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Effects of Lecture Capture on a Large First-year Engineering Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

FPD VII: Research on First-year Programs Part II

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.507.1 - 25.507.12



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Paper Authors


Jason Bazylak University of Toronto

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Jason Bazylak has been an lecturer with the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering since 2008. His research interests are in engineering design education and outreach to under-represented groups in the engineering professions, particularly Native Americans. He coordinates a large, award-winning first-year service-learning course, coordinates and teaches a third-year mechanical design for environment course, supervises the undergraduate design facilities, and is the Project Coordinator for the mechanical and industrial engineering senior design course.

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Susan McCahan University of Toronto

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Susan McCahan is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. In addition, she is currently the Vice Dean, Undergraduate, for the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. She received her B.Sc. from Cornell University (1985), and M.S. (1989) and Ph.D (1992) degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in mechanical engineering.

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Peter Eliot Weiss University of Toronto

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Peter Weiss is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Toronto and is currently Director of the Engineering Communication program. He served as Communication Coordinator for the first-year design/communication course, Engineering Strategies and Practice, from 2004 to 2007, returning to the course in 2010. He is co-author, with Robert Irish, of Engineering Communication: From Principles to Practice (Oxford Canada, 2008), and is also on the writing team for a new design/communication textbook for first-year engineering students.

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Effects of lecture capture on a large first year engineering courseAbstractThere are many changes taking place in the typical first year classroom, even to the casualobserver, such as larger class sizes, growing international student body, greater diversity instudent background, and the increasingly ubiquitous nature of technology both in and outside ofthe classroom. Less obvious, but no less important changes, are also taking place in how ourstudents access information, take notes and study, and interact with their instructors and peers.This study explores how we can use a relatively new technology, audio - slide lecture capturesystem (aka screencasting), to adapt to and benefit from these changes in the contemporaryclassroom.Lecture capture is the process of capturing of lecture audio and synchronizing that audio with avideo recording of the data projected on the screen (PowerPoint slides, OneNote pages, or otherpresentation tools). Lecture capture is particularly powerful when combined with othertechnologies, such as tablet personal computers (PCs) and wireless microphones.A lecture capture system was recently adopted in a two term, freshman engineering designcourse of 1000+ students of which nearly a quarter were international students. In this designcourse, there are three hours of lectures per week, conducted in a single section, to support thetwo hours per week in tutorial where students work on both fictitious and service learning designprojects.The system was adopted as a natural extension of an audio-only capture system that waspreviously used. The audio-only system was implemented to support student review of thelectures, both for study purposes and to assist English as a Second Language (ESL) students inpracticing their understanding of English engineering language. The audio-only lecturerecordings were regularly used by a small group of students, but the system was not adopted by asignificant portion of the students. Extending the lecture capture to include slide recordings wasthought to be one way to increase usage. However, some members of the teaching teamexpressed concerns over possible adverse effects on student behaviour, such as decreased lectureattendance and lower quality note taking. Existing literature states that there are no such adverseeffects (actually the opposite) with several benefits reported; however, teaching team concernspersisted, since this course and student body are unique to those reported in the literature. Therewas concern, for example, that freshman may not have the experience to judge the value ofmaking the effort to attend a live lecture that includes interactive teaching. The study describedin this paper was motivated by these concerns.The evaluation of our lecture capture system involved the tracking of lecture attendance. A fairapproximation of lecture attendance is regularly collected through the use of a classroomresponse system. This attendance data has been superimposed on the implementation timeline oflecture capture in the course. This has allowed for a correlation study between student attendancein lectures from the previous year, while the audio-only system was in place, to studentattendance this year after the upgrade to audio-slide capture.In addition, through tracking of the website where our recorded lectures are posted, we were ableto collect data on the number, frequency, and timing of student downloads and streaming of thelecture recordings. The analysis of this data gives insight into the popularity of student usage ofthe lecture recordings.Finally, an online survey was conducted to collect student opinions on the lecture capturesystem. Analysis of this survey data gives insight into student perception of the impact that thelecture capture system had on their learning and student experience.The infrastructure for the lecture capture also allowed for lectures to be recorded outside ofstandard lecture periods. The teaching team used this technology to post 5-25 minute-longonline-only mini-lectures as additional resources for students. These supplemental mini-lecturesincluded topics that students were previously expected to learn independently, using primarilytext-based resources. Using the same website tracking and survey data sources used in the lecturecapture portion of this study, student usage, perception of the utility, and impact of theseadditional resources on their learning and student experience have been analysed.A discussion is also provided on whether audio - slide lecture capture has had enough positiveeffects on learning and student experience, specifically in the context of the unique environmentof a freshmen course, to warrant their continued use, as well as aspects of this system that can beimproved for future implementations.

Bazylak, J., & McCahan, S., & Weiss, P. E. (2012, June), Effects of Lecture Capture on a Large First-year Engineering Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21265

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