Yesterday I attended the first-ever Echo 360 (formerly Apreso) conference which saw 40 or so people gather at Coventry University to look at how they are implementing lecture/event recording systems at their institutions. The day started with a number of presentations and rather than take you through every point I shall highlight some of the more interesting ideas raised during these presentations.

First off was the University of Birmingham who talked about their experience. A couple of things I mentioned that might be useful at LSE was as well as recording an event with Echo 360 it is possible to simultaneously stream this live at a fairly minimal cost. This uses a feature of the standard Echo 360 Osprey capture cards that we previously didn’t know about, called “Simulstream”.

They also showed a rather nifty remote control camera which may be of use at LSE where the lecturer would like to zoom the image rather than use the standard wide-angle shot. This could possibly be integrated into future versions of the LSE standard classroom lectern/media controls available to the teacher.

Newcastle University talked a little bit about evaluation and how they are going to assess the student experience of recorded lectures and pedagogical impacts for lecturers. Newcastle are unusual in the UK in that they are using Lectopia which merged with Apreso to form Echo 360 and they talked a little bit about their implementation. One useful feature of Lectopia they mentioned was that a ‘scheduled’ recording can be started using an audio trigger rather than starting at a set time. This means that there is less likelihood of five minutes of dead time being recorded before the actual lecture starts. this is hopefully something that will make it into a future version of the Echo 360 system. They also talked about the possibility of integrating the lecture recording schedule with their lectures timetable system. From the questions and discussion arising it also looks like the next version of Echo 360 will allow us to connect lectern controls to the lecture recording system which will allow easy operation by teachers if they want to stop or pause their recording.

Jocasta Williams from Echo 360 talked a lot about evaluation, so I think we will have to get back to her regarding our evaluation later this academic year. She also provided a link to some useful evaluation resources (including further research projects on lecture recording).

We were of course shown the next version (2.0) of the Apreso/Echo 360 event recording system and it looks as if they have certainly been listening to our feedback as most of the features/improvements that we’ve previously requested seem to have made it into the new product. We are just about to start beta testing the next version at LSE so we should the able to get our teeth into this pretty soon.