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We go to a private school where one of the biggest benefits is that the classroom sizes are small. Because we have this opportunity, many of our classes use discussion as a teaching method rather than lecture. This means that student participation is crucial to the effectiveness of the class.

This leaves students with a problem: should they take attentive notes or actively participate? Synchronizing both of these effectively is very difficult and requires one to be an extremely fast writer/typist — which isn’t always plausible. In fact, just the other day I heard someone say that they can “either pay attention in class or take good notes.”

ITS installed Echo360 — a lecture capture system — that is designed to help solve this problem. Lecture capture records essentially everything that happens in a class. You can hear what the teacher is saying; see what he/she is doing and writing on the board, and you can see anything that is projected onto the classroom’s screen. So if you re-watch a class, it is just like you’re in the class (again). About two hours after the class is finished, the professor will receive an automatic email with a link to their particular lecture capture. The instructor can then share it with their students.

In no way does watching the class online take place of being in the actual class. You cannot actively participate in the class, and therefore will not learn as well. But, there are many pluses to using lecture capture. Re-watching a class/lecture/discussion leads to a higher retention level; therefore students learn better and can also test better. A student may not have understood something during the first time they listened to the lecture, but the information may just click during the second time. Also, students have to miss class for a variety of reasons and this leaves them with a better option than borrowing their peers’ scribbled, incomplete notes.

The faculty doesn’t have to do anything other than fill out a form with their class’s room number and schedule. They only have to complete this form once, because there is an option on the form for repeating the recording. Once the system is configured to record their class, the recordings will begin and end automatically. No further action is required until they receive the email with the weblink two-three hours after their class is over.

The form is available at http://itsreservations.usfca.edu . If a professor wants a recording skipped (for a single class period or for the duration of the semester) all they have to do is contact the ITS Help Desk at x6668 or itshelp@usfca.edu .

You have to be in one of 12 rooms to have your class recorded with Echo360: ED 201, LM 244A, Harney 127, Cowell 312, Malloy Hall LL4, CIT 010, Gleeson Library’s Electronic classroom, Downtown campus 451, 452, 453, 527, or 529. When the CSI building is complete, there will be five more lecture capture rooms available.

If you’re a professor reading this, I strongly encourage that you consider using this system (especially if you are already placed in one of the equipped rooms) as this can truly help students learn more effectively.

If you’re a student reading this, make sure that your professors know that this technology is available to them. Assure your instructors that you and your classmates won’t miss class if they choose to utilize lecture capture. Let them know that it will help you with your learning, retention, and participation.

For more information on lecture capture, feel free to visit their website at http://www.usfca.edu/its/learning/lecturecapture/ .


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