Lecture Capture: Some Educators Prefer to be Heard… And Not Seen

In my work as an educational technologist in Higher Education (and with academic/teaching experience in HE) I am more frequently receiving queries and requests from teaching staff who want to make a video of their lecture so it can be available to their students on their module site in the institutional VLE. A request to which I respond with the following (or thereabouts) for them to consider:

  • Before embarking on the creation of a video of your lecture or presentation to be used as a learning object, it is important that you consider if there is a ‘pedagogic’ necessity to create this type of resource?
  • Is the knowledge content of the lecture such that a video of you presenting it makes it more likely that students will be able to understand it/apply it or do whatever it is that they are required to do with it in order to achieve the learning outcomes?
  • Does your visible presentation style (how you comport yourself as you present your lecture) increase the potential for students to achieve the required learning outcomes for this particular session?
  • In general – is this method of re-presenting your lecture imperative to the learning requirements and outcomes for the session? Are the students going to learn more from engaging with this learning object if they can see you in it?

If your answer is no to the above, then you may well be better creating an ‘audio’ recording of your talk and supporting this with slides/images from your presentation.

I have come across many examples of lecture videos wherein it would have been so much better not to be able to see the presenter, where a slideshow with voice-over would have been a more effective approach. The fundamental issue here is not one of visual quality – it’s not such a big deal if the video camera has been setup with a bit of a lean to it, or there are some tatty posters hanging on the walls behind the presenter – sure, these factors can lend an air of ‘quality’ to the presentation (and may be of concern to the marketing dept. if the content is potentially accessible to an ‘external’ audience) – but ‘all that glitters is not pedagogic gold’. What is key is the ‘content’ that is being presented, and how it is articulated for the most effective pedagogic ends via this particular medium of presentation.

Sometimes it is better to be heard…and not seen.

This post touches on some broader issues concerning the notions of ‘technology driven education’ vs. ‘education driven technology’.

The increased desire for academic teaching staff in HE (and perhaps in other education sectors) to engage with technology for teaching and learning is in principal good news, as enhancing learning through technology (ELT) offers some exciting spaces in which education can undergo innovation and evolution and allow us to explore and establish new educational models. However, the demand for creating technology enhanced learning ‘things’ is not always based on a robust pedagogic imperative but can tend towards that of using technology for technology’s sake.

There is a danger that if we do not confront the use of technology in education with a critical pedagogic eye at the point of local inception (that is, when we as individual educators decide that we want to use a specific technology or technologies for teaching and enhancing student learning) we may simply establish practices in which our pedagogic energies (the time we invest in the development of educational things) are invested in the production of technology-driven learning objects that have no real educational value — and that do not fully exploit the innovative developmental potentials, and the means to directly enhance teaching and learning that ELT can offer.

Dr. Weale’s insights originally appeared in East Midlands Learning Technologists’ Group

Whether you’re capturing your lectures with complete video or audio alone, Panopto can help. Request a demo to find out more about how other institutions are using our system record classroom sessions, or sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Published: July 24, 2014