To Lecture Capture or Not to Lecture Capture?

That’s Not Really the Question

Editor's Note

This was originally posted to Sheila MacNeill's blog [] on September 20, 2018.

Photo by Yucel Moran [] on Unsplash []

So you know how it is, you are trying to write an internal paper about something (in this case lecture capture) and as part of your research (aka distraction tactics) you put out a message on twitter just to see if anyone is there/ cares/ can actually help you- and then you get slightly taken overwhelmed with the response.

In response to to the this tweet

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I got a fair few responses covering quite a range of opinions.  From the almost straightforward,

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to the more slight more nuanced

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to the more creative

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to the more serious points

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(For a very relevant and thought provoking exploration of that very issue, I highly recommend watching Melissa Highton’s recent presentation [] at this year’s ALT conference )

And the success stories

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But this . . .

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To quote from Tressie McMillian Cottom’s keynote [] (again from the ALT conference) the devil is always in the context.

My context is this. My institution does not have a lecture capture system, but it seems everyone else does, so our senior management are asking about it. I have to prepare a discussion paper for our Senate. So whilst I see the benefits that lecture capture can bring – there are many –  I am also acutely aware of the costs (not just hardware/software) but the staff resources, and the wider CPD issues for both staff and students.  At at time when we are not awash with money for anything, I have to ask is it worth spending a substantial amount of money on lecture capture? Or should we not just do something because everyone else, but instead focus our resources and efforts around changing our expectations for both staff and students on the role of not lecture capture but learning capture – those key suggests/points of knowledge transfer that really make the difference to understanding. And in doing so, take another look at the tech we already have and see how we can extend its use.

As part of my research I came across this preprint [] of a review of the impact of lecture capture. In terms the value students get from lecture capture it states:

“the literature clearly indicates that for the majority of students the greatest value of recordings is as a learning resource. They use recordings to revisit and clarify complex confusing topics”

Of course there are benefits for students with disabilities, non native speakers etc, in being able to access lecture recordings, but again do they need the whole lecture? There were more responses like this

Fair point but I converted my 2 hr chemistry lectures into 20 min videos (converted narrated PPT) and uploaded to YouTube in about 30 mins each. Not BBC standard but probably better than LC

— Clive Buckley (@CliveBuckley) 19 September 2018 []

Which is more of what I think we need to be  doing. In turn investing in cpd to help support staff develop relevant digital capabilities. There’s then of course the need to  provide time from staff to actually think about the wider issues around lecture/learning capture and not just a tech solution, that provides  resource for students, but with a bit more thought could provide a better, accessible resource for students. This would provide a way to refocus our institutional approach to more active learning.

For me the question just now is not to lecture capture or not to lecture capture, it is much deeper. In fact I don’t really think it is one question. It’s a number of them around what, who, how and when we should be investing in people, learning spaces (both physical and digital) and tech to improve and advance learning and teaching.

I wonder if I should ask twitter again . . .

Suggested Citation

MacNeill, S. (2019). To Lecture Capture or Not to Lecture Capture?: That’s Not Really the Question. In R. Kimmons, EdTech in the Wild: critical blog posts. EdTech Books. Retrieved from

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