Online lecturing system expands beyond the College of Liberal Arts

Nicole Cobler

Students may have the opportunity to make up class days lost to inclement weather through a program allowing professors to record and archive their lectures online.

Two class days were fully canceled in January because of inclement weather, while four other class days were delayed during February and March.

The Lectures Online system began as a 2009 pilot program in several classrooms in the College of Liberal Arts Building, according to Michael Heidenreich, media and audio services manager for Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services. The system is now available to professors who teach in the 16 classrooms in which the software is installed.

“We missed a lot of days due to weather, and the dean of COLA and other deans on campus were trying to figure out how to assist professors who need additional time to teach all their material,” Heidenreich said.

After the weather delays, the service was made available to all University faculty to either record their lectures in the CLA or capture the screens of their personal computers. According to Heidenreich, more than 50 faculty members have signed up for the service.

Jen Ebbeler, classics associate professor, said she began using the program in 2011 for a class of 220 students.

“There’s a bunch of different ways it can increase your interactions with your students,” Ebbeler said. “I think it’s a great tool.”

Ebbeler said she noticed a decrease in attendance when she began using the system because she used it only to lecture. Since then, Ebbeler said she uses the program to make sure students stay engaged.

“I realized one of the ways I could make the in-class part a lot more engaging was to shift some of the content out of class,” Ebbeler said. “I used iClickers and peer discussions and other things, so class is really live.”

Ebbeler said she understands why some professors may be concerned about the attendance rate if they record lectures online.

“By recording it, I could actually test students more deeply because they could review the lectures,” Ebbeler said. “If you’re not doing anything different and only capturing your lecture, attendance will dip down.”

Corporate communications sophomore Vanessa Peterson said she took two classes last semester that used the online lecturing system. Peterson said the only problem she noticed was the system being overwhelmed when everyone tried to log on at once. She said her government professor recorded every lecture, but the attendance rate stayed constant throughout the semester.

“[My professor] was interesting, so people actually wanted to come,” Peterson said.