The Technical Trial
The 2014 lecture capture technical trial has ended! Throughout 2014, the lecture capture team worked closely with several departments to explore the uses and challenges of lecture capture. The general experience of the system has been positive, but, as with all trials, there were challenges to overcome. Resolving these taught the lecture capture team much about what to expect, and, perhaps most importantly, how to prevent such issues from arising once the system is rolled-out more extensively. Students aren’t the only members of the university learning!
Staff and Skills:
- Coordinators – Appoint a coordinator within each department, who will be responsible for:
- ensuring lecturers can use the software without issue.
- ensuring files are uploaded correctly and in a timely fashion.
- acting as a reference and contact point.
- Labelling – Make certain lecturers know how to correctly label lectures (incorrectly labelled lectures have proven to be a massive source of frustration for students).
- Fixed Equipment – Use a fixed microphone and camera, making sure they cannot be unplugged or removed, to maintain consistency and ease of use.
- Hardware Tests – Run hardware tests beforehand whenever possible, just to be sure there are no technical issues.
- Echo – Beware of echoes in large spaces, and be sure a lecturer does not stand too close to a speaker.
- Wired Connection – Make sure there is a stable, wired connection. Erratic connections can cause files to only partially upload, and wired connections are more reliable than wireless ones.
- Preparation – Ensure that there is a well-planned, well-organised, and efficient setup in advance.
- Existing Infrastructure – Where possible, make use of the existing infrastructure (cameras, microphones etc.) to reduce the cost and time needed to install the system.
- Course Materials – If there are other course materials, uploading these alongside the lecture recordings is a boon for students who were unavoidably prevented from attending the live lecture.
- Simplicity – Keep things simple. Start by recording one lecture series, then roll out slowly as familiarity and expertise with the software increases.
- Local Support – Establish a local lecture capture support network by collaborating with the local IT Services, Networks, local AV team, and WebLearn coordinator.
The technical trial produced positive results, and while there were some issues, these were small and easy to resolve. The lessons learnt during the technical trial have been helpful in ensuring the smooth roll out and running of the 2015 pilot project.
If you have questions, comments, complaints, or anything else relating to the lecture capture project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.