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5 innovative ways to use lecture capture technology

Supplemental lessons, solution examples help students and staff at Seattle Pacific increase efficiency and engagement.
University Business, November 2012

As lecture capture has become more widespread, users have learned how to expand the capabilities and uses of these systems. Simply recording a full lecture live and posting it online isn’t necessarily the most effective way for students to learn, and not the most effective way to get the most out of your lecture capture investment. In fact, the term ‘lecture capture’ is misleading, as this technology can be used for much more than just capturing lectures. This web seminar focused on five innovative ways to use this technology that are employed at Seattle Pacific University.

David Wicks
Assistant Professor and Director of Instructional Technology
Seattle Pacific University

I like to think of lecture capture as more like content capture, because we don’t just capture lectures. The five areas we have expanded into at Seattle Pacific include:

  • Using Camtasia Relay in blended learning.
  • Providing supplemental resources to lectures.
  • Conducting faculty training.
  • Resolving absences by students and faculty.
  • Improving professor and student time management.

We chose Camtasia Relay for its ease of use, the fact that every professor can use it and all students can access it, and how easy it is to implement. Once we train professors how to use it they can immediately begin being productive. The technology is very accessible. Professors need only their own computer, which can be either a Mac or PC, the software and a high speed Internet connection to upload it to the server for video conversion. Multiple file types can be created depending and deployed to different applications - like your LMS - or channels like YouTube. Our workflow is a simple five-step process. Professors don’t record hours worth of lectures, but they take the topics - or concepts - one at a time and record them.

  1. Open up the document or application to record, such as a PowerPoint or spreadsheet.
  2. Log into Camtasia Relay to check the audio, choose your webcam or screen capture, select a pre-set profile for file type and add a title and description.
  3. Record.
  4. Preview the recording, trim the clip if necessary and submit it to the server. A message is sent to the content creator when the recording is ready.
  5. The final step is to deploy the final file. For example, go into Blackboard, paste in the URL, enter the title and description.

The process is very repeatable and very reliable. We have very few technical support areas. And you’ve created content that can be used over and over again by the same students or by new students, used in another class or shared opening on video channels.

Baine Craft
Director of Research, Associate Professor of Psychology and Biology
Seattle Pacific University

Camtasia has changed the way I teach. I can’t think of any other technology that has had this impact. I developed two online classes for our Psychology department: Intro to Statistics and General Psychology. One of our signatures is that we are a small liberal arts university; relationships are very important to us. So I wanted to maintain that relationship, keeping the voice and personality of the faculty member on recordings. I also wanted to create lectures that are interactive, engaging and memorable, so students know there is actually a person that they can be involved and engaged with.

For the courses I developed, I used screen captured mini-modules, of 20-minute segments. I screen captured examples that I could walk students through - rather than just having them read it. Camtasia Relay supports annotations if you have the necessary software and hardware, so I was able to annotate my screen captures as well to draw specific attention to elements of the screen as I was talking about them. 

Student responses were very positive: Visual learners were significantly helped, others who need more one-to-one learning felt like they were getting personalized help,and some students said they felt like they were at a live lecture. This is especially important with online learning. Key goals I’ve achieved with Camtasia are:

  • Providing students with additional information or examples outside of class
  • Using my time and students’ time more efficiently. Many students have the same questions on class material. Rather than write 15 emails back responding to student questions, I can screen capture a quick minilecture or example of the problem and provide to those students.
Geri Mason
Assistant Professor of Economics
Seattle Pacific University

The blended classroom replaces some of the face-to-face portion of your course with online resources, which you redesign for use outside of the classroom. These could be online collaboration, online learning or online assignments, and generally account for 30 percent of the total course.

This model creates flexibility for students’ schedules and supports a larger variety of learning styles. The goals for the blended classroom are:

  • Set clear standards for class preparation
  • Communicate in a medium students can relate to
  • Increase efficiencies for both students and teaching staff

I have taught two classes using a blended approach: Principles of Macro-Economics, a general intro course, and Intermediate Macro-Economics, which is more advanced. Although I initially intended just to use Camtasia Relay as a lecture capture tool, my use quickly expanded to increase efficiency for both the students and the instructor.

For student efficiency, using Camtasia Relay to practice problems works well in both the classroom setting and online. Additionally, it was very useful for quiz review. Many students have questions about quiz results. With Camtasia Relay, you can put the quiz on your screen and record as you walk through the quiz and point out common mistakes. For professor efficiency, my favorite use is to screen capture instructions of how to use an additional program.

In Principles of Economics, I asked students to use an online learning lab. This required some initial set up and I was able to capture instructions and show them how to do it. And I provide it to everyone instead of answering many individual questions on the same thing. In a blended class, where there is reduced class time, a student may feel embarrassed about asking the same question over and over. With the solution videos online, one student responded that he watched it 12 times and finally got it. Some tips and tricks:

  • Avoid funny pauses - they don’t come off as well on a recording as they do in person.
  • Imperfection is OK. You can just talk through what is on the screen.
  • Keep captures to 10-15 minutes, roughly one concept at a time.
  • Anonymity is important because the student can review as many times as they need to without doing it in front of their peers.

To view this web seminar in its entirety, visit