Lecture Capture

What is lecture capture?

It's quite simple, lecture capture is simply having lectures recorded (audio and visual) in order for students to look back over them again (usually through a platform such as Moodle). This is specifically for lectures, not seminars, and mainly to help out when all that information overload happens!

Following feedback from students at this year's Academic Rep Conference, Vice President Education Jack O'Neill has picked up the baton to ensure the College move forward with delivering lecture capture to more students by moving to an opt out model.

So where are Royal Holloway in this debate?

About as old-fashioned as Founder's Building itself basically.

Unlike other universities across the country, Royal Holloway simply hasn’t pushed for this to become the norm. Therefore, although we have an ‘opt-in’ system, this hasn’t worked as very few lecturers are opting in. Royal Holloway is unbelievably behind the sector in this instance.

When we discuss this issue with externals from other institutions, the topic is always met with utter astonishment that Royal Holloway has nothing in place for lecture capture. A simple Google search of universities with lecture capture will show the plethora of institutions currently using it, ranging from York, to Warwick, to Kings and to Cambridge – yep, Cambridge which is often heralded as the University with ancient practices has lecture capture and Royal Holloway does not.

So what is being done?

This issue has raised its head consistently over the past few years without making much progress.

It has become a hot topic once again this year, and this time, we aren’t going to let it slide off the radar. A lecture capture working group was set up which has only met once and only plans to meet one more time – you’d think the issue was solved wouldn’t you? But no.

Discussions are constantly had, and by discussions we mean excuses as to why lecture capture isn’t happening. We are really upping the pressure now and discussions with academic reps, with people at Academic Rep Conference and with interactions on my blog post – we know that this is an issue that we simply cannot let fade away.

What are we hoping to achieve?

Lecture capture simply must become part of the culture at Royal Holloway.

We can’t let this delay any longer, or else the cycle of debate will simply go round in circles once again. Therefore, we are saying that there must be some form of progress in time for September 2019.

As aforementioned, currently there is an ‘opt-in’ system, the problem is that nobody is opting in, other than a small handful of lecturers.

We are proposing that this firstly changes to an ‘opt-out’ system – this would mean lectures would be automatically recorded unless the lecturer backed out. This would open the door for progress and hopefully lead to a culture where lecture capture is simply expected.

What are the excuses?

There are primarily two reasons that are being used to prevent the change: intellectual property and fears over attendance.

With regards to intellectual property, this is essentially the fear over ownership and content of lectures. This is always going to be a difficult issue but the key part is that recorded lectures would be open to students in that module, rather than publicly, and the College have also recently revamped their intellectual property policy to clearly cover this.

Attendance also arises at every discussion – more specifically a fear and mistrust that students will no longer attend lectures. There is a fundamental misunderstanding about what lecture capture is. Lecture capture enables students to use the material for revising, or visit material when unforeseen circumstances prevent someone from attending the lecture. Attendance at lectures depends on students making the decisions whether the lecture is beneficial – and there is no evidence to suggest that lecture capture directly decreases attendance.

What are the benefits of lecture capture?

Currently there is an incorrect notion that lecture capture would replace lectures – but this isn’t the case. Below are just some of the reasons why lecture capture can benefit you:

  • Revision! This is often listed as one of the key reasons for lecture capture. Enabling you to go back and rewatch lectures for revision is so important! Missed out on that one fact or small information? Look back at the lecture recording. Still unsure on a whole module? Look back at the lecture recording. Want to double check some of the content? Look back at the lecture recording.
  • Half modules! This may not be relevant for all, but is for others! At Royal Holloway, some programmes have half modules that end in December, and yet examination for these is in the summer term – this may give you time, but certainly doesn’t help with memory of the content. Having your lectures be recorded would mean that you could revisit the information that you haven’t been taught for months!
  • Unforeseen absences! Whilst lecture recording certainly isn’t a replacement for going to the lecture, there are times when you will have to miss a lecture. This could be because traffic is jam packed, the trains are appalling or you are having health difficulties. Rather than having to panic that you are missing loads of content, access to the lecture recording would at least mean you could get the information that your peers got!

What can you do?

Really simple, quickly fill out this quick survey (there are only two questions to answer).

The College says that they need evidence that this is an issue and that students actually want this. It will take only 20 seconds – one click, and the lobbying kicks off.


Representing Your Academic Interests

Campaigning on issues such as lecture capture is just one of the many ways in which we as your Students' Union represent your academic interests to the College. The most prominent form this takes is through the 400+ elected academic reps who engage with their peers on a daily basis with the aim of making their individual course, department and faculty better. This might be through regular meetings with academic staff or more detailed reviews of departments such as a Periodical Departmental Review.

Head on over to our Academic Rep hub to find out more about what your reps do, how you can get involved, and also who your rep is.