Technology Enabled Learning: AIP Transforms Classroom Dynamics Using Lecture Capture
February 25, 2013 | Assam, India

“I am an amateur guitarist, have a passion to learn the instrument but lack formal training. I usually learn by watching clips on YouTube. That way I can listen to the tune repeatedly and pick up fast. The AIP and AAU’s thoughtful initiative of publishing classroom lectures using lecture capture technology on YouTube has proved very beneficial like my guitar lessons. We can now repeatedly go through all that are discussed in the class and clear our doubts, and at the same time be more focused,” says Nibir Pratim Choudhury, a student at Assam Agricultural University (AAU).

“Since childhood I had difficulty in taking down notes. I have always preferred listening to the lecture in the classroom, recollecting the important points later and making notes. I learn better that way. However, each time I would just listen in the classroom and later take down notes after classes, I would invariably end up forgetting something crucial. Over the years I have developed a fear of overlooking/forgetting vital information each time I take down notes,” says Priyanka Das, Nibir’s classmate at AAU.

Fortunately, for Priyanka, Pukhrambam Helena Chanu, Rakesh P. S., Nitumoni Mahanta and many others like them, the Assam Agricultural University, under the aegis of the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP), has recently adopted the lecture capture technology to record classroom sessions. AIP, in partnership with select agricultural universities in India and the US is trying to modernize the Indian agricultural curriculum, teaching methods, and extension services. These initiatives will empower the students to be more responsive to evolving market demands.

Lecture capture technology involves recording classroom lectures/activities/ special events using certain software and making these recordings available electronically. The students use these recordings later for revisions. This new approach has provided students like Priyanka with the opportunity to focus on the classroom lectures and not worry about taking notes. Lecture capture enables instructors to create audio/video recordings of classroom lectures or presentations. With the available tools, the faculty members can record their presentations (both audio and video), which include materials that get projected onto the classroom’s screen.

Research says that an average speaker (in this case, a faculty member) articulates around 120 words per minute, while an average student can write just about 20-25 words. A considerable number of students, therefore, have trouble taking down notes while listening to lectures. There are different kinds of learners with individual learning styles and it is difficult for the teacher/instructor to adopt several different teaching/learning approaches at the same time to cater to the needs of a large, heterogeneous group of students. Since most students prefer taking notes to learn/remember better, there is a huge gap to be addressed here, to ensure effective student learning. One of the possible solutions to the issue is to adapt technology to cater to the needs of a group of heterogeneous learners. This is where the lecture capture technology comes in.

Priyanka has obviously benefitted from the technology adopted by the authorities. “As soon as I got to know that they were capturing classroom lectures, I knew right then that many of us would gain from the initiative. Today, several of our classrooms have adopted the technology and we are benefitting immensely from it. I, for example, do not need to worry about taking perfect notes. I believe that I will learn better now and overcome my fear of forgetting crucial points. I wish we had this technology earlier.”

At Assam Agricultural University (AAU), the lecture capture technology will continue to augment the availability of online/offline content for students. It will also enable instructors to share course materials with students online, create recorded lectures for courses as homework and utilize classroom time on debates, dialogues and learning that is more active. Prof. Jyoti Gogoi, who has been instrumental in setting-up several lecture capture facilities at AAU, said, “quite a few challenges lie in front of us and the one that I can perceive right now is that as educators we will have to master ways of making efficient use of the tools to ensure best student learning experiences. We are working very closely with the Agricultural Innovation Partnership project to administer the lecture capture technology effectively. We are new to the technology and are one of the pioneers in using the technology in India.

The technology allows the faculty to video record the lectures and then store, and index them for quick access by students. Prof Gogoi now records lectures digitally and streams them live over the internet with minimal effort. In the future, the University faculty plan to introduce lecture capture systems (LCS) to enhance the system’s ability to slice and dice archived recordings into more handy, ready-to-use segments.

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