Change is Inconvenient

By far the most common objection to my desire to retire lecture capture is the “convenience argument.” It comes in two basic forms.  One is that it allows students to do other things during class time (e.g. Work, Stay at home) and watch lectures later. The other is that it allows students to see the lecture multiple times so that they can review difficult concepts multiple times and master the material.  In both versions, the assumption is that no other delivery mode can provide these “advantages.”

Lecture Capture was created in a pre-Google, pre-YouTube world.  It provided faculty with megaphones that allowed more people to hear their messages, people we couldn’t fit inside the classroom.  But in a world where you can search the Internet for a video on anything, lecture capture’s value is declining fast.  Reach is limitless and information is becoming a commodity. Experiences, relationships, and perspective on the other hand are not.  They remain finite, distinctive and transformative. If we don’t redefine the role of faculty and the classroom to create more of these things for students, our future isn’t very bright.  Why pay a middleman for what you can google?

So, we must search for higher value alternatives to lecture capture. Technologies like adaptive learning can help give students who need more exposure to difficult topics the opportunity to learn through repetition (argument 2).  And I strongly believe that if we make education more compelling and distinctive, the “I have other things I need to do then argument” (argument 1)  will slip away.  You make time for the things that are of greatest value to you.

My most important job is helping people see the future and to assemble the resources necessary to make sure the college thrives in that new world. Lecture capture’s days are coming to an end.  Not because I don’t like it, but because the world is passing it by.  Change is always inconvenient, but let’s not let the world pass us by too.

9 thoughts on “Change is Inconvenient

  1. Very good perception and vision. I think a course that addressed levels of test cases and what are the solutions would be most important. For instance, when your plan fails, what alternatives do you have, How resourceful are you.
    Does your business have a plan “B”?
    various real life case studies that address how leaders of what looked like ” a failed company” and the steps that were taken to turn it around. Address short-term immediate triage methods. Proactive rehab etc.
    Just a thought.

  2. You’re saying lecture capture’s value is declining because we can google things we don’t understand….that is an invalid argument. Before we actually “change”, we need a valid reason why there needs to be change and you are not giving us one.

  3. I partially disagreed (and partly agreed) with your previous post, but I have to strongly disagree with this one. I think you are missing the point of lecture capture at least partly.

    I agree that pure lecture capture with no additional resources is obsolete and provides a weak learning experience at best. But when you add things like webcourses and other interactive social media like instruments, you get back some of the interaction that pure capture leaves out. Also, you could mix lecture capture with more interactive methods including traditional classroom time, and get the best of both — the repetitive parts in lecture capture and then reserve live time for more deep thought. These possibilities are new, and “lecture capture” can, has, and must evolve.

    As others have pointed out, as UCF’s population grows, lecture capture solves problems that can’t be solved in many other timely or feasible ways. Perhaps as growth slows (or construction and hiring speed up), that will become less of a factor.

    I’ve been at UCF a long time, and I’ve seen what many students do with recorded lectures. I’ve known a handful of students with “learning disabilities” — sometimes a visual or auditory processing problem, or even a physical impairment, and they used lecture capture to slow down or speed up the lecture or otherwise adapt playback to meet their needs, pause to take more notes, and other issues. This tends to be superior (at least for some of them) than hiring someone to take notes for them. So eliminating lecture capture does no service to these students. I know some of them even went to the live lecture and then went back to the recorded lectures to fill in holes for notes they were unable to get. This is not mere repetition.

    But the biggest point I think you missed is that sometimes it just isn’t possible (not just inconvenient) for students to attend a live lecture. For many years UCF has been big on both distance learning and non-traditional students who have full time jobs, and there are few solutions better than lecture capture to help these students. Sure, the class is important, but if the student is working full time and trying to support a family, the choice is one of using lecture capture and going to work, or just not taking the class at all because the money is not available to drop the work time. I’ve also seen cases where the “more important” thing they did instead of going to class was — surprise! going to another class. Also, we are a military friendly school. For some of them, if they are called up on long term reserve, without lecture capture, their only option would be to drop classes, rather than continue them remote.

    This may be the age of google, but google and youtube do not replace lecture capture unless you are posting your lectures in youtube. Wikipedia is very nice, but it is not a replacement for a professor’s lecture. If we were pure lecture capture, I’d agree that we are endangered by competition from other new information sources. However, lecture capture with other interactive online media still competes well.

    I think you are right in that pure lecture capture needs to go and will fade.
    I think you are wrong if you think it will go away entirely — it will evolve and it will not fade.

    • In some ways our thinking isn’t that far apart, see my response to A. Rokh.
      But, I do think we disagree on the most essential point. I certainly understand that people have to eat. But, I also think people make time for what is most important to them. To quote one of my favorite movies: “If you build it, they will come.” I would much rather compete knowing I’m building a first choice, one that puts the learning experience at the center, rather than an create an option based on convenience that “just fits” with other, more important priorities.

  4. “It provided faculty with megaphones that allowed more people to hear their messages, people we couldn’t fit inside the classroom.”
    Pointing out an emphasis on “…people we couldn’t fit inside the classroom.”

    Dr. Jarley, we still have this problem. This must be resolved before Lecture Capture can be retired.
    I still have a picture where there was a line out the door during class. The reason people stop coming to class overtime is because they are fed up with finding seats, thus creating the illusion that students are “lazy” and not leaving their “comfort zone” which falsely judged.

    UCF is its own worst enemy in regards to flaunting being one of the biggest universities in the country. Until you, respectfully, and other leading members of the COBA, can figure out how to make this a more exclusive college rather than inclusive, to control the number of students within, taking away lecture capture will cause distress and future problems.

    If you see it another way, please chime in and help me see a positive out of this while incorporating the population problem within your response. Just curious.


    • You are right that scaling intimacy is a key challenge at UCF. It comes down to figuring out ways to make a very big place small so that meaningful interactions take place between faculty and students.

      In this case it will require different thinking about what class is for (is it really a time for lectures?), how often students need to be there (it’s more than zero, but maybe less than thirty) and what value faculty bring to learning (in my opinion, it’s not information delivery, but perspective, transformative experiences and proficiency certification).

      The secret sauce of UCF is that we can’t do things the traditional way, because if we do we’ll break it. You are right. Students are not lazy. The system discourages them from coming. That outcome makes me insanely angry. To get to where I want to go, will require disruptive thinking and some experimentation, but it is doable and when we are done we will be offering students a different and more meaningful experience that gives everyone the ability to show up live and in person. Stay tuned.

  5. I’ve been tracking this discussion for the past two weeks, and I find it thought provoking. On the one hand it appears that students want flexibility. But, I think your position is more around aligning class time with your vision for the College of Business.

    If the goal is to produce students with rote knowledge, then the current lecture capture method is perfect. However, if you want to develop creative leaders that can solve complex problems and create value, something else is needed entirely. Businesses do not want rote learners. We have Google and Wikipedia for that. Business schools shouldn’t be satisfied with rote learners either because…

    UCF needs to graduate leaders. Leaders ultimately give back and create the virtuous cycle that builds, expands, and improves the UCF value proposition. It’s clear that leaders cannot be made by having highly trained researchers reading textbook summaries on colorful PowerPoints. That’s a cynical description of a lecture, but also very true for very many.

    I like your idea of students digesting the material on their own time and having class time dedicated to faculty perspective, student experiences applying the information, and knowledge certification. This will encourage students’ motivation to learn the material because they will be challenged to show their learning to peers and faculty.

    Theory tells me that student and faculty reactions to this will be divided with personality being a factor.

  6. I feel the bigger issue at hand is how to fit over 1,000 students in ba1 107 when there is a limit of 285 or 283. At it stands currently the first two weeks of spring or fall semester ..that room is filled with more students then allowed. I’m pretty confident the Fire Marshall would say a few words about that since that is a safety issue. If the core business classes held multiple times ,sessions throughout the day. This would eliminate alot of these issues and it may cut the need of lecture capture. However, Lonny’s geb classes uses lecture capture so we can all the videos for his final exam since we are limit to one live lecture per semester and that’s due to size.

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