Preparing for distance learning: a quick guide to lecture capture devices for universities
The UK government has challenged universities to deliver high quality online learning resources for under-graduates studying remotely.
With limited time available to specify, install, integrate technology and train staff, there is pressure to select equipment that balances functionality with ease of use.
From Lecture Hall to eLearning Facility
Lecture theatres equipped with cameras (usually remotely controlled PTZ pan tilt zoom units) and a microphone system can be adapted quickly for distance learning. The goal with lecture capture hardware is not just to record and stream the teacher at the lectern. The objective is to give remote students the same kind of experience as being in the theatre in person.
To achieve that, devices such as the Epiphan Pearl Mini and Lumens LC200 use simple video effects to blend the video from the camera with the lecturer’s presentation. By giving the teacher control, the at-home student will watch something more akin to television than a simple camera feed.
A single capture unit can create these results plus embed the audio either from the laptop or the lecture room microphones. They are designed to be exceptionally easy to use, usually by the lecturers themselves, either via a touchscreen interface or simple buttons.
From Lecture Theatre to the Student’s laptop
The live production of the lecture is routed to the university’s LMS (learning management system) to be made available to students via Katura, Panopto, Mediasite or OpenCast. Alternatively, you can go direct to students via YouTube Live and integrate the video into Moodle.