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News Clips 04/17/2013
Lecture-capture software enables distance learning
Source: FSView, 03/31/13
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By Blair Stokes
Working closely with explosives while deployed in Iraq affected the way United States Marine Corps veteran Quyet Dang hears, and thus, the way he learns. Dang, secretary of the Collegiate Veterans Association and a criminal justice major at Florida State, experiences tinnitus, ringing in the ears, which can make understanding lectures difficult, leaving him two adverse options: either miss important information or ask professors to repeat themselves multiple times. But new software has provided Dang a better option.
Tegrity is cloud-based lecture capture software which allows Dang, his fellow veterans, disabled students, traveling athletes, distance learners and the general student population to playback and pause recorded lectures anywhere, anytime, on virtually any device as often as needed.
It offers students the opportunity to review lectures on their own time at their own pace, allowing students an alternative, personalized means of engaging with the material and navigating the course. Dang previously used this lecture capture in his Crimes Against Humanity class and said he appreciated that he could tailor Tegrity to accommodate his individual needs.
“The nice part about Tegrity was that it allowed you to specifically listen to any section of the lecture and retake notes,” Dang said. “Tegrity is simply an awesome way to archive class lectures for any student who needs to review a certain lesson that they’ve missed or need more review on.”
Students using the Tegrity program can easily review synchronized audio recordings and PowerPoint slides from their instructor by accessing the Tegrity application available via their Blackboard account. Once posted, the lectures can be downloaded as podcasts ,transferrable to any mobile device, particularly smartphones and tablets.
Genetics professor Dr. Hank Bass currently uses Tegrity in his classroom and is impressed with the software, highlighting its functionality.
“I would absolutely recommend it for anyone who wants to maximize their teaching effectiveness,” Bass said. “It is easy to use, stores on the cloud, plays from the cloud, and can be viewed by registered students using any browser, smartphone, or other web-connected device, including podcast type downloads.”
This technology has been in use at FSU for about 18 months now, but has yet to see university-wide implementation in classrooms. Ken Johnson, director of University Technology Administration said Tegrity has thus far been used as part of a pilot program after determining the software would be beneficial to FSU. He went on to say that in the near future, Information Technology Services (ITS) will issue an official campus-wide announcement in time for professors to familiarize themselves with the technology over the summer and be ready to incorporate it in classes next fall semester.
Currently, only a select few courses have integrated this software, although it is available on all instructor computers on campus and can be used with any course, at the instructor’s discretion. The College of Business initially purchased this software, pioneering Tegrity’s use at FSU, and many of the college’s courses feature a Tegrity supplement as a result.
Joanna Southerland, director of Academic Technology for the College of Business, is working to promulgate this technology to other departments and speed up the timeline to increase campus participation in Tegrity. Further, she wants create awareness among students and faculty who may not know this option is actually already available to them. Southerland currently assists other departments with implementation and expedites the process of posting Tegrity lectures.
Students already using Tegrity praise it while also asking other faculty to start using the software. Southerland called on students to directly ask their instructors and faculty to use this technology if students want to see lecture capture used in their classrooms, to prove that there is strong student demand behind this.
In addition to students who want this software, there are also students who require it. Using Tegrity has highly positive for implications specifically for students with disabilities and veterans.
Tegrity assuages some of the educational hardships veterans may be coping with. Some veterans are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition which can greatly interfere with a veteran’s attendance and learning.
“The military teaches you to learn under pressure, which makes learning in the conventional classroom dull sometimes, making it hard to focus,” Dang said.
But lecture capture simplifies catching up and reviewing if necessary. And with Tegrity, Dang can study outside the traditional classroom in favor of a more comfortable setting.
For disabled students, this technology “levels the playing field” said Patti Lester, assistant lab technology coordinator for the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC).
Lester said that Tegrity improves note taking options for those with disabilities.
“Tegrity is useful for students with disabilities who can’t take notes and attend simultaneously, such as students who have ADHD or students who are deaf and have to attend with an interpreter or students who are blind who can’t write to take their own notes,” Lester said. “Tegrity has a really useful solution for this segment of the population, but it really benefits everybody.”
But for all its benefits, there is still some skepticism toward lecture capture. It stems from the idea that lecture capture will decrease class attendance. Southerland dispelled this notion, stressing that Tegrity is not a replacement for attending lectures. The software is intended supplement to in-class learning and to aid students in retention.
“If you’re on campus, you still have office hours with a faculty member,” Southerland said. “None of that goes away. This is just a way to enhance your learning opportunities. We’re not telling anybody it’s going to replace them. We just want to give students another opportunity because we know students learn in different ways, and we want to make all those ways available.”
Tegrity is not meant to discourage classroom attendance, and Southerland said that in many cases, lecture attendance does not fall. Lester added that professors could offer pop quizzes or other attendance and participation incentives if falling attendance became an issue.
Bass attested to this, and said lecture capture has not replaced “the lecture or the lecturer,” and a majority of students, 180 out of 250, still attend his lectures despite his posting the recordings on Blackboard via Tegrity.
Grasping all the concepts in classes dealing with complex, technical subject matter, like STEM classes, can prove difficult, but this technology allows students to replay confusing parts of lectures as many times as they need to understand.
Tanzim Mridha, a biology major currently taking Bass’ genetics class, uses Tegrity as a study aid in addition to going to class. Mridha said Tegrity is a convenient resource that simplifies review and reinforcement. Two of Mridha’s five classes currently use Tegrity, but he wants more.
“I hope that Tegrity gets used more and that it’s implemented in a lot more classes,” Mridha said. “I wish it was used in every single class, because if it was, it would be so much easier to study.”