Active Learning With Echo360

Echo360 is an active learning platform designed for use in higher education. It has many applications for digital learning, including:

  • Lecture Capture: Learning is optimized with lecture capture and webcast capabilities. Echo360 features 1080 pixel, high definition capture with the ability to schedule recordings in advance and publish automatically. These features make the system well-suited for remote teaching. Instructors can record course presentations on Mac or PC from their home or office, or they can capture lessons right in the classroom.


  • Instructional Content Management: Echo360 provides a Learning Library that streamlines the content management process, storing all materials in one place. Instructors can search and filter through their content. Materials are easily shared through the university’s learning management system.


  • Student Engagement: Echo360 allows instructors to cater to different learning styles. Students are able to follow videos, notes, and discussions at their own pace. With discussion threads and an active learning platform, students can ask questions and engage in course discussion in real time. Instructors can also build polls and quizzes directly into their presentation.   


  • Analytics: Instructors can access an analysis of course performance and individual progress. Further, instructors can establish what success metrics are most important to them, and prioritize the metrics they want to focus on.

Digital learning through Echo360 creates a unique opportunity for multi-media student engagement, bringing material beyond the traditional classroom.

Mobile Lecture Capture Cart

About a year ago, we featured a story on our blog about our efforts to evaluate two competing lecture capture systems.  As a result of this evaluation, the Echo360 lecture capture system was selected and deployed to a few classrooms on campus. The Office of Information Technologies has recorded lectures for many years, but the number of lecture requests has been growing rapidly. This requires additional manpower, time, and resources, as videographers move around campus and record in different locations. Recording a one hour class requires the time needed for scheduling, staffing, going to and from class with equipment, set up, filming, and editing. This can become quite a time consuming process!


Our colleagues wondered whether a standard Echo360 capture device could be used to create a mobile lecture capture cart to simplify and automate part of the recording process. Academic Technologies explored this and created a prototype cart. It is rolled into the classroom, turned on, and the microphones and cameras on the cart record the contents of the lecture. With the cart, there is a minimal setup and a videographer does not need to remain in the classroom for the duration of the class. The content is uploaded to the server automatically and is ready to be viewed by the class within a few hours.


The prototype cart was created at the beginning of the semester to pilot the new technology. The Echo360 system also provides detailed analytics which allows faculty to see who watches the content, and what parts are watched multiple times. Professors can use this data to determine what content may need to be focused on in later lectures. The cart has been successful, and is currently being utilized by a graduate level theology class that has 30-35 students viewing remotely. With the success of the prototype cart, new equipment has been ordered and a production ready cart should be available soon. This new cart will allow filming to take place in more locations, expanding the Mobile Lecture Capture program on campus.

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.


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