In order for online learning to give students an effective online education, schools and colleges need to invest in lecture capture solutions.
According to Joseph Cilli, the answer as to why schools are moving to online learning is obvious – students want it.
Cilli, the director of distance learning at Florida International University (FIU), says online learning can give students the flexibility to learn on their own watch, especially if they can’t attend class in person.
“Based on today’s standards, an online course is better organized, provides a community for all students to actively and anonymously participate, and has more opportunities for instructor/student engagement while being equally, if not more, rigorous,” says Cilli. “Ultimately, online learning provides fewer obstacles to learning, and allows students to create their own pace while learning what they want, when they want.”
3 Tiers of Online Learning – And Where Lecture Capture Fits In
1.) Distance learning
While distance learning is more commonly seen in higher education, Cilli says it offers opportunities for K-12 schools and colleges alike, including:
- Allowing institutions to increase the number of course offerings without incurring physical building expansion costs.
- Enabling institutions to recruit out-of-state to markets that were not previously available to them.
- Granting institutions the ability to hire the foremost experts in their disciplines, regardless of location.
- Allowing the future possibility of integrating “a la carte courses” into online learning platforms, where students can choose an online course based on the instructor, regardless of the institution.
Dale Gomez, college IT director for FIU, says his institution uses various methods for distance learning and course capture, especially for its international classes.
“The majority of the school’s classrooms are equipped with video conferencing units and course capture appliances,” Gomez says. “The rooms are designed in such a way to give users, specifically faculty, ease of use. By combining user-friendly GUI’s and touch panels, users can seamlessly transition from room to room without undergoing rigorous training. We are currently conducting simultaneous course offering to our program in Tianjin, China. Similarly, we offer asynchronous course capture for the majority of our course sections for after-class access.”
In addition to dressing each classroom with the proper lecture capture setup for distance learning, Gomez says each piece of FIU’s online learning ecosystem was integrated with emergencies in mind.
That way, his team is ahead of the game and ready to continue delivering online learning opportunities in case of a system failure.
“All our classrooms are equipped with course capture capabilities,” he says. “We utilize Crestron’s Capture HD Pro. All rooms are integrated with two such devices to provide redundancy in the event that a unit fails. All recorded files are then uploaded, transcoded and then available to our faculty and students using our streaming media solution. We use the Wowza video streaming engine to supply these on-demand and, in some cases, live streaming of courses.”
For other schools looking to implement distance learning solutions like lecture capture, Gomez says technology that enables ease of use is key.
“It is imperative that the rooms are designed in such a way that faculty can easily capture either scheduled or ad-hoc recordings,” he says. “Having a solution that has a low cost but high yield is key for campus wide deployment. Units are fairly inexpensive and easy to program into existing room control environments.”
Gomez also recommends considering solutions that are scalable; this is why FIU opted for Creston solutions.
“I would recommend a solution that is easily scalable,” he says. “The reasons why we choose Crestron as our course capture solution is as follows:
- The course capture appliance provides a simple, one-box component for capturing lectures.
- It is designed for easy integration into our existing classroom control infrastructure.
- It delivers a low-cost, high-performance HD presentation capture solution.
- It captures in high-quality H.264 format at up to HD 1080p resolution.
- It allows live streaming of HD video and audio over the internet.
- It is easy to use and flexible enough to fit any existing environment.
“At the end of the day, lecture capture enables faculty to better serve students across a variety of study areas and learning styles,” he says. “Lecture capture solutions…are closing the gap and providing opportunities for schools to replicate the in-classroom experience for distance learners while improving classroom instruction for on-campus students.”
Sean Brown, Head of Corporate Sales Strategy for Sonic Foundry, says that video has become one of the most important tracking methods in this decade for lecture capture solutions, and online learning.
The reason why, he says, is “students today, with their mobile devices and broad band access, have grown up consuming significant amounts of information via video. They’ve learned how to ride their hover board, do their math homework, they’ve learned how to apply hairstyles, etc. through both casual learning and formal learning and discovery… they’ve used video constantly.”
As a result, Brown says, students want to see technologies and learning strategies like these bleed over into their educational environments; this is especially true of college students.
“As they enter school and matriculate through school, universities find themselves with a cohort that is video-ready,” Brown says. “Students don’t understand why they can only see the class once, or why they had to be [in class] at an exact, specific time, …or why somebody wouldn’t illustrate an experiment or a historical figure, etc., with video when it’s possible.”
Online learning video solutions should enable faculty members to:
- Record lectures with “room” recorders or “go anywhere” recorders
- Upload, edit, and publish the recorded content
- Capture students’ attention with engaging video players
- Give students the option to choose live or on-demand streaming of recorded lectures