CONWAY, Ark. (November 7, 2013) – Hendrix
faculty members now have an inexpensive and easy way to record class content
“Lecture capture,” as it’s called, is
not new technology per se. But an affordable solution was elusive until Google
Hangouts was introduced, according to Hendrix Chief Information Officer David
“Google Hangouts on Air provides a
simple, straightforward way to record and broadcast high-definition classroom
content,” Hinson said. “It also allows us to affordably support anyone and
everyone wishing to use lecture capture on campus.”
Hendrix biology professor Dr. Rick
Murray piloted a commercial lecture capture software package for his genetics
course, a sophomore-level biology course, a couple of years ago. At that time,
the majority of students didn’t take advantage of it, but a handful of students
thought it was great, Murray said.
While the third-party commercial software
was too expensive to justify its purchase, using Google Hangouts and YouTube is
And it’s relatively easy to operate,
“I just push a button at the beginning
of class to record the lecture and record what students see on the Smartboard,”
he explained. “At the end of class, there’s a video file for students to go
back to … I think there’s real value there.”
“For courses with tough concepts and
unfamiliar terminology, revisiting lectures can help solve problems for
students,” he added. “It’s quite a good resource for them.”
Murray had to modify his teaching a
bit and learn to use the Smartboard to do his chalkboard work. He also had to
overcome some minor stage fright.
“I think it was mostly psychological
because I had some personal reluctance,” he said. “It’s unnerving to have what
you say recorded.”
Using lecture capture shouldn’t be
seen as the first step toward exclusively online courses either, Murray said.
“I don’t think it’s leading to a MOOC
[massive open online course] because I don’t think lecture is the same as a
presentation,” he said. “Lecture is a very dynamic thing based on student
The videos would be useless to
another class unless they are in on the context of the lecture and student
questions. Not that the videos are available to the rest of the world. The
lecture videos are unlisted. Using Moodle (the College’s learning management
system), Murray can make the private links available to his students only.
So far, students don’t seem to view
lecture capture as an opportunity to miss class, Murray said.
“I don’t see a decrease in attendance,”
he said, adding that the videos can be helpful if a student has to miss a class
for an athletic or other activity.
Through YouTube, Murray can check the
number of views each lecture has to know how many students are taking advantage
of the technology. About a third of his students check them out, he said.
“It’s not a replacement. It’s a
backup,” he added. “The ‘capture’ aspect only makes sense for someone with
Lecture capture technology can also
be used in addition to classroom material. For example, Murray has used it to
record a seminar on campus given by a Hendrix graduate working at the National Institutes
“I don’t need technology to teach
effectively. It’s not necessary to the actual enterprise of teaching. But it’s
a positive experience overall and a wonderful resource with a subset of
students and for outside guest speakers,” he said. “I think technology should
be a natural extension of pedagogy. I use it because I think my students can
benefit further from it.”
“Is it the best way for student to
learn? Not necessarily,” he said. “But if it enhances the teaching of a course,
by all means, use it.”
in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and
sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of
the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.
Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will
Change the Way You Think about Colleges,
as well as the
2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378
Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges.
Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For
more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.