Aview - Video Conferencing Tool

Lecture Capture at AUS 2 May 2013

Dr. Hasan Al Nashash, Professor, Electrical and Biomedical Engineering, American University of Sharjah, U.A.E., led the weekly discussion on May 2nd 2013 with his talk “Lecture Capture at AUS”.

Lecture Capture

Educause describes lecture capture as an “umbrella term describing any technology that allows instructors to record what happens in their classrooms and make it available digitally” (2008, n.p.) for the students to view after the class.


Lecture capture has its own pros and cons. Some of the pros of lecture capture are

  • Fostering student engagement
  • Appealing to students’ interests
  • offering multiple opportunities to access content
  • providing opportunities for learners to learn at their own pace


Lecture capture has the following limitations:

  • Students may not attend classes as they can rely on captured lectures
  • Professors have to put in extra work in order to capture the lectures
  • Extra resources need to be available at the university in order to capture lectures

Early days

Prof. Nashash has been capturing lectures since 2009. During the early days, he used a technique wherein a technician would follow the lecturer using a video camera. However, the video quality in such cases was not satisfactory. Students cannot really follow what was written on the board.

At the end of each lecture, the IT technician burned a copy of the recorded lecture on DVDs and passed them over to the instructor

The lecture material was then edited and compressed using available software such as MS Movie Maker. Each lecture required up to two hours of editing. After compression, a 75 minute lecture would be compressed down to 400MB of data.

Due to the huge size of the recorded data, the instructor had to pass the edited lecture data to the library to save it on a special sever for video streaming purposes.

The library then informed the instructor of the data link to be used in the course website.

The instructor added the link of the lecture video streaming to the course website on Ilearn and informed the students of its availability.

Problems with Early days’ method

  • Learning curve which resulted in poor sound recording of the first few lectures.
  • Poor lighting quality of the lecture hall as depicted in Figure 1.
  • Instability of camera while tracking the instructor.
  • No zoom function to enhance visibility of what was written on the board.
  • The length of time needed for editing videos.
  • Long delay from class lecture to videos being available for viewing by students.
  • Lack of venue flexibility since the technology needed was only available in the auditorium.

E-Beam Technology

With the new e-beam method of recording lectures, they managed to reduce the lecture availability time from two days down to two hours. The quality of the video was superior because the room ambient light level was irrelevant in this case.

The amount of data storage was also reduced by a factor of ten. Also since the system is highly mobile, it can be moved to any classroom for optimal usage.

The main disadvantage of this system was the inability of this system to video record the instructor while lecturing. This is a disadvantage because it deprives the student from learning from the body language of the instructor.

Research Results

Quite a lot of research was conducted on the effectiveness of lecture capture. The following results were obtained.

  • 73% students strongly feel the lecture videos were helpful for understanding the course material.
  • 53% students strongly agree that the lecture videos help raising grades.
  • 26% students strogly disagree that the availability of lecture videos push them to skip classes.

Student comments

“This lecture video is very helpful because it will help you understand and see and visualize the lecture. It will not prompt me to skip, because you watch it again to get the things you missed during the class due to daydreaming or so. In addition, it helps you to organize.”

“This technology was very helpful when there was reasons I needed to skip the class for (strong reasons) but I did not watch the videos otherwise. And it did not prompt me to skip classes because I care about attendance and attending the class is still better.”

“The video lectures have definitely helped me a lot. I had missed out on a few critical lectures and was having a really hard time in understanding the concepts and analytical tools in the text. But because of the lectures posted online, I was able to understand; additionally, when I went back to the book AFTER listening to the lectures, I was able to grasp that information too. So the lectures helped me greatly.”