8. Lecture capture use continues to grow … but that could change as bloggers target educators.
The past year has brought significant growth in higher education’s use of lecture-capture technology, which market research firm Gartner places in the “hot spot” of its Strategic Technology Map—meaning it can improve both personal productivity and organizational efficiency.
A key trend fueling that growth has been students’ use of smart phones and tablets to replay campus lectures while on the go. For instance, students’ use of the Tegrity lecture-capture system jumped 47 percent in the first seven months of 2011, according to a Tegrity press release. The company credits the bump to web-capable smart phones that allow students to watch lectures anytime, anywhere—and not just on their laptops or in their dorm rooms.
As more schools invest in lecture-capture systems, they’re finding new uses for the technology. Wyoming’s Laramie County Community College says it has saved thousands of dollars by using its lecture-capture system to proctor online exams. The savings stem from allowing students to take tests alone, with the camera rolling, instead of traveling to a faraway facility where people hired by the school monitor exams.
Meanwhile, new open-source software developed at Stanford University allows viewers watching video lectures to zoom and pan around the recorded images. The software, called ClassX, could provide an interactive and more cost-effective alternative to traditional lecture-capture solutions as more colleges make class recordings available online.
Although professors are becoming more comfortable with using lecture-capture technology, a disturbing trend has emerged that threatens to reverse that progress: Controversial blogger Andrew Breitbart, a conservative pundit with a track record of posting highly misleading but politically damaging videos, earlier this year announced his intention to “go after” educators. One of his first efforts was a series of videos purporting to show a University of Missouri-Kansas City lecturer advocating violence as a labor union tactic.
After a campus investigation, Chancellor Tom George said the lecture videos “were definitely taken out of context, with their meaning highly distorted through splicing and editing from different times within a class period and across multiple class periods.” He added: “We sincerely regret the distress to [the lecturer] and others that has been caused by the unauthorized copying, editing, and distribution of the course videos.”
Reacting to the UMKC situation, researcher Alan Greenberg wrote an opinion piece for eCampus News, called “Don’t let ideologies take lecture capture hostage.”
“We all know there are ideologues out there willing to twist words, images, and video to suit whatever ugly purpose they promote. And a professor’s recorded lecture, manipulatively edited, can have a greater impact than printed words, simply because it can appear more real,” Greenberg wrote.
“Lecture capture is worthy enough that we don’t want it taken hostage by anyone hoping to use the technology to wage political battles. … Bloggers who improperly edit academic on-demand content like recorded lectures with an agenda like Breitbart’s need to have as many libel suits thrown at them as possible.”
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