Advantages of Software over Hardware-based Lecture Capture

A guest post by Graham Robinson, E-Learning Specialist at University of Southampton

Rolling out lecture capture overnight

With lecture theatres in two countries of the world, three cities/towns in UK and another that requires a ferry to get to, it is a lot of effort to install AV equipment on our campuses.

The University of Southampton has been using Panopto since 2010. In that first year, we deployed the software to 30 users by packaging up the software into a format that could be pushed to computers of our choosing on any of our sites. By our second year we had a site license and could flick a virtual switch to have lecture capture everywhere.

Having no dedicated capture hardware in our lecture theatres meant that we were able to switch on lecture capture to all 160 centrally bookable lecture spaces and make it available on every member of staff’s PC (thousands). No staff visits, no complicated permissions, just the ability to capture everywhere overnight.

Planning for the unexpected

Our first use of Panopto, outside of testing, was for a conference in April 2010. Two of the speakers were planning to travel to the UK from mainland Europe to give a keynote speech when the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull closed airports across the continent. We gave the speakers access to our Panopto servers and they uploaded their talk from a hotel room and answered questions over the phone.

Using PowerPoint lets you pinpoint content from an entire library of lectures

When the Panopto software sits on the same computer as the presenters’ documentation there can be deep integration with the applications they choose to use. Most of the time this application is PowerPoint.

As Panopto digests all the content from a PowerPoint presentation, students can find a particular slide in seconds from a library containing years’ of lecture content and be brought straight from the search results to the precise second the slide appeared.

Full control over your sessions

The final point I’d like to make on software solutions is the control it gives, not just as an administrator of the computer but also as an end user delivering a lecture. As there is no anonymous box recording your actions but an application on the computer, you have full control over everything that happens in your session. If you wish to stop recording the buttons are available to you, if you wish to record a session that you didn’t plan to, then the recorder is in the start menu ready for it.

And of course, if you run out of time you could always finish the lecture in your office.

*The views and opinions expressed here represent the author’s and not those of institutions or organizations that they may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

Published: January 20, 2016