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Lecture capture: rich and strange, or a dark art?

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This paper will discuss student and staff usage of, and attitudes towards, lecture capture at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Echo360 is a comprehensive lecture capture system which represents the latest and most large-scale approach to recording lectures at LSE. Most classrooms are now equipped for audio and slide capture, and all lecture theatres are equipped for video recording. The background to the choice of Echo360 is published elsewhere (UCISA 2007). Its use by teaching staff is voluntary, nevertheless over 140 courses used the system in 2008-2009 and usage has increased this year, giving a large population to study. Existing research indicates that staff attitudes towards this technology are polarised, with some seeing the immediate value to students as a tool for revision and to help those whose first language is not English, while others are more skeptical, citing concerns about intellectual property and academic freedom. There are also common concerns about the impact of lecture capture on attendance at lectures (Davis et al. 2009; Chang 2007). Student attitudes towards the system, however, are very largely positive (Veeramani & Bradley 2008; Von Konsky et al. 2009). To complement this research, we wished to study the use of the system at LSE, in order to better understand local staff and student needs, and to provide improved advice and guidance. The findings will also inform the debate within LSE on the pros and cons of lecture capture and inform future decisions regarding investment in this technology. We have undertaken focus groups and interviews with staff and students, to explore the differing attitudes towards the service, and to identify the modes and motives for its use amongst both groups. The interviewees comprised staff who do not use lecture capture as well as those who do. The paper takes a qualitative approach, to investigate these questions in greater detail and with less ambiguity than would be possible with a simple survey. We will present findings from this research, and ask wider questions on the value of lecture capture in qualitative and quantitative subjects in the social sciences.

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