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Tips for Teaching with Lecture Capture

Lecture capture is a generic term that commonly refers to the recording of lectures or other lessons/content, using a software like Panopto (SLU’s lecture capture tool). Lectures may be recorded during a live class session, or they may be recorded outside of class, from an instructor’s office or a recording space on campus. They may involve recording the instructor’s movements or just their voice/audio and what’s on the computer screen (e.g., slide show).

In the case of live lecture recordings, instructors often turn the recorder on and let it run for the whole class period. In the case of lectures recorded outside of class, however, instructors have the opportunity to record smaller “chunks” of the lecture – which is consistent with the research on effective practice. Pre-recorded content may be used to replace in-class lecturing (as in the case of the so-called “flipped classroom”) or to supplement in-class instruction (as in the case of targeted concepts for students who may be having trouble understanding the in-class lecture or in order to ensure all students in a course have the same background knowledge).

Lecture capture can support inclusive teaching. Many students benefit from being able to re-watch a lecture, particularly if they can turn on closed captions. For students who are still learning English and students with disabilities, in particular, recorded lecture content can be especially helpful. Consistent with the research, recording lectures, or mini-lectures, can be a powerful tool for learning, if chosen with intention. The tips below provide a starting point for those considering the use of lecture capture. Many are adapted from Zhu & Bergom, 2010. Click below to expand the text.

Considerations for Recording Live Classes: Lecture vs. Discussion Classes

As you consider whether to record what happens in a live class, keep in mind that “lectures” and “discussions” have different pedagogical purposes, and therefore, may not yield the same results if they are recorded.

If you teach a course that is predominantly lecture (even interactive lecture, with students asking questions, engaged in some give and take with you), lecture capture might be a good option for you. If, however, you teach a class that relies heavily on student-to-student discussion and interaction, recording what happens during class could have a dampening effect on students' willingness to contribute openly and honestly. This is particularly true if you teach subjects that result in emotionally or personally charged discussions. In such situations, you might want to use Panopto only for those portions of class that involve the delivery of content.

While there are potentially some privacy considerations when recording student discussions, there are even more significant pedagogical ones, if the fact that the discussion is being recorded serves as an impediment to open, honest exchange of ideas. Instructors should use their best judgment about how best to engage students in lively discussion as a group, while also protecting the identities and ideas of individual students. 

See Lecture Capture FAQs for SLU Faculty for more information.

Best Practices for Using Lecture Capture: Before You Begin
  1. Determine whether or not recording a live class is an appropriate choice for your purposes. This means identifying very clear goals for your lectures and class time and considering the ways in which you want students to use recorded content and how you will use class time.
  2. Determine whether you have time to prepare recordings consistently throughout the entire term. This includes identifying any technology decisions you’ll need to make. Will you record in the live classroom? In your office? What tools will you need? What do you need to learn to do before you can begin?
  3. Attend to relevant copyright or privacy considerations you’ll need to make. If you record lectures with copyright-protected material in them, this will have a bearing on whether your recordings may be posted publicly or not. If you want to record students in class, you will want to consider having them sign a release form (see sample here) if their contributions will be shared beyond the current term. 
  4. Determine whether you’ll want to re-use lectures for later use in other courses. This will help you decide how much/what to record, as well as whether or not you need to use student release forms.
  5. Determine what format you want to make the files available in for students (streaming? downloadable?). See Lecture Capture FAQs for SLU Faculty for additional information.
Best Practices for Using Lecture Capture: Once You Decide to Record a Lecture
  1. Make time to experiment with recording quality. Poor sound quality can make a recording unusable. 
  2. Make recordings available as soon as possible after a lecture, as well as right before an exam. If possible, annotate the recording to add emphasis and focus.
  3. If you require students to listen to recordings before class time, provide them with content-related questions or other learning activities (such as applied problem solving, etc.). It can be very effective to assign tasks (e.g., activities based on the recorded lectures) to be handed in during class, which will count in students' grades. Also consider breaking up the content into smaller “chunks,” as students are more likely to engage with the recordings.
  4. If you require students to listen to recordings before class, use the class time for problem solving, interactive activities, and other student-centered processes. Do not simply repeat content from the recorded lecture.
  5. Provide detailed instructions for accessing and playing lectures at the beginning of the course, and make recordings accessible during the class, so students can make notes.
  6. Evaluate the use and effectiveness of lecture capture during and/or at the end of your course.