Dell jumps into lecture capture


Seven in 10 students said using lecture capture helped improve their final course grades.

The proliferation of online courses and the flipped learning model has created demand in higher education for lecture capture systems, and officials at technology giant Dell said July 9 they might be able to meet that need.

Dell will bundle lecture capture hardware and software into its server infrastructure for colleges and universities after partnering with popular lecture-recording company Echo360.

Along with the usual batch of networking equipment, servers, and storage, colleges will now have access to Echo360’s lecture capture system, which is used on more than 500 campuses worldwide.

Officials from the two companies said bundling the lecture capture equipment with Dell’s education technology services would help campus IT officials get lecture recordings up and running faster, and with less fuss.

Students can watch Echo360 lectures live or after class, and professors can use built-in “activity heat maps” to track student viewing trends and which class topics are creating the most discussion among students.

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Fred Singer, CEO of Echo360, said the persistent spread of lecture capture to all corners of higher education is due in part because professors and instructors have become more willing to experiment with the technology.

The faculty fear that lecture recordings would one day replace professors has dissipated, Singer said.

“This isn’t a 2-year-old technology anymore, and [educators] can see that lecture capture really has a role in making the conversation between students and faculty as fruitful as possible,” he said. “People understand its potential and they know they’ll have options [with lecture capture]. … They can use it any way they want to – the technology can’t force them to run their class in a certain way.”

Education-technology market analysts said lecture capture has piqued the interested of large, established companies like Dell as flipped learning – a model in which students watch lectures outside class and do homework in class – has become more commonplace on campuses.

Lecture recording systems and the flipped learning phenomenon are “connected and partially symbiotic,” said Alan Greenberg, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research. “Though lecture capture predates the flipped learning hullabaloo by several decades as a concept, the timing of the technological improvements and burst of interest in flipped learning are not coincidental.”

Colleges and universities that once resisted lecture capture systems have embraced the technology as student expectation has changed, said John Mullen, vice president and general manager for Dell Education.

“Schools know exactly what students expect” in a campus’s technology offerings, Mullen said. “And they want to deliver that. … I think that’s why we’ve seen demand for this kind of technology grow so much.”

Campus-based and cloud-based lecture capture systems improved students’ grades, efficiency, and course satisfaction, according to a national survey conducted by Tegrity, maker of a lecture-recording technology known as Tegrity Campus.

The overwhelmingly positive survey results come a year after a conservative media mogul posted lecture-capture video of University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) faculty member advocating violence as a legitimate tool in labor union negotiations. The video, later deemed “highly distorted” by UMKC officials, drew national attention and scorn from a range of conservative media outlets.

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 Tegrity survey. Eighty-five percent of student said the technology made them more efficient studiers, and 37 percent said they watched lectures twice a week. One in 10 students watched lectures more than six times in a week.

Seven in 10 student respondents said using lecture capture helped improve their final course grades.

About half of the students surveyed were using lecture capture in traditional classrooms, while the other half were enrolled in hybrid or online courses, according to Tegrity.

Greenberg said the Dell-Echo360 partnership could be seen by educators and campus officials as a “marketing move.” That would make it unlikely for Echo360 to attract new college campuses in the short run.

“Initially, this is … not likely to drive a lot of volume but very good for the brand to be partnered with Dell,” he said. “Down the road it will be interesting to watch if Dell’s data centers add value to Echo360’s solutions.”

Read more about lecture capture in higher education…

Smart phones driving lecture capture growth

College seek cash for education technology as budgets shrink

Lecture capture remains popular despite controversy, lack of funding

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