New developments enhance school video use

Results from a recent survey conducted by Tegrity, a McGraw-Hill company that makes the lecture-capture system Tegrity Campus, indicated that lecture-capture technology has improved students’ grades, efficiency, and course satisfaction, largely because they can go back and review parts of lessons when studying for tests.

Nine in 10 students said recorded lectures posted to course websites have increased the amount of material they learn during the semester, according to the survey results, released earlier this year. Eighty-five percent of students said the technology made them more efficient studiers, and seven in 10 said it helped improve their final grades.

Tegrity Campus lets students search for and save important content, take notes, and collaborate easily. They can view recordings from PCs, Macs, or mobile devices.

A timeline function with thumbnails helps users find specific points in a video. And a “Search Anything” feature lets them search for any word or phrase within a recording, without requiring an instructor to do any formatting on the back end. The technology automatically captures any text presented on screen, and search results present matches from the entire course and not just a single class recording.

The PowerNotes feature lets students click a button to bookmark a particular point during the recording, and clicking on that button again will take the student back to that point in the recording.

Instructors can broadcast their classes live as they are being recorded, and students can create their own recordings and upload them to a “Student Recordings” section when finished. A Remote Proctoring feature uses a webcam and microphone to record students taking a test, and it also records their screen activity, to ensure that students are not cheating while taking exams remotely.

In July, technology giant Dell Inc. jumped into the lecture-capture market, announcing a partnership with Echo360. Through the partnership, Dell said it would bundle Echo360’s lecture-capture technology into its own server infrastructure sold to colleges and schools.

This past spring, Sonic Foundry introduced version 6.1 of its Mediasite platform for recording, managing, and distributing presentations and other content. New features in Mediasite include a web-based Desktop Recorder for easy capturing of content; the ability to customize the Mediasite player, such as by changing its size; and a collaborative workflow process for reviewing, editing, and approving content before it’s published.

“With Mediasite 6.1, we can automate and streamline how we publish … presentations through the approval pipeline. [We’re] excited about the possibilities for how this might lend itself to our admissions department in the marketing of our university,” said Thomas Kemp, director of instructional technology and learning for Ashland University.

Flipping over the ‘flipped class’ model

These lecture-capture systems also are playing a role in the growing “flipped classroom” movement, in which instructors have students watch a lecture recording for homework and then discuss or apply the lesson in class.

Advocates of this approach say it’s a better use of class time to have students practice a lesson’s concepts when the teacher is there to help or answer questions—and as flipped learning has caught on in more schools, companies have responded in turn.

During the Flipped Class Conference in June, TechSmith—a conference sponsor—introduced version 8 of its Camtasia Studio software for recording and editing screen captures and presentations. Camtasia Studio 8 has been “completely rebuilt from the ground up, with ease of use in mind,” the company says.

The new version contains interactive features designed to support flipped learning—including the ability to embed quizzes anywhere in a video. Quizzes can be taken on desktops, laptops, iPads, Android tablets, and most Android smart phones—and educators can receive daily eMail summary reports with attached spreadsheets showing who watched each video, for how long, and how each student did on the quizzes.

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