Lecture capture remains popular despite controversy, lack of funding

Alan Greenberg, a senior analyst and partner for Wainhouse Research, said campus officials had reason to worry about the proliferation of lecture capture after the UMKC incident, although Wainhouse reports have shown colleges’ willingness to help faculty understand intellectual property issues related to recording lectures.

“Any fear is legitimate, but I’ve conducted lots of interviews with universities and colleges deploying lecture capture in the past couple of years, and the intellectual property issues are usually handled through policy and training,” Greenberg said. “All it takes is decent policy and capable, reliable  technology.”

The edited lecture video of UMKC labor studies lecturers Don Giljum and Judy Ancel was posted on Big Government, a conservative-leaning website created by the late media mogul Andrew Breitbart, who defended the lecture recording for weeks before the university decided it had been doctored.

Big Government writers followed up with several more posts about the educators’ supposed lessons of how violence can be a useful strategy for union organizers.

Ancel and Giljum taught the Introduction to Labor Studies class together, using a live video feed.

UMKC Chancellor Tom George said an official review revealed 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.”

George said UMKC also would “explore ways to improve security in the use of electronic media for instruction, research, and other activities,” after the lecture video was used by Breitbart’s website.

Last fall, about six months after the Breitbart videos surfaced, the university placed restrictions on lecture capture use, saying the policy “protects the sanctity of the classroom for our students so they can freely discuss their thoughts and opinions,” said Steve Graham, senior associate vice president for academic affairs for the four-campus Missouri system.

The new lecture capture rules met faculty resistance.

“…We are public, taxpayer-funded faculty, and so we should think long and hard about any sort of restrictions on the rights of our students to record us as we work,” said Charles Davis, a journalism professor and former executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

In a research paper released in March, “Funding Lecture Capture in Higher Education,” researchers say ed-tech funding isn’t as easy to find as states slash college funding, but there are still reliable methods for keeping lecture capture systems on campus.

Schools still can secure a healthy chunk of federal funds if they specify a “technological advancement clause” in official requests for lecture capture funding, the researchers wrote. Including in a federal grant application that lecture capture technology is “essential for faculty and student development” could qualify the technology for government money.

“Higher-education leaders just need to be prepared and do their homework to determine which solutions fit best,” said LeiLani Cauthen, vice president of the Center for Digital Education. “Given the recent budget constraints that higher-education institutions are experiencing as a result of the loss of federal funding, it is clear that administrators must search for alternative ways to secure the funds needed to maintain their institution’s [educational] technology leadership.”

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