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.
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.
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.
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