In September 2016, the Fine Art team at the University for the Creative Arts (Canterbury) suggested recording lectures as something they could do in response to Disabled Student Allowance funding changes. My role then, Learning Support Coordinator, was to initiate/trial/encourage inclusive practice, so I was eager to support this. The practice was trialled across the 17-18 year, and we surveyed staff and student feedback. Staff demonstrated significant engagement and support for the resource. Students fedback emphatic support for the resource; and that they used it mostly to recap for their written assignments, and in some cases it specifically supported dyslexia and mental health conditions.
Published on 21st May 2019 | Written by Claire Scott and Mary-Lou Barratt | Photo by Vanilla Bear Films on Unsplash
Introduction and scope
The aim of exploring lecture capture at UCA Canterbury was to explore its potential to provide more inclusive lectures for students. Lectures are generally long sessions, and providing students with recordings of lectures can enhance their ability to revisit and review a lecture (Witthaus & Robinson, 2015). Additional reasons for piloting lecture capture were that:
- It is useful for international & neurodiverse students (ibid.)
- 71% of Higher Education institutions facilitate lecture capture already (UCISA, 2016)
- It is recommended as one of ‘5 simple actions to affect change’ by the Department for Education (2017)
This project also sought to evaluate some of the perceived risks that are often associated with lecture capture, including:
- the impact on attendance: Every single study into lecture capture asks this question though, but the evidence is mixed. Some individual studies do claim there’s an effect, however empirical studies find in general ‘there is little to no effect’ (Karnad, 2013).
- whether staff would engage: All the Canterbury course leaders gave their written support for the resource though, on an opt-in basis.
- the technical capabilities required: UCA do have cameras to hire, but there is not enough to dedicate to this service: Capturing audio well also needs particular equipment. Arranging equipment logistics, plus and any minor editing and uploading takes time.
In the video below, Claire and Mary-Lou evaluate the lecture capture project.
A total of 43 students were involved in the lecture capture project. The project found that students did access and make use of the recordings. The 33 recordings created were viewed 635 times (19 times per person on average).
Of the 43 students involved, 42 responded positively to the question ‘is having recorded lectures useful?’ and one replied ‘I don’t know’. 6 students specified that the sound quality could have been better. 26 respondents said they used it to recap, and 15 of the them specified that the recordings were useful for their written work:
‘If it hadn’t been for the lecture recordings I would have struggled immensely when writing my final essay, as the lecture I based it on was one of the first of the year. I could look at the questions presented in a refreshing light, and not have to solely rely on the frantically scribbled notes that I took whilst in the lecture.’
‘Very useful, I use them to go back and make notes about anything that caught me in the moment but remained in my mind as something that I have needed to elaborate on with personal research. Also, missing lectures is super detrimental to my studies so the ability to watch them online and therefore never miss out on anything no matter the circumstance, is incredibly helpful.’
6 respondents cited that the recorded lectures helped reduce the impact of their learning disability/SpLD:
‘Yes, I rewatch them to take my notes as I cannot in real time (I have dyslexia)’
‘Very. I was ill with mental health issues and they really helped me to keep up and also to recap. They were very useful when a few of us got the wrong idea for one of the breifs and had to go back and watch them again to relate them back to lectures. Without this im not sure what we would have done.’
‘Yeah really helpful, having bad anxiety sometimes it’s really hard to get into uni. Having the recording really helped!’
It is also important to note that academic staff in these teams were in favour of the lecture capture project. A survey of these staff (N=26) yielded positive feedback, and they emphasized the potential to support students with disabilities, those with English as a second language, and that it gave students a chance ‘to engage deeper’/concentrating on the session rather than focusing too much on notes. Only one academic responded that no they would not use this resource; but the other five academics said yes they would.
Overall, 20 lecturers voluntarily participated and only 2 lectures were not recorded- however even those academics did say they support recording for internal use, but it just wasn’t appropriate for their session that day.
Whilst this pilot project only used a small sample, the findings have demonstrated several substantial benefits to student learning. An extended pilot project, and investment in the support and equipment required is recommended. The feedback about how students used the recordings indicates that it has potential to facilitate deeper learning.
Claire Scott currently works as an Inclusion Mentor at the University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury. In her previous role as a Learning Support Coordinator, she managed several projects that investigated ways of providing a more inclusive learning experience for students.
Mary-lou has held a range of academic positions, including associate lecturer with the BA (Hons) Fine Art course at Oxford Brookes University and course tutor with the BA (Hons) Visual Art and Communication course at Canterbury College of Higher Education. Mary-lou’s specialist area can be summarised as the meshes of radically expanded art and socio-political activism, post-1960. Since 2010, Mary-lou has also been an Associate Researcher with, and member of, The Sculpture Question, a research project initiated through the Schools of Fine Arts and Postgraduate Studies at UCA that investigates the challenges contemporary ‘sculpture’ presents to art education, and the possibilities that these challenges open up.
Department for Eduacation (2017) Disabled Student Sector Leadership Group: Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a Route to Excellence.
Karnad, A., (2013). Student use of recorded lectures: a report reviewing recent research into the use of lecture capture technology in higher education, and its impact on teaching methods and attendance. In: LSE
UCISA., (2016). Survey of Technology Enhanced Learning for Higher Education in the UK, pp.34
Witthaus, G.R. and Robinson, C.L., (2015). Lecture capture literature review: A review of the literature from 2012-2015. In Loughborough: Centre for Academic Practice, Loughborough University.