Colleges seek cash for educational technology as budgets shrink

Portland Community College reallocated the school’s funding for an educational cable station to pay for its first lecture capture hardware. And if campus decision makers hedge on commitments to lecture capture funds, the researchers suggest pointing out the expansion of online course offerings made possible by recording lectures and posting them to course websites.

Reallocation of funding and tweaks to a school’s federal grant requests aren’t the only ways to keep lecture capture technology alive during budget crises. The report shows that nongovernmental organizations could be key in expanding educational technology across campus as well.

Respondents in a 2010 survey of family foundations, philanthropic groups, and private and public charities said these organizations prioritize higher-education initiatives that “improve outcomes” for economically disadvantaged students, support classroom innovation, and provide learning beyond the typical school day.

Those criteria, researchers said, make lecture capture technology a prime funding candidate.

The rise of social media-based fundraising in higher education has opened another avenue for securing lecture capture money. The University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, using only alumni donations, was able to fully fund its lecture capture program in 2010, and that was before college donations spiked in 2011.

A wide range of surveys and reports have documented the effectiveness of lecture capture systems, but the technology isn’t universally favored by college students or professors.

Student respondents in a 2011 Clemson University study of the campus’s lecture-capture use gave the recording technology mostly rave reviews, but among their critiques was concern that simply watching a lecture online wouldn’t let students try to stand out in class.

Pamela Havice, an associate professor at Clemson who oversaw the lecture capture survey, said some student respondents were dismayed that they no longer were able to show peers and professors just how much they knew about a topic.

One student who answered survey questions anonymously said watching recorded lectures alone meant he couldn’t “gain the professor’s attention” and beat students to the punch during class time.

"(Required)" indicates required fields