAccess, ListenAgain,  FreedSpeech, Freeflow, Free-range, RecordReview, Rewind,  RecordedDelivery, KeepSafe, KeepWatch, LectureLibrary, Osmosis, FlippingLectures, LectureCollection, MuseumofLectures, LookLively, LectureStorage, OpenClassroom…….

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