After mentioning the Apreso, automatic lecture capturing software, in the LTD team meeting yesterday I coincidentally opened an email from one of their representatives. It contained links to a couple of example lectures captured with this software.
Calculus at UMass:
Economics at Temple: http://content.apreso.com/apresos/ClassroomDemo/16181_FOXSP212_2005-01-26_02-40-PM.htm
* These links are best viewed in Windows Internet Explorer with Flash. This is because these customers chose to capture using Windows Media for video. Apreso also support cross-platform video options, such as Flash video.
"These lectures were captured without the faculty having to do anything. The capture started and stopped automatically, everything was digitized, compressed and synchronized, and the navigation thumbnails were all done automatically by the system. Then Apreso posted a URL to the customer’s learning management portal. No camera operators or media specialists needed to be involved. The content was ready for student viewing maybe 15-20 minutes after the lecture took place (basically, the time it took to send the content to the learning management system).”
From my point of view, the significant feature of Aspreso Podcast is the automation - the fact that the physical process/s required to provide lectures online is totally removed from the lecturer. Podcasting itself is not necessarily a complicated idea or process but it does require a level of commitment and consistency which is not always attainable.
If there is a demand for this type of resource, in principal this type of solution (one which takes away all the technological obstacles for tutors) is ideal. However, I don't think that Apreso is a system which we could buy into on a small scale for the purposes of a pilot. Maybe there are others? I'm not sure.
So, because of the level of investment required we would need first to seriously investigate the use of the resource from both academic and student viewpoints. Do lecturers want their students to listen again to every word that was said? Will students value this resource?
Additionally, whilst recording and podcasting lectures may be a straight forward way of incorporating audio resources into a course we also need to further investigate alternative uses for podcasting. I don't know if Apreso can do anything other than automatic lecture capturing? What about pre or post lecture material?
Personally I don’t think that this is going to be the best system for us – as least to start with. But I do think that podcasting itself is worth investigating further.
Some interesting ‘Podcasting ideas for use (and why)’ from Bristol University ILRT: http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/eds/documents/podcasting_ideas.pdf
Although I did not attend any sessions at the Alt-C conference specifically concerned with Podcasting, some of the concerns and affordances of which were discussed centered on the following:
Two points which stuck with me were:
Student Engagement: As a result of audio lectures, rather than intense content recording, students were able to fully engage with the information through noting times of key points.
Academic Resistance: Some lecturers had concerns about being recorded. What if I say something I wish I hadn’t? My flippant comments now available for review!
Further piloting is in my mind the next step. Perhaps automation is the way forward if such pilots prove successful enough to warrant expansion.