I attended a seminar yesterday about “Putting Lectures Online”. It looked at how three Schools at Cardiff University had approached recording lectures and putting them online. Before the seminar my idea, and probably that of many others, was that recording lectures meant having a recording device in a lecture theatre and recording the session.
This is a simplistic view of lecture capture and this approach was demonstrated by one of the Schools giving a presentation. They were able to highlight many of the negative implications of recording lectures in this way, such as non-attendance at the actual lecture and therefore using the recording to catch up on the missed lecture. All this because the students new they could rely on the recorded material.
The other Schools had more success with different approaches and showed how recording lectures can be used with positive effect.
The main issues that need to be considered when recording lectures (as well as those already mentioned) range from; what is the purpose of the recording, will the recording add to or reinforce the lecture content, when will the recording be made (before, during or after the lecture), when it will be available to the student and how does this enhance or improve their learning? Thinking through these points properly should avoid the problems highlighted early.
So lets look at some of these points. Firstly, what is the purpose of the recording. The recording could be used as a resource for revision or feedback. Or it could be used to introduce the student to the subject matter of the lecture, before the lecture has happened.
This last example can be referred to a ‘pre-loading’ information, and this is what interests me most. By pre-loading the student with information before the lecture, the traditional lecture time can be turned into a different teaching and learning experience.
Lets remember that the content of many lectures does not change a great deal from year to year. So instead of the lecturer repeating themselves in the lecture theatre, why not record some of this material beforehand and make it available to the students a few days before the lecture. Then instead of ‘lecturing’ the students, turn that lecture time into a discussion of the pre-learnt subject material.
The time spent in the lecture theatre can become an active, engaging learning experience, reinforcing learning and expanding on the subject matter where it might not have been possible in the traditional lecture format.
A key point to consider here is that the content of the recording and the lecture should not be identical. The recording should introduce basic concepts or key points. The lecture should review this content but build on the concepts with more information.
I used this method of pre-loading information myself when teaching audio skills on the Online and Mobile Journalism module this year. The online lessons were made available a few weeks before the class was due to submit a multimedia project. By making the learning material available outside of the classroom time, it meant that more of the time in the classroom with the lecturer was spent discussing the project work rather than skills training.
As a result of the positive feedback from the student following their use of the online lessons I intend to make similar learning material available to cover the other key skills of photography and video creation for next year.