Durham University will record lectures from October

By Clara Gaspar

Durham University has announced its commitment to introducing Lecture Capture technology by October 2018 in order to aid students in their learning.

This technology will provide videos of the lectures which will then be available to students online via duo, driven by a service provider named Panopto.

The potential benefits of this technology were cited on the Durham University website:

  • Providing a study aid for review and revision, particularly on difficult or complex topics
  • Helping to accommodate different learning styles
  • Assisting students for whom English is not their first language
  • Assisting students with particular educational needs

Recordings will be uploaded within two days following the lecture, to allow staff time to review and, if necessary, edit the footage. While lectures are the main focus of the University’s initiative, it will be at the discretion of the teaching staff as to whether they record their seminars or workshops.

As of October, a prioritised selection of rooms will have been equipped with Lecture Capture technology. Although the project is ongoing, and precise details about the order of installation in other builds have not been finalised, new information will regularly be published on the University’s website.

In an FAQ about the introduction of Lecture Capture published by Durham University,  compiled of questions asked in a staff consultation, the implication of this technology on the discussion of sensitive topics was raised: “Might it hinder more contentious or controversial issues being raised or discussed, if staff/students know that things are being recorded?”

However, the University responded that: “The recording can be paused at any time, so that such material can be discussed within a session.

“If you [staff members] are concerned about the content of the whole lecture or lecture course being recorded, you can seek an exemption through discussions with your Head of School/Department.”

The decision to record lectures has come as welcome news to many students. Liberty Rowe, a Liberal Arts student at Durham University stated: “I can’t believe it! Never thought this would happen.”

However, Pierre Davies, a languages student, told Palatinate: “I regularly attend lectures in person, so this technology will not have the greatest effect on my university education. However, I can see how it would be useful for others.”

Sociology student, Megan Dyson, outlined the advantages that a lecture capture system would provide to many students: “When you look at your notes weeks and months after the lecture, they can seem to bear little correlation and resemblance with the content on the lecture slides.

“Having a recording of the lecturer explaining the links would improve the quality of the notes that can be used for revision, and make notes overall more cohesive.”

Lecture Capture is used at many other UK Universities, including Warwick, King’s College London and Loughborough. Cambridge University has piloted the technology but it is not yet institution-wide.

Photograph: Rob Barnard via Flickr

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