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Learning about Lecture Capture Technology


The use of Lecture Capture is expanding in both Higher Ed and K-12. What kinds of tools and technologies are being used to capture and rebroadcast lecture content?

One of the main reasons that I blog is to learn - picking a technology from the expanding array of those being used in education today, researching it, and sharing my findings here. I've been wanting to learn more about Lecture Capture and the technology that enables it for some time now, so off we go.

If you want to learn about something (and you're a tech geek like me), “Google” it. A Google search for the phrase “lecture capture” returned Educause's, “7 things you should know about … Lecture Capture” article as one of the top results. I'm not particularly surprised by this, as Educause has produced many of these wonderful 2 page overviews of Ed Tech topics. I highly recommend giving this article a read through for a nice overall picture of what lecture capture is, a little about how it works, concerns and issues to be aware of, and more.

We're going to focus on the technology in this post.

Lecture capture tools and systems can scale up or down to meet your needs
Because lecture capture can incorporate different elements of the lecture process, lecture capture can be performed in various degrees, using a wide variety of tools. Some efforts at lecture capture consist of just an audio stream, perhaps coupled with PowerPoint slides or other electronic documents. These can be made available as podcasts, coupled with the associated files. In fact, many schools use some form of this type of approach today.

On the higher end of the spectrum are robust systems that help to facilitate and automate the entire lecture capture and delivery process. A growing number of higher education institutions have made significant investments in these types of systems (along with many K-12 schools, businesses, healthcare organizations, government, etc.).

Thanks to the many ways in which lecture capture can be approached, one can experiment with the process on a small scale, knowing that larger systems are available to move on to if an organization wishes to.

Starting with a look a some full-featured lecture capture systems
I've decided to first get a sense of what a complete lecture capture package consists of, and then consider less costly alternatives (having become aware of the various elements one might wish to try and provide in a more scaled down approach).

Following are a few of the large scale systems available in today's marketplace, and a snippet or two of information about them. This listing is intended as a jumping-off point. I will be posting more about some of these tools, and others, next week when I look more closely at features and functionality. For more detailed information in the meanwhile, visit the vendor's product web sites (provided), or check out the articles provided below.

Sonic Foundry's/Mediasite: According to a June, 2009 article from Campus Technology, Sonic Foundry (at that time) held 40+ percent of the lecture capture market if you include business, education, gov't, and health care. Obviously a player and product to be aware of in this market.

Panopto/CourseCast: Panopto claims great flexibity, no need for proprietary hardware, and low total cost of ownership among the benefits of their CourseCast product. One very interesting angle is their Socrates program in which they offer CourseCast for free to Academic institutions in exchange for participation in their beta and development programs, and agreement to provide use-case studies for potential marketing purposes.

Elluminate/Learning Suite: I've participated in web events using Elluminate, but I have to confess, I was not aware that they offer lecture capture and related functionality. Elluminate's different types of tools and functionality, their solution hosting capabilities, and their flat-fee open access pricing all seem to position them somewhat uniquely.

Echo360/EchoSystem: Echo360 (formerly ‘Anystream') appears to be focused purely on lecture capture and delivery, selling only the EchoSystem product. This overview page gives a nice visual of the functionality of their system. I also noticed that they own the domain “lecturecapture.com“, where they host an interactive lecture capture community.

DyKnow/Vision: DyKnow couples their Vision Interactive Education System with their Monitor Classroom Management Software to provide a integrated tool set for lecture capture and delivery and tight control over student use of computers in the classroom.

This brief list is really just a sampling of some of the popular products in the category. There's still a lot more to learn as we delve into features and functions of these and other lecture capture applications next week.

More in-depth articles on lecture capture
If you want to learn a little more and can't wait until next week's post, I found these articles to be very informative (in addition to Educause's “7 things about …” article cited above):

Next: A closer look at features and functions
For next week's post, we'll take a deeper dive into some of the features of these tools. After that, we'll consider how to approach this in a start-up mode (for those of us wanting to just get our feet wet, and those of us with a smaller budget than some of the schools who use the high end tools).

In closing, let me again reach out to readers to seek your feedback, questions, or observations. If you have experience with any of these types of tools and wish to share something with us, please comment and do so. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask, and I'll see if I can't provide some useful feedback. Thanks!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
A Dozen Great Free Online Video Lecture Sites
New Web Site WatchKnow.org (1000’s of Free Educational Videos)

TeacherTube, and other YouTube alternatives for instructional use


  1. […] 6. Lecture Capture – This technology has tremendous potential. One of ways in which lecture capture can change the nature of teaching is by enabling teachers to “flip the classroom”. Students can consume lecture content outside of the classroom and use valuable in-class time to reinforce the material covered in the lecture and make sure students are understanding the new content. For more on this topic, read the article, “Learning about Lecture Capture Technology”. […]

  2. Need an affordable Video on Demand solution for online and distance students, regardless of the brand of your video conferencing equipment? How about adding the ability to host video content created on laptop and desktop computers with webcams? The challenges of Lecture Capture and Video on Demand don’t have to be so challenging, or taxing on your budget. Check out http://www.visuafusion.com to learn how you can implement a simple, effective solution at your college or school today.

  3. A funded community source project regarding full course capture and distribution has been underway for about two years (funding and coding development stated in January. This will be the wave of the future in higher ed/k-12 capture systems. Check it out http://opencastproject.org.

  4. What a great endeavor! Another lecture capture technology to note is ePresence Capture, a spin-out from the University of Toronto that offers flexibility in 3 options: a hardware-based solution, a desktop software application, and/or a lightweight web app for remote speakers. If you wanted to research it further, you can browse our website or feel free to contact me!


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