Lecture capture: does everything need to be recorded?

It’s a given – if in London you expect to be recorded. Surveillance technologies are part of our everyday experience – state, corporate or private. Our mobile phones track us and act as our proxies in physical space, data-sets detailing our most incidental online moves are stored – and sold – to feed current and emerging technologies and companies, we upload millions of images and videos to the web each day, and on and on. Nothing we don’t already know. So, on a rainy Wednesday night why were staff from across the University of the Arts London (UAL) discussing something so seemingly pedestrian as the recording of lectures in an arts and design setting? No home life?

London College of Fashion’s Pedagogic Research Hub organised the ‘Being Lecture Captured’ event. Lecture capture as a technology has been used in the higher education (HE) sector in many forms for years, this session was interested in exploring the use of digital recordings from different perspectives, with questions such as:

  • What are the diverse implications of its use and what might this use look like in the future?
  • What research questions can we usefully ask ourselves about lecture capture that are about, and go beyond, its function as a tool to support learning?

As expected, the two hour discussion was dynamic, freewheeling, intensive and without conclusion. In other words, creative and stimulating – and with a group of people clearly motivated by the opening up of this area in fresh and meaningful ways. Evident throughout was a form of communal tangential sense making by a diverse mix of people who occupied different conceptual spaces.

This is an entire cultural seismic shift.

This post is intended to briefly note some of the further questions raised, as the Hub itself will no doubt produce more expansive and insightful documentation.

  • How do we ensure that academics are empowered to produce coherent content appropriately?
  • Are we becoming a publisher, or a television channel for consumption by our students?
  • We already have crowd-sourced lecture capture happening, our students are doing it with their mobile devices. So, isn’t this ‘good enough’ quality, good enough?
  • What do we lose by recording? See Sarah Kante’s earlier post on this blog for some insights.
  • In five years students will be recording and overlaying information with their Google Glass, so how do we prepare for technology obsolescence?

At this point it would be useful to note that the group swiftly moved away from the simple recording of lectures, to investigating the potential implications of recording all types of learning activities such as briefings, group crits and workshops; exploring intent, emotion, affect, encounters and so forth. It was agreed by all that to be valuable any technology should to be empowering for academic colleagues, support student experience and be sensitive to the context of application. In addition, the adoption of the technology should be an act of investigation and not a centrally prescribed event.

Thanks to Olly, Darren, Lindsay, Marcus and Alison for the session.