May 20, 2013
Teachers Talk - Lecture Capture and the Flipped, or not so Flipped Classroom
Colin Hill, SDACC TDEC Representative & Director of Computer Services at Canadian University College

One of the hot topics in educational technology in the past year has been the ‘flipped classroom’.   In the flipped model, students will typically view a lecture online before the scheduled class period, then during class time they will be ready to discuss topics, work on individual or group projects, or get assistance with content they found difficult. The flipped classroom is really about making optimal use of instructor and student time. It does this by providing increased access to the instructors experience and enables the instructor to scale their resources to support higher enrollment. Research at one university shows1 that the majority of students realised increased understanding, were better prepared for tests and liked the option of resources available. However, some students felt that this model increased their workload.  Other K-12 administrators caution that while there are many benefits to the flipped classroom model, individual teachers will have to determine its suitability based on the maturity and motivation level of their classrooms.2   It sounds to me like many in Higher Ed. are finally catching up to what K-12 teachers have been taught and practiced for quite some time, that lecturing is not the most effective way to learn.  So, while K-12 may not be as needy of the flipped classroom techniques, I think we can learn a lot from the advances in video production and use that is driving this phenomenon, so that is what I would like to focus on for this month’s column.
 
While there are many components and nuances to a flipped classroom, what has really led to its current transcendence is advances in making the creation and manipulation of video super easy.  It is now possible to schedule so that when an instructor enters a room recording will begin, and a video of that class time along with accompanying notes and whiteboard content is available for review in the classes LMS only a few minutes after the class ends.  This process is known as ‘lecture capture’.  .
While the particular features and strengths of the available video capture solutions will vary, there is a basic set of tools and features that they all have.
 
Ease of Use:  Many of the features and functions of lecture capture systems have been available for several years, but only to those who were very technically savvy, had time to cobble together all the components, or the network resources to tie them together.  With today’s offerings, all the components are brought together in a user friendly format, meaning that the average user can perform the majority of functions needed with minimal support.  With many, system administrators do not even have to worry about installing expensive hardware or servers, as the software is delivered as a service over any Internet connection.
 
Editing and Annotation:  The ability to easily edit, delete or repackage sections of a recording and combine them with other elements allow for ultimate creativity.  Most suites also allow the teacher to add visual elements like arrows, highlighting etc. to the recordings.  Extra class notes or teacher comments can be placed over or alongside the video playback. 
 
Integration with Existing Equipment:If a class or school has already made some investment in video technology, then most of these systems can incorporate those existing webcams, microphones, interactive whiteboards, projectors, tablets etc. into the solution. 
 
Polling, Surveys, Q&A:  With the ability to present polls, surveys and get direct feedback from the students, the content will always seem fresh and more engaging for the student.  The feedback can then be stored and results even merged and presented alongside the other lecture materials.
 
Integration of Supplemental Materials: Most of these systems will allow instructors to include links to accompanying materials like PowerPoint presentations, additional lecture notes, or other media content like YouTube videos to be presented at appropriate times during the playback. 
 
Saleable Expansion:  A good system will allow a single classroom to begin as a pilot, and then allow expansion up to the entire school or even school district without re-designing the solution. 
 
Playback controls:  Giving the student the ability to freeze, review and fast-forward the content is critical to the success of a learning capture system.  Also, having the content available on whatever device they are using, including smartphones and iPods, is another big success factor.  Today’s learners are used to having their materials instantly available.  All output can be viewed on any laptop, PC or mobile device with the correct formats being automatically rendered.
 
Indexing, Search-ability:  This is one of the coolest features these systems make easily available.  Automatic transcription and indexing of the audio, and even of the content of accompanying materials like notes or PowerPoint slides, allows student to search for specific segments that they wish to view. 
 
Integration with SIS and LMS/CMS: Finally, the ability to easily link this material within an existing learning or course management system you may be using, like Desire 2 Learn or Moodle will extend their benefit greatly. These videos could also be easily integrated into the schools YouTube channel or iTunes U.
 
TechSmith is one provider who has been in the video manipulation field for quite some time.  Their free Jing and more advanced Snagit and Camtasia products have long been used by the K-12 community for producing video podcasts and screen casts by both teachers and students. But their new Camtasia Relay product makes the lecture capture process easy and rewarding. This solution requires an in-house Camtasia Relay Windows server that each of the recording clients will send their content to through the school network.
Panopto offers Focus, a complete software as a service solution meaning that there is no server for you to maintain.  It works with just about any media device you can throw at it.  It allows you to record from your mobile device and will synchronize this with the slide show from your PC, or a document camera, or what was captured on your interactive whiteboard. Integration with just about every LMS is offered.
 
Echo360has been one of the founding companies in the blended learning, lecture capture and video management revolution.  Their built in Google Analytics allow you to get to know how effective your attempts are, allowing you to fine tune your deployment. Their solution is also now available through Dell, known as Dell Lecture Capture.
 
Sonicfoundry’s Mediasite offers a full video management solution. They provide the server hardware and devices for room capture systems ensuring ease of use and compatibility.  They once held about 40% of the market share. Their solution can also be used for live and on-demand streaming.
 
Tegrity offers Campus, which includes a fully automated workflow making their solution useable for instructors at all technology familiarity levels.  They offer both FTE based and time based pricing methods offering both cloud and hybrid-cloud models allowing the best fit for your situation.
 
While Kaltura does not offer a complete lecture capture system as these others do, they do offer a great video management suite and are the guts behind some other providers solutions, like D2L’s and Moodle’s video extensions. If you want to play with video without getting into a full capture solution, then do checkout their offering, available from a fully hosted solution to a free open source offering.
What are some of the advantages that lecture capture and video use could offer to a typical SDA school classroom?  It can allow students to review class discussions or presentations on their own time.  It could provide the basis for a distance education program allowing remote students to experience a classroom setting.  Recordings can allow for advanced students to progress at their own pace while allowing the teacher to spend more time with those needing it.  Accommodating students who miss class time due to sickness, travel etc. is another great possibility. These systems can be used as learning center activities or project features allowing students to create and record projects that are then available for the teacher and other students to review and critique.  Recordings can be used by teachers for self-review, or by administrators as part of the supervision process.  Prepared material could be used in place of a substitute teacher.  Special guests and visitors that may not be available during classroom time (or due to location) may be recorded and presented. I am sure you can think of even more ideas if such a system was in place and accessible at your school.  It would be great to hear some stories of success in the near future. 
 
1. University of Sussex Me2 U Project: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/elearning/audioandvideo/me2u
2www.examiner.com/article/the-flipped-classroom-is-not-for-everyone
 
Links to solutions mentioned:
TechSmith:  http://www.techsmith.com/flipped-classroom.html
Panopto:  http://www.panopto.com/
Echo 360:  http://echo360.com/
Sonicfoundry:  http://www.sonicfoundry.com/mediasite
Tegrity:  http://www.tegrity.com/
Kalture:  http://corp.kaltura.com/
 
Additional articles on K-12 and flipped classroom, lecture capture use:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2QgtPyk_Gk&list=PL4321D8B4B19EAE9F&index=6&feature=plpp_video
http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/flipped-classrooms-high-tech-tools-help-students-succeed-1.1001437
http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/students-parents-give-thumbs-flipped-classroom
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Flipped+classrooms+create+magic+controversy+schools/7202690/story.html
http://plpnetwork.com/2012/10/08/flip-love-affair/