Making it easy to create video

There’s a growing need for faculty to create video content quickly and easily. There are a lot of potential use cases.

  • Flipping your class by having students watch a video before coming class
  • Answering student questions in a visual medium to enhance understanding
  • Creating content for distance education
  • Making training videos

Unfortunately right now this is a pretty complex process. It requires studio space, a videographer, complex editing tools, specialized lighting, etc. Additionally the turn around times can be lengthy. Right now there’s no good solution and no good system in place to help us provide this service to faculty. So we built our beta lightboard back in March with the hopes that people would see it and get excited about it. We Love Bright Ideas! It had the desired effect. The College of Science was all over it. We’re in the process of helping them build a full scale version and we hope to have it operational by July 1. Unfortunately that may not meet the needs of everyone. It’s also not currently the most user friendly setup and will require some handholding for users.

Enter the Penn State One Button Studio!

  • You plug in a flash drive and the system turns on.
  • You hit a button and the system starts recording.
  • You give your presentation.
  • You hit the button when you’re done.
  • The file is automatically saved to the flash drive as an mp4 which you can upload to Sakai, YouTube, Kaltura, etc.

We’re starting to take a look at this now because we feel it meets most of the requirements for video creation. It’s one of those 98% solutions. It may not be perfect for everyone but if it’s good for you, it’s really easy and really good. Look for more later this summer!

Lecture Capture

You’re sitting in class, furiously taking notes in an attempt to keep up with the professor’s lecture. Even for the best note takers, it’s impossible to write down everything. That’s where lecture capture systems come in. This technology allows instructors to record what happens in their classrooms, subsequently making it available for students. Lecture audio, video, and visual aids are recorded and synced for playback on demand. The material is searchable, allowing students to easily find a specific slide or diagram that they struggled to understand in class. It has important implications for learning and online course development.


Notre Dame's Echo 360 Interface

Notre Dame’s Echo 360 Interface

Lecture capture is a valuable educational resource because it moves content beyond the classroom. For example, if students are struggling to understand a concept, the professor can further elaborate on the topic from his or her office, making that video immediately available for students to watch before the next class meeting. This frees up time for professors to make class more interactive. It also promotes greater understanding of material by giving students an opportunity for content review and exploration. While Notre Dame currently provides access only to courses students are enrolled in, other universities organize lecture content so that students can even browse content for courses in which they are not enrolled. By bringing class content online, students get a better grasp of material and an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning.


With online learning becoming increasingly prevalent, lecture capture is an important foundational tool. When appropriate, content created through lecture capture may be available for online course development. The potential for online course development has important implications, including the opportunity for distance education. Notre Dame is currently teaching a distance education course in Santiago, Chile through the lecture capture system. This is an important project to explore the potential of lecture capture in online learning. The main challenge with this content becomes intellectual property rights. At Notre Dame the intellectual property rights of faculty are protected by the University’s existing policy, which covers the creation of educational material.


Lecture capture is still in its proof of concept phase at Notre Dame. The Academic Technologies group is comparing two vendors: Echo 360 and Mediasite in two different classrooms in DeBartolo Hall. There are four classes currently using the system. The AT team hopes to make a recommendation by the Spring 2014 semester, and scale up the concept to an official pilot, working with more faculty.


Please contact with any questions or comments regarding lecture capture.


For Further Reading: