A content capture system is making information more available than ever throughout the North Dakota University System.
The system, called Tegrity, is giving students throughout the 11 colleges and universities in the NDUS access to lectures and other recorded content, taking them well beyond the traditional classroom walls.
Patti Heisler, assistant director of Training and Academic Technologies, said Tegrity is a robust system that can be used in a wide variety of ways, ranging from traditional lecture recordings to student presentations, in both the traditional classroom and the online setting. The versatility of the application is one of the things that makes it appealing to users.
“As an instructor you can record your lectures for students to view later,” Heisler said. “If you don’t have enough time to cover an equation you can record it offline, on a break, at night or whenever and make it available to students.”
Finding lectures is as easy as a few clicks. Students can log in on any Internet-connected device and from there they can search to find recent recordings. According to Heisler, other opportunities have arisen for utilizing the content caputure beyond lecture-recording.
“Fred Riggins at North Dakota State University teaches up to 168 students in a large lecture hall,” Heisler said. “They all had to give a final presentation in class, but doing so would take a long time. So, he had the students record their own presentations in Tegrity, which allowed for more in-class time to focus on learning.”
Riggins, associate professor of Management Information Systems, said he and Heisler began using the content capture system to teach MIS 320 during the 2012-2013 year. The required, lecture-format course seated as many as 180 students per class. Due to the size of those classes, Riggins and Heisler had to come up with a plan that allowed for the students to do group presentations that didn’t take away from lecture time. They found Tegrity.
“Having students get experience making presentations is critical, so we have students make their group project presentations on Tegrity, then we go in and grade their presentations,” Riggins said. “Students need to develop the slide presentation, coordinate the group to have each person make their part of the presentation, learn how to make Tegrity videos, and then actually make the professional-level presentation using this technology with the entire group present. When we grade the presentation we are able to see the video of the group presenters in one window and the slides advancing in another window. “
Riggins added that students had been receptive to that format, as it gave them the opportunity to utilize a new technology to meet all the needs of their coursework. After a brief, in-class orientation to the background and use of the software the students are provided a download and offered some class time to make their first videos. From there, most video work is done outside of the classroom, which allows for further education on the processes and scheduling of teamwork.
“One of the biggest challenges is for a team of say, five people, to find a time outside of class when they can all be physically present at the same time,” Riggins said. “I tell them early in the semester to plan for that during the last week of class when the project presentation comes due.”
For online students in the summer course, coordination comes a bit easier as it’s done nearly through the web. Each team member is responsible for a certain number of slides, which are required to be named a particular way. Tegrity’s alphanumeric listing allows them to be reviewed, in order, making it easy for professors like Riggins to review and grade.
As part of the summer course offering, Tegrity offers another opportunity – the ability to break up the 50-minute lectures into smaller modules. Doing so allows students to go to one module, then follow along with the slides and read the associated text. Riggins said that having multiple modules like that can ease the strain students would otherwise feel in having to watch an hour-long lecture on their computer or smartphone screen.
“For the most part I think students like the ability to go back and watch certain parts multiple times,” he added, noting that for online courses students could reference the modules during their conversations in the discussion boards to make up for the lack of in-person classroom interaction.
Recordings can be synchronous or asynchronous and last anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours. Over time, as students and faculty have grown more accustomed to the software’s uses, there has been a sharp increase in usage. The company’s claims of keeping student learning as the primary focus is readily available in its accessibility, and increased usage since full implementation throughout NDUS in 2012.
“We’ve seen an increase in recording hours,” Heisler said. “Some campuses find more use for it than others, but overall there has been a sharp increase over time.”
But lecture capture isn’t its only focus. According to the software documentation, students are able to “search content, collaborate with instructors and classmates, take notes, set bookmarks and more.” Heisler added that the lecture capture software also allowed for the sharing of resources among campuses.