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Lecture Capture follow-up: Taking Tegrity for a test run

by Kelly Walsh on April 11, 2010

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We took our free trial Tegrity account out for a ‘test drive’ the other day. We like it.

This is a follow up post to the series I ran here in February and March, in which I learned about some of today’s Lecture Capture systems, and selected a product to test. My goal was to find a proven tool that allowed for easy and affordable testing, and that could scale up easily and cost effectively.

In the last post in the series, I narrowed the choices down to Panopto and Tegrity, and ultimately selected Tegrity for a number of reasons, including the fact that they made trial use so accessible and straightforward. 

This week we took Tegrity out for a spin. Our intention was to test it by capturing a Finance Club meeting (often given in a lecture-like format) being held here at the college.

 

 

Preparing to Record
Setting up the PC and making sure it was ready to record was easy. I logged on to the test account provided by Tegrity, and clicked the “Record a Class” button. Since it was the first time doing this, the Recording application had to be installed, which only took a few clicks, and I was ready to go. I performed a quick test capture using the webcam built into my laptop.

For recording in the classroom, I wanted a portable webcam, so I could install and run the recording app from the instructor PC in the classroom. We purchased and tested a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000, which worked great. This camera is a nice quality, simple USB camera that’s plug-and-play under Windows Vista (around $75 from Amazon at the moment I write this). 

We went up to the classroom where the meeting was going to be held ahead of time to set up the camera, install the recording app on the PC we were going to use, and try it out. Everything worked fine. We decided to stop with our initial short test capture, and run it through the upload and processing routine, to see how that worked and look at the results. Assuming all went well, we would come back to a future meeting and capture the whole thing.

The Results
I was really happy with the way this process works, and the results. This is some pretty sweet technology.

Our very short captured lecture content (around 3 minutes) took maybe 5 minutes to upload to Tegrity and get “processed”. Processing includes the automated sectioning of the content into ‘chapters’, indexing, etc. I assume a full length lectures would take a good deal longer to process and be ready for playback. 

I created a brief video to show some of the features of the application. Note that much of this video is me speaking over screen shots and pointing out functional aspects – for a taste of using Tegrity as an end user, check out their showcase page here. (Also note that the resolution of the screens as they display in the Tegrity client is much better quality than the resolution captured in my video).

Here’s a little more on some of the functionality offered through the application (some of which is illustrated in the video above):

  • Lectures are broken into sections (called “Chapters”) to make them easier to search through and use.
  • While the content is playing, the user can easily make any of the windows (the video of lecturer or capture of the projected image) full screen. This is how you get the best quality playback on the screen content – you can really see it in pretty good detail when you make it full screen (the demonstrative video I’ve made above doesn’t reflect the true quality of the playback from with Tegrity).
  • Another nice feature is the ability to search for specific content in the course. Any text that was on the screen for 20 seconds or so is indexed for searching, so if you search in the Tegrity Search box (located towards the upper right hand section of the screen) for an indexed word or phrase, it will return links to any matching lecture sections, which you can then click on to jump to.
  • The instructor can also tag sections of the course with “Bookmarks”, which display in the window in the lower left hand corner, and let the students click on them to jump to those sections of the video. Students can also add their own private bookmarks that only they will see.  
  • You can also associate web links and uploaded files to the course which students can easily find and click on to go to those web pages or download those files.
  • Instructors have a variety of editing capabilities, allowing them to to do things such as clip video sections, add their own keywords, add closed captioning, and more.
  • This is a hosted application – create content on any end user computer and then upload and host it on Tegrity’s site. Ease of use and cost containment are a wonderful benefit of the SaaS delivery model done well, and Tegrity appears to deliver them both.

Conclusion
Tegrity seems to be a very worthy product, and I look forward to capturing a full length course, learning more about it, and demonstrating this functionality to our faculty.

Next Week
The video shown here was made using Camtasia. Next week, I’ll probably blog about my experiences using Camtasia for the first time. As readers may recall, a few months back I did a series on Screencasting tools, and ultimately determined that free tools like Windows Movie Maker and Jing just did not have the horsepower to allow for efficient production of training videos (due to editing limitations). Camtasia costs a few hundred bucks, and provides wonderful capture, editing, and packaging capabilities … more on that next week.

Related posts (if the above topic is of interest, you may want to check these out):
Learning about Lecture Capture Technology
Learning about Lecture Capture – Part 2 (features and functions)
Lecture Capture Part 3: Looking for scalable entry-level options
Lecture Capture – selecting a trial approach

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Class Workshop in a Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin Harmon June 15, 2012 at 10:53 pm

We use Tegrity at The Medical University of South Carolina. Faculty and Students love it.

KH

K. Walsh May 28, 2011 at 6:24 am

Hi David –

Thanks for these insightful questions. As it turns out, we did not get very far with the trial of Tegrity that I discussed in this blog post last year, for reasons that had nothing to do with the technology itself (other priorities pushed this pilot effort to the back burner). You would probably do best to direct these questions to the folks at Tegrity (and/or to search out a user forum with experienced Tegrity users). I think there are good solutions out there for the questions you pose.

David Aldrich May 25, 2011 at 9:43 am

Another question I have is how will an instructor teaching in a large lecture hall (200 – 500 seats) get the sound from their wireless microphone into the computer being used to record the lecture? An instructor’s mic is transmitting to a receiver usually located in an equipment closet or projection booth that could be hundreds of feet away. That receiver is connected to a PA system so students can here what is being said. So how does that instructor connect their laptop to that feed, or is this really just a solution for small rooms and offices where an instructor lectures from a static location?

David Aldrich May 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm

We will soon be evaluating this product. We’ve been told that we can run tegrity on our podium-installed computers. I am wondering how that might actually work in the real world. If you lecture for a 50 minute class and then stop recording at the close of class, you would have to logout of the computer so the next instructor can logon to access their Windows profile. What happens to the recording? You said your 3 minute video took 5 minutes to upload and process; what would happen if you had immediately logged out once you hit the stop recording button?

J Finch January 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I work with tegrity every day and it’s a flaming turd. It’s without a doubt the most buggy miserable pain inducing program I’ve ever dealt with and I have over 20 years experience with IT and video. Something as simple as making a start stop time for the recording is impossible. The Tegrity scheduler is a nightmare to work with. Editing the files is a miserable experience that reminds me of the early days of dial up internet connections. If you enjoy pain by all means have at it.

Tim April 28, 2010 at 7:25 am

[Hey Tim - I'm posting your comment, but feel obligated to point out to readers that you work for a competitive solution provider. Thanks. - KW]

I don’t want to be a negative on your Tegrity trial. However, I would HIGHLY suggest getting at least THREE positive references from happy Tegrity customers. The Tegity hosted trial runs well, until you purchase and use it in your environment. Just a suggestion.

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