At the start of the 2019/20 Academic Year there are approximately 400 rooms across the University of Edinburgh equipped with Media Hopper Replay lecture recording facilities. The service allows for a variety of classroom activities to be recorded and uploaded to the Virtual Learning Environment (Learn) within each course. Media Hopper Relay aims to facilitate student learning through providing easily accessible course materials, however there are a number of associated challenges with implementing lecture recording in a large institute.
When exploring the impact of disruptive technologies, e.g. technologies which will eventually displace the current format, it is important to consider how cultural factors influence how an organisation successfully adapts (Danneels, 2004). As part of the university’s evaluation of lecture recording, a university-wide qualitative exploration of staff and student perspectives was carried out in 2018. A combination of unstructured interviews with staff, student surveys and a focus group was used to explore the desires and concerns surrounding the lecture recording implementation. We found that concerns could be broadly split into proximate concerns which affected actions within the lecture space and ultimate concerns which related to how lectures themselves fitted in to the overall university experience. Staff and student perspectives on the proximate and ultimate concerns often differed, reflecting a fundamental distance between what staff and students’ concept of a lecture was. Staff frequently used the metaphor of a ‘show’ or ‘live gig’ when discussing lectures, which meant they undervalued how disruptive technical issues could be such as microphone failures. Conversely, students viewed lectures pragmatically and conceptualised them as tools for the exam. More broadly, staff worried that recording lectures would convey a message that ‘knowledge is most important’ where they would prefer to prioritise skills and particularly critical evaluation of evidence. They referred to this as ‘canonisation’ of materials.
Reflecting on this difference, we concluded that one of the greatest values lecture recording brings the university is the motivation to discuss what we want a lecture to be. We have since run a series of externally facilitated workshops and a debate at our annual Learning and Teaching Conference exploring what lectures are for, and how lecture recording may facilitate this.
Participants in this session will first hear an overview of the work carried out at Edinburgh with opportunities to ask questions of the research and results. Then participants will select scenarios of interest which reflect real-world challenges in adopting lecture recording at scale. The session will explore the scenarios through a combination of small-group participant discussion and feeding back to the larger audience through the speaker. These interactions will be discussed more widely as a large group. Participants will leave the session with a deeper understanding of how lecture recording is perceived to change the practice of lecturing, and a new perspective on how staff and students can support one another to create effective learning environments with this technology.
Danneels, E. (2004) ‘Disruptive technology reconsidered: A critique and research agenda’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 21(4), pp. 246–258. doi: 10.1111/j.0737-6782.2004.00076.x.