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Lecture recording at Glasgow University

By Steve Draper,   Department of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

This page is mainly to hold notes on the two systems of lecture recording currently in use in Psychology at GU (Glasgow University). But note you can consider using recordings of broadcast TV.

Systems of lecture recording:

  • Section 1: "Podcast" lecture recording at GU: this section is some notes on doing it now (Sept. 2014), in the context of moodle 2.

  • Section 2: Echo360 recording: Can capture audio, slides, and video; and is built into some lecture theatres.
  • Section 3: Other systems (Camtasia, Keynote)
  • Section 4: Learner uses of (reasons for) lecture recordings.
  • Section 5: Editing recordings

    "Podcast" lecture recording at GU

    This section is some notes on doing audio lecture recording now (Sept. 2014), in the context of moodle 2.

    The default Moodle2 audio player doesn't allow downloads (for student's ipod players), and doesn't allow fast forward or any way to move forward and back.

    What we probably want (what I want for level 3 lecture recordings) is to pass the file as a link (URL) so that the user gets whatever audio player they have installed in their browser on whatever device they are using at that moment.

    Phil has been uploading and installing recordings as File resources. All that has to be done is to edit the settings in Moodle for each such File resource: Click tab/section "Appearance" -- select "In pop-up" not "automatic".

    I might add that Moodle is doing the file protection we want: Even if I copy a link (URL) and put it outside Moodle, users can't play or download it unless: 1) They can login to Moodle (all staff and students, but very few outside GU, can do this. 2) They are enrolled on the course where the resource is stored. For level 3 CHIP: that is only enrolled students, 3 staff (and a surprising number of the Moodle team).


    1) I'm not fussed about my own lecture recordings, so no need to get right this minute from my viewpoint, but I agree with Phil we want a general agreed policy.

    2) Students downloading.

    a) Historically, but possibly not now, it was important to many students to get a copy of the audio on to players they carried round. Hence I regard this as a key requirement until someone shows no students do this now.

    b) A tech-savy student can download them from the poor moodle player: you ask your browser to show the source of the page on which the Moodle player is operating, search the blizzard of HTML code for "Source" or ".mp3" and you get the underlying URL of the resource, and get it. Thus "protection" stops the naive, but not the informed but malicious.

    3) An expert I consulted said the trend now was not to embed players, but pass the file direct to the user's browser; partly because it will know better (be configured better) to deal with it depending on whether it is a phone, tablet, ....; which we and Moodle cannot know.

    4) I agree we should make clear to the students that lecture recordings should be treated essentially like copies of library PDFs of journal papers: never passed on or put on public websites by students. The current handbooks used not to do that clearly, but now do (in 2015-6).

    Echo360 lecture recording at GU

    This section is about the Echo360 lecture capture system which is now being rolled out in this university, and can also capture just audio, but also can capture video of the slides and/or the speaker.

    For now, just some pointers.

    Notes on using it

    For (students) watching a recorded lecture, a great feature is being able to jump to points in the lecture by clicking on any slide. While playing a recording, click on the top item "Scenes" in the list of "Apps" in the right hand column, to show a scrolling list of the slides.

    Logging / "analytics": Info is sliced at every few mins; then combined with gaps of user attention < 10 mins ignored; and a "view" is one chunk of combined slices. So just 2 mins play should show up. The slicing may make "average completion" pretty inaccurate for short videos. But I didn't see anything update because of my viewing in either view:

    1. Student view: list of videos on a course with thumbnails. The stats here take maybe an hour to update. They are somewhat adjusted to take account of one person looking many times vs. different people; and one person viewing with some gaps vs. apparently looking several times.
    2. Staff/editor view of the list of presentations. This takes a day (overnight) to update the count of "views". This count does not correspond to the adjusted stats above: may be a crude count of all accesses to a recording.

    Security / privacy is given by:

    a) All recordings are on a server, which every user must login to with their GUID.

    b) A course is offered to a class by making an obscure URL available to them e.g. Thus it is unlikely that other students will find it. Placing the link on Moodle, behind Moodle's login wall for a given course, gives moderate security.

    c) Sets of recordings "owned" by a given person (typically the lecturer giving a course being recorded) are accessible (with editing and deletion rights) only to that owner(s):

    The second Echo window is the one for playing recordings: Lecturer-owners can edit the title of any lecture from the window for playing them. (Select = highlight a lecture; click on the pencil icon by the title at the top of the right hand panel beside the list of titles.)

    Slides may not be recorded usefully for some settings of screen resolution on the computer displaying the slides, even though they display correctly on the lecture theatre data projector itself. (1024 X 768 is one that works for Echo360 recordings.)

    How to check? Too hard for doing at the last minute on getting to the LT. But something like: Be in the LT and a booked recording has started; Put up the slides so they are projected. Also have a window looking at the recording .... (updates only every 30secs). .... Editing
    1. Go to list of recordings:
    2. Hover over the recording you want -- a tiny appears -- click "edit".
    3. The "Edit Echo" screen lets you change descriptions, press "Save" at the bottom of the page, and these appear at once.
    4. OR to edit the recording itself, press "Edit media" at the bottom of the page; and you get a different Edit screen.
      • You can drag trim tabs etc.; then press "Save" against each edit spec. that appears AND press "[tick]" to commit it.
      • After editing (and "Previewing" the result), Press "Save" in the top tabs to irreversibly make and publish the edits. Press "Process edits" Return to first screen but press your browser's Back button or press "Cancel" but not "Save".
      It takes about 30mins for the edits to appear in the recording. You see this when you "Play" it. But if you try to re-edit it, you are back with the original unedited version.

    Other lecture recording approaches / systems

    Above I deal with portable audio recorders (for "podcast" publishing); and Echo360 which can capture video too by built-in setups.

    But another way is to use software built-in to a lecturer's laptop, asusming they take a laptop to the lecture theatre normally. "Camtasia" is one such system. But also: free Mac software "Keynote" does this, using the laptop's built in microphones and camera and screen display of slides. This works surprisingly adequately.

    Learner uses of (reasons for) lecture recordings


    "Editing" lecture recordings

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