University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

New technology to video record lectures at Sussex

The Badger

ByThe Badger

Oct 11, 2010

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The University of Sussex has received a new innovation in lecture recording. The software company behind the programme, based in Virginia, USA, has  awarded the university $10,000, around £6000, to explore the technology.

Over the last year, Sussex has been trialling the new recording system, called Echo 360, to assess how it affects student learning.

So far, 10 lecture theatres have been equipped with Echo 360, including those in the Chichester, Arts, Fulton, Shawcross and Pevensy buildings.

John Davies, Education Developer in the Teaching and Learning Department Unit, and part of the research team investigating the technology at the university, claims that so far, “more than 700 hours of lectures” have been recorded. The research team is currently exploring new ways of utilising the system to its full potential.

Technology plays an increasingly important role in student life today, with academic and other learning resources placed on sites such as Study Direct. Lectures and seminars can be recorded in various formats, such as video recordings and PowerPoint presentations with audio commentary,  with these being made easily accessible post-lecture.

Bill Ashfat, Director of Technology and Enhanced Learning at the university, explains how this technology is a “commercial solution” which will be “simple and convenient”. Mr Ashfat claims that recordings will ideally be placed on Study Direct within an “hour” of completion,  with the intention of being easily accessible by students. Recordings will be compatible with common personal devices such as iPhones, yet Mr. Ashfat stressed the need for “patience” during this “introductory stage”.

Possible benefits of this system will be an additional valuable learning resource and increased flexibility during the busy schedules for students and staff.

Potential negative impacts include a loss of individual enthusiasm for a chosen subject and a reduction in  independent study. Nonetheless,  what is clear is that this experimental technology may soon become an increasingly important resource for many students.

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