Advanced area: lecture capture

Declaration: This section reflects work between 2014-2017 at the University of York.

Lecture capture service management and pedagogical research represents a significant and advanced area of work over an extended period of time. For the portfolio, I have reviewed my practice under the CMALT principles.  To understand the advanced level of practice I am evidencing here, I will outline how my role required technical, influencing, pedagogic and service management skills. I will then explore how I worked with different stakeholders to deliver the lecture capture service, build an evidence base specific to our teaching and learning context, and encourage academic colleagues through professional development. I have then explored the impact of my work within the context of my non-academic role at the University of York.

Service management context

My role as service manager positioned me between the delivery teams (timetabling, IT, audio-visual, e-learning) and the end users (students, academic staff). For both groups of stakeholders I was accountable to their needs, but also providing direction for the service and its use. Building a strong relationship with the service delivery teams was increasingly important as I oversaw the migration of the lecture capture system from one platform (Echo360) to a new cloud-hosted service (Panopto). To inform decisions I attended conferences for each of the two providers and the open source community event for OpenCast. This allowed me to network with those who had implemented the platforms from both a technical perspective and end-user.

My specific activities involved creating the specification and documents for tender, arranging the tender meetings, testing and eventually implementing the final product. My approach to developing the specification involved individual meetings with each of the service teams, then presenting a draft specification to the service steering group (which included academic representatives). This approach ensured delivery stakeholders bought into the tender process, but on a more practical level ensured that their expertise was included on this long-term financial and institutional commitment. In arranging the tender demonstrations from vendors, I involved student representatives and academic staff from across the institution to provide feedback on the demonstrations. These demonstrations focused on the user experience and impact on learning. I then ran a separate technical discussion with the service team and vendors, enabling us to go into more depth that would not be appropriate for the student/staff stakeholder group.

The implementation phase was again technical in nature, and I was able to draw upon my understanding of programming to feed into design and testing of the timetabling integration system. This integration would require substantial time to develop, and without it the scalability of the lecture capture service would be severely limited. I worked closely with IT who developed the solution.

During the pilot phase of the new platform, I ensured a workaround solution was in place. This would also act as a fall-back mechanism should the automated timetabling integration fail. This allowed for like-for-like testing on the end-user experience, but also provided a layer of resilience to the platform when it launched across the institution.

Beyond the technical implementation, buy in from academic staff and understanding in how to use the system, both by students and staff, involved a concerted communications effort. As the new system promised improved reliability and opportunities for new forms of learning through video and captures (such as chalk-board and visualiser recording), I was able to promote pedagogical benefits as well as technical improvements. Chalk-board capture in particular was necessary for lecture capture to have any benefit to departments such as Physics, Mathematics or Electronics. Strategically, it was important to draw upon a pedagogical evidence base in order to scale up new features. I worked closely with the Department of Physics to implement a pilot of video camera capture (application for first round of funding [Link redacted for public portfolio]), generating the evidence to support further investment in this improvement to the service (application for second round of funding [Link redacted for public portfolio]). Note for these applications, they had to be submitted by a department, however I contributed the background literature, costings and evaluation strategy.

It is this effort to explore the pedagogical implications of lecture capture that I feel had the most impact on positive staff attitudes to the service. I drew upon Young and Moes (2013) framework that proposed how the use of video in education could shift to higher order learning and increased learner independence. By using the technology to provide recordings as integral to blended learning activities (rather than just reviewing lectures) (McLaughlin et al., 2014) and for student-created videos, the lecture capture platform then became increasingly useful for learning outside the lecture environment. This is discussed briefly in Core Area 2.

In some cases, departments who were apprehensive of lecture recording, instead favoured the use of the system for flipped classroom video recording or provision of supplementary material to address the needs of students. I drew upon on a Computer Science lecturer’s implementation of a mastery approach as a case study for this model of using video for learning.

In terms of creating an impact, my overall objectives were for staff to explore lecture capture from an informed, critical perspective, become up-skilled in the technical use of the system and understand pedagogical implications of learning with video (evidenced through flipped classroom workshops and teaching and learning seminars).

Research to inform practice

Exploring and understanding the interplay between technology and learning

When I joined the E-Learning Development Team as Lecture Capture Coordinator, I was tasked with building the research base for our deployment. The aim of this was to support new users and address misconceptions about the purpose of lectures and lecture captures.

Much of the existing research was founded on small-scale pilots within specific disciplines (Bolmier et al., 2007 ) and often-cited literature was not about institutional, automated video capture (Copley, 2007). Typically, most of the literature focused on mainly quantitative measures (Owston et al., 2011), or in some cases split-cohort trials (Ford et al., 2012). Where there were qualitative data, these took the form of short pieces of feedback, that indicated generic benefits without going into depth about how lecture capture was transforming student study experiences. The same sort of feedback that I receive through our institutional survey. This research base allowed academic staff (and indeed service managers like myself), to select the most appropriate quote or statistics to support their cause, whether that be promoting or campaigning against the use of the technology. Though, most of the research cited was in a very different discipline or context, and often conclusions were drawn about the way students studied, without thinking about external influences such as the curriculum and assessment design.

One of the biggest arguments against lecture capture was the impact on attendance. Sadly, this still pervades the literature (Edwards and Clinton, 2018) and in doing so ignores the social context of education, where other factors influence students’ choices over how, where and when they study. The focus on attendance obscures the real issue over establishing the purpose and position of ‘the lecture’ in modern higher education.

I designed my research project to go into some depth with students who were regular users of lecture capture in departments who were making recordings across all modules, rather than pilot or small scale deployments. This tried to counter any novelty effect or issues over students having mixed approaches to engaging with lectures and lecture capture should not all staff be using the technology.

Through interviews with students, I discovered a range of ways that the technology was being used to support very individualised learning approaches. By finding out more about learner contexts, I also became more aware of the varied needs for lecture capture. These included how students with planned knowledge of lecture recording provision could focus more on following the narrative of lectures rather than capturing notes, could better cope with back-to-back lectures, were able to continue lab work and placements which clashed with lectures, and for some reduced the stress from a complex work-study-life balance. Technology was supporting learning in a personalised way, and through these perspectives I wished to show new adopters and teaching colleagues how to effectively use lecture capture by embedding support.

Engaging with and promoting the impact of technology for learning and teaching

By establishing a rich evidence base, specific to the context of our institution, but equally exposing the wide range of learning approaches shown by students, I was then in a stronger position to persuade academic colleagues about the learning value of lecture capture.

To challenge misconceptions and address anxieties about lecture capture, such as reduced attendance and attainment, I focused my message on the nature of the lecture itself. Ultimately, that a lecture is not the end-point of learning but the start of a process. Ensuring students attend lectures is significant in that it is often the first point of exposure to new ideas, however subsequent activities and interactions embed the learning through application.

One approach I took, as an action research leadership project for my MA studies, was a workshop to surface concerns amongst colleagues apprehensive about lecture capture and share practices from those who were early adopters. I began by presenting the evidence base for lecture capture, before allowing time for participants to share their views in a non-judgemental way.

An empathy with and willingness to learning from colleagues

Unfortunately, there was a pre-existing trend in academic support workshops for a significant proportion (sometimes majority) of participants to be support staff, rather than lecturers. I decided for the lecture capture workshop to prohibit non-lecturers from attending; this was an unusual step. In doing so I created a space that professional and personal concerns, deeply held beliefs, could be shared and acknowledged before finding a way forward for each participant (Starr, 2011; James and Jones, 2008).

A second influencing theory came from Henkel (2000), who discussed the nature of academic identity being closely associated to the discipline. Leadership in learning technology, or indeed any academic support role, therefore demands an understanding of the discipline of the educators you support. As described in section 2b (peer support activity for FHEA), by putting aside my service management agenda I was able to spend time to understand different discipline learning. Applying and evaluating the use of lecture capture in discipline contexts progressed my discussions with departments, and changed the way I looked at the role of lecture capture itself. Instead of focusing on the benefits of the technology for a generic student, I was able to relate its use to the role of ‘the lecture’ as one part of the student learning experience and curriculum design.

I reflected in my MA report the significance of learning technologists in non-leadership roles and my capacity to influence others by understanding colleagues’ working contexts and motivations:

Priestly (2013) draws attention to discipline boundaries, which Henkel (2000) describes as prevalent in higher education. [However,] I have a better understanding of my role as a ‘bridging’ role (Swaffield and MacBeath, 2013, p.19). Thus, being able to draw learning points from different contexts in order to support the development of others. As a leader of professional practice, by bridging disciplines and encouraging dialogue between departmental communities, I facilitate better understanding and knowledge across the institution. The act of critical discussion with a learning theory driver finds connections across boundaries (Rowland, 2001), as shown through my leadership activity with colleagues analysing the lecturer or the lecture as a concept, rather than focusing solely individuals’ discipline idiosyncrasies.

My reflections on the agency of learning technologists in non-leadership roles had a strong influence on the way I worked with colleagues at the University, and I’ve carried forward to my role now as I begin to understand the primary and secondary teaching workforce and their CPD needs. I refer also to the approaches I used to develop my colleagues in MOOC design addressed earlier in the portfolio.

Impact of the workshop

In terms of the impact made through the specific leadership approach of the workshop for educators bringing together both new and experienced users, I refer again to my write up for my MA report. Here I highlight my intention to measure impact on confidence (confidence as a particular measure I selected based on Shephard, 2004, as pertinent to educational technology adoption), however the wording of the question didn’t take account of pre-intervention confidence level. Rather than any marked difference in number of recordings participants intended to make (somewhat limited by scheduled teaching), I note that participants had considered how they could use the lecture capture software differently in the future. Thus, showing how the discussion and bringing together of different viewpoints in a ‘safe space’, has supported their professional development.

According to the post-workshop participant survey, most participants neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement ‘Participating in this session has improved my confidence using lecture capture.’ The two respondents who did agree were already regular users of the system, therefore it is questionable whether the workshop itself made a significant impact on confidence using the system. However, all participants who responded to the survey agreed that their practice would be improved as a result of attending the workshop, with most strongly agreeing. It is difficult to judge whether O1b [50% of participants confidence in lecture capture] has been adequately achieved in light of the phrasing of the survey statement referring to changes in confidence. Drawing upon Shephard (2004) who suggested confidence is an integral activity to adoption of learning technologies, and most participants indicating use of lecture capture, would suggest O1 [improving awareness of lecture capture] has been met.

Timetabling data shows four participants have increased their use of lecture capture, with three decreasing their use, however there are external factors such as teaching allocation and room provision that affect these figures. The survey similarly indicates that O2a [participants increase their use of lecture capture] is unlikely to be met with five of the seven respondents saying they anticipate no change to their use of lecture capture next year. However, four respondents indicated they would be using the manual recording software more to create supplementary video resources to support student learning. Therefore the workshop may have had a positive effect for students through an unintended outcome.

Evidence to support an effective approach, is shown in the participant feedback:

  • “Very well organised. Put the participants at the centre of the workshop. Matt was happy, comfortable and confident in reacting to the participants’ questions, rather than rigidly sticking to a pre-determined curriculum for the workshop.”

Staff shared the key ideas taken away, which aligned with the workshop objectives:

  • “Not feeling like you have to teach to the lecture capture system – let it enhance your teaching, not be a slave to it”
  • “There is still a lot of resistance to lecture capture. Often these objections would be more adequately addressed by improving other teaching practice rather than blaming lecture capture.”
  • “How students use this resources matters a lot.”

On a personal note, a significant development milestone for me was that this workshop very much placed the participants at the centre. Allowing time for them to discuss their contexts, their ideas openly (and capture them on a poster), provided time for relating the ideas I was presenting to their own context. Rather than pushing an agenda, together we critically appraised the evidence, much more in keeping with academic identity.

Students as stakeholders

I worked closely with the Students’ Union to support their understanding also of the role of lecture capture. Similar to the research literature, many arguments presented by student representatives were about easier revision (of memorised content) and prioritisation of the lecture content over other forms of study. As these messages didn’t align with the pedagogical motives within academic departments, I wanted to support their understanding also of the role of ‘the lecture’. I engaged with Students’ Union representatives to gather feedback on the student study outputs, but also to encourage departmental representatives to consider both the benefits and limitations of lecture capture. Most were receptive to more critical viewpoints and this helped them to articulate their arguments better in department meetings.

For the review phase of the research outputs, I asked student representatives to consider the appropriateness and relevance of both the style and content. Feedback was positive, but they noted the emphasis on ‘lecture first’ present in all models and three key issues for further development:

  1.  Lecturers who decide not to record their lectures – this implies that there is little chance for students to progress their learning where they do not have access to recordings (a particular point at the time where whole departments had
    decided not to adopt, or module choice may be influenced by lecturers’ preferences).
  2. An overemphasis on lectures as the core means of delivering content. Indeed, this aspect becomes more predominant in later stages in a degree, where lab work, projects, seminars and reading are more significant contributors to student learning and understanding.
  3. To be more realistic about the level of revision. Weekly revision cycles were impractical as they simply would not have enough time. This viewpoint contrasts with ideas of spaced and interleaved practice, repeated engagement with content for longer term retention (albeit that application of knowledge is more significant than simply engagement) (Brown et al, 2011). Student experiences of existing programmes, thus in tension with the messages from institutional pedagogy which promotes such ideas (Robinson, 2015).

Using their feedback, I had to balance making a resource that would really support student learning, against the possible view that students would feel unduly disadvantaged by staff choosing not to adopt the system. This required careful stakeholder management, and instead of softening the message about lecture capture, I instead worked closely with the Students’ Union to promote these resources to all the departmental student representatives.

The Study Advice document I wrote for students represents the thinking about how to best engage with lectures, lecture captures and note-making, drawing upon the valuable insights I obtained from my research interviews and the student feedback.

The evidence based from the student interviews and relationship with study advice then provided sound arguments for students to engage with departments from and informed perspective. Similarly, presenting this material to department teaching and learning leaders at faculty level ensured that staff were equally informed, but with a more provocative question challenging them to identify the true role and purpose of the lecture in their curriculum and teaching. This would also help staff articulate more clearly that the lecture is not the centre of learning that some students believed it is and hopefully challenge, as one student stated, the perception that “everyone expects you to be taking notes.”

Impact and reflections

When considering the impact of my student study advice research project and outputs, I draw upon the ideas relating to open educational materials and open training resources. McAndrew et al. (2012) discussed openness in education, with OERs and the access to open content offering “the promise of major changes” in how learning can happen and how people learn. My view of openness is that learning technologists can similarly influence changes in learning, through resource and evaluation sharing with educators (such as the York TEL Handbook) and openness of training and learning support materials (such as the Lecture Capture Study Guide and videos). Though openness allows re-purposing, an increase in reach and flexibility for students to adapt support resources to their needs, because of the lack of learner-specific analytics, the measurement of impact is challenging. Pitt et al. (2013) present a mixed methods approach to evaluating impact of OERs. Retrospectively I see how this aligns to my thinking for my lecture capture research project design, but similarly I use now to reflect on how I can evaluate the impact of my work (with acknowledgement that there are gaps in my evaluation approach).

Impact on learners is usually measured through educator assessments of learning, performance and feedback from learners (Pitt et al., 2013). However, for the type of open resource I provided, measures cannot be easily defined. As such, impact is often reduced to simplistic metrics such as downloads or video views. Feedback forms for the resources I created did not generate enough information to be a meaningful measure of impact. Comparing student marks, usage of lecture capture and changes to their note-making behaviour was not possible either as the users of the open resources were anonymous. However, continuing my small scale research project may have offered specific cases of changes in practice. Indeed, as subsequent lecture capture surveys indicated, there is a desire from students to know more about how to use the feature set of lecture capture platforms and how to best study using captures.

As departments adopted lecture capture, I encouraged them to have an open discussion during induction as to its purpose, and more importantly to make clear the purpose of lectures and other contact time. Directly addressing the misconceptions and differing views on the role of lectures that were evident through talking to both students and staff.

Impact measures through engagement with resources

Student feedback via an online form

As noted above, this was limited. The handful of responses about the use of resources are summarised as:

  • 5/7 tried a new way of studying
  • 5/7 making notes that support their learning
  • 8/8 understand the value in attending lectures
  • 7/7 understand how lectures fit with the rest of teaching on their modules

Open text comments yielded little specific feedback:

  • “Easier to revise, and can carefully take time to understand the material taught in lectures.”
  • “Can go over topics which allows for reflection and revision after lecture.”
  • “Rewatch/listen to lectures when revising.”

Beyond the institution

A commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice

Since starting the lecture capture role, I have valued the opportunity to share my work and also learn from service teams in other institutions. I hosted delegations from Huddersfield, Keele and Manchester Metropolitan universities to demonstrate our system and service management approach. I have presented at a number of conferences on both service management and pedagogy:

As a result of my ALT-C presentations, I was invited to deliver talks at the University of Liverpool (Slides) and Keele University (Slides), and as a panellist for the University of Sheffield Digital Commons (Recording). This dissemination activity allowed me to work beyond my institution with groups of 20-60 people and draw upon my evidence to help them understand the role of lecture capture in their context. Workshops such as these allow my work to be accessed by academic staff who would not normally be aware of the literature specific to the educational technology journals, but more importantly allow for discussion and review of both my practice and their teaching practice.

My ALT-C presentation, with narrative on the SlideShare version, really encapsulates 18 months of thinking and progress in the way that we talk about student use of lectures and lecture capture. Whilst conference dissemination may reach like-minded learning technologists or enthused academics, the biggest impact has been achieved by releasing, under creative commons license, the guidance for students. The influence of the ALT-C session on service managers and my provision of repurposeable resources that allows them to support their students’ learning with lecture capture is reflected by the inclusion and reference to the open resources by other institutions. Ultimately, if students can be encouraged to critically adopt learning technologies they can improve their own study practices. The videos and study workflows have been widely shared, and the videos in particular are now included in a number of universities’ study guides for students:

I view these references and utilisation of resources by other institutions as evidence of the impact of my work in creating student-facing materials that meet a clearly defined need.

Impact within the institution

During my period as service manager, the number of recordings more than doubled to over 7000 annually (refer to this presentation). Departments who were initially reticent to use lecture capture (and in some cases even discuss lecture capture) invited me into dedicated Boards of Studies, with most committing to trials or adoption for specific year groups. Raising the profile of the service by adopting an empathetic approach, encouraging critical discussion and acknowledging both strengths and weaknesses, added credibility in my informal leadership role. A local impact is evidenced through change in adoption across the institution, and subsequently continued by the team after I left. I am pleased to see that the research continues by my successor and my support resources are still available and promoted for students to use.  In 2018 (two years after I left), the service now has 230 rooms (up from 70) and is now institutional policy that all lectures are to be recorded (University of York, 2018).

Reflection on professional practice

In terms of disseminating this work within the learning technology profession, this was a secondary output of the project.  The aim of my work was to create an impact not through niche journal articles, but outputs usable by students to support their learning. Educator-facing resources have also been popular:

Generally, my approach to dissemination within the profession is in the form of blog posts, Twitter engagement and conference presentations. Twitter and blog posts are particularly helpful to support other practitioners, as they allow responses to immediate needs and contributions to their thinking (my interventions were noted by Phil Race for example). Blog posts act as an important reflective tool for me, where I begin to look in more depth at a new field or report on a recent project. The act of writing is important for my own professional practice to pull together different ideas, focus on the literature, and help shape my thinking.  Particularly in the field of lecture capture where media attention and hype often require evidence-based arguments to be presented to academic colleagues, it is crucial that learning technologists can find evidence. Academic publishing does take time, and although through peer review the research is more credible, often papers are restricted to specific case studies reducing the likely adoption in other domains.

A limitation of my role as service manager and now as a programme manager in a non-profit company, means that I have no capacity for formal academic writing. Much of my research analysis takes place in my own time in evenings and weekends, however that does not imply a lack of rigour on my conference presentations. As the evidence through this portfolio shows (see slides and abstracts from conference presentations and workshops), I have demonstrated innovative thinking and drawn upon critical frameworks from existing literature to shape my outputs. I am often critical of other speakers who lack evidence and considered evaluation in project reports and conference presentations, which is why I ensure all my dissemination outputs have robust data to support conclusions. I adopt a similar approach when authoring longer blog posts, revisiting literature and drawing upon pedagogical frameworks to develop a fresh perspective on the use of learning technology. This goes beyond simply reporting current trends, but uses a critical perspective to discuss how traditional learning and teaching approaches have been reshaped with the use of learning technology.

I feel that this form of dissemination suits the role of a learning technologist in a non-academic, largely support role. Creating resources and sharing ideas in an open and accessible way, not within the constraints and jargon of learning technology fields, makes sure that I am producing outputs that can be used and contextualised by all educators and students.


Bollmeier, S. G., Wenger, P. J., and Forinash, A. B. (2007) ‘Impact of Online Lecture-capture on Student Outcomes in a Therapeutics Course’, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74, 7, Article 127.

Brown, P.C., Rodiger, H.L, McDaniel, M.A. (2014) Make it stick: the science of successful learning. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

Copely, J. (2007) ‘Audio and video podcasts of lectures for campus-based students: production and evaluation of student use’, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 44, 4, 387-399.

Edwards, M.R. and Clinton, M.E. (2018). A study exploring the impact of lecture capture availability and lecture capture usage on student attendance and attainment, Higher Education. Early release:

Ford, M. B., Burns, C. E., Mitch, N. and Gomez, M. M. (2012) ‘The effectiveness of classroom capture technology’, Active Learning in Higher Education, vol.13, no.3, pp.191-201.

Henkel, M. (2000) Academic Identities and Policy Change in Higher Education, London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

James, C. and Jones, N. (2008) ‘A case study of the mis-management of educational change: an interpretation from an affective standpoint’, Journal of Educational Change, vol.9, pp.1-16.

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Pitt, R., Ebrahimi, N., McAndrew, N. and Coughlan, T. (2013). Assessing OER impact across organisations and learners: experiences from the Bridge to Success project, Journal of Interactive Media and Education

Priestley, M. (2013) ‘Schools, Teachers, and Curriculum Change: A Balancing Act?’, in Wise, C., Bradshaw, P. and Cartwright, M. (eds.) (2013) Leading Professional Practice in Education, London, Sage Publications.

Robinson, J. (2015) Introducing the York Pedagogy: What and why, how and why. University of York.

Rowland, S. (2001) ‘Surface learning about teaching in higher education: The need for more critical conversation’, International Journal for Academic Development, vol.6, no.2, pp.162-167.

Shephard, K. (2004) ‘The role of educational developers in the expansion of educational technology’, International Journal for Academic Development, vol.9, no.1, pp.67-83.

Starr, K. (2011) ‘Principles and the Politics of Resistance to Change’, Educational Management Administration & Leadership, vol.39, no.6, pp.646-660.

Swaffield, S. and MacBeath, J. (2013) ‘Leadership for Learning’, in Wise, C., Bradshaw, P. and Cartwright, M. (eds.) (2013) Leading Professional Practice in Education, London, Sage Publications.

University of York (2018). Policy Statement on Lecture Capture, Information for Departments.

Young. C. and Moes, S. (2013) How to move beyond lecture capture: Pedagogy Guide [online]. REC:all. Media & Learning Association.

Next: Future Plans.