Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bottom line: Lecture Capture will now record everything except 1-minute breaks between scheduled lecture times.
Hey guys,

Lately I've heard a number of complaints about Lecture Capture.  Most frequently, these include: 
  • How segments between scheduled lecture times have been missed (eg quits recording at 9:15 even if the lecturer is still going, or starts at 9:30 even if the lecturer started early)
  • How unnecessary segments are recorded (15 min of nothing)
First, I'm glad that I've run across these comments.  This is the kind of feedback that SRMT can work with to get things changed!  So thanks to everyone that's said something to us.

So I spoke with Chris Kiscaden today, and we've discussed a number of possible solutions, including:
  • Having the lecture recordings manually started and stopped (by an employee, a student, the lecturer)
  • Having the lectures recorded in a single, large block (8-12, for example) and distributed as such
  • Having the lectures recorded in a single, large block and retroactively split into appropriate time blocks before distribution
During our discussion, I learned that there are a few roadblocks to these solutions.  For starters, MediaSite (the software/hardware combo that makes our lecture capture work) doesn't have a manual on/off button.  Chris showed me how it works, which is by updating its schedule every few minutes and only running according to schedule.  So this pretty much precludes the possibility of having a manual recording option ran by students / lecturers.  Further, Chris explained that there really isn't an employee available to watch every lecture every day, even if there were a simple button to push.  I explained to him that I didn't think that recording in a huge block was a good idea, because then the students would be left guessing "about" where in the 4-hour video they expected a certain lecture to begin.  Further, it would make fine adjustments within a lecture (skipping forward 5 minutes, for example) more difficult than it is already.  And as for retroactive splitting of the videos, Chris explained that the MediaSite software makes video processing an arduous and complicated process.  If anyone would like more details, I'd be happy to discuss this further; the bottom line is that it's not really an option.

So, the solution we came up with was to solve the biggest problem first: that lecture content was occasionally being missed entirely.  Our current solution was simply to extend the recording times all the way until 1 minute (minimum time allowed) before the next lecture is scheduled.  For example, if lecture 1 is scheduled 8-9:15 and lecture 2 from 9:30-11:00, MediaSite would previously not record 9:15 to 9:30, whereas now it will record up to 9:29 before beginning to record lecture 2 at 9:30.  This means that there will be even more "breaks" unnecessarily recorded, but it will minimize the amount of lecture content that gets missed.  Chris has promised to put this into action "effective immediately."

I hope this is an adequate solution to ensure that nobody is missing lecture content.  Please let us know if you have any comments or questions.

See yall soon,


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