The Future Of Video In Education

Sean Brown, SVP, Sonic Foundry
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Sean Brown, SVP, Sonic Foundry

The cost of higher education has nearly doubled since 2000 and continues to rise, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. At the same time, college enrollments are declining, down 2.3 percent this spring compared with last year. The skills preparedness of a college degree have come into question — a 2013 “Bridge That Gap” Index shows that only 39 percent of employers believe college grads they interviewed over the past two years were prepared for a job in their field.

Much of the discussion around fixing our broken education system is focused on finding technology solutions; and for good reason. Front and center in this discussion is the flipped classroom model, which uses lecture via video outside of the classroom while reserving prized class time for 1:1 student-teacher interaction. It’s imperative to increase the real-time and real-world value of college degrees in order to meet the rising costs of higher education. Incorporating video into classrooms can provide a better learning experience for students. Despite the investment of time and effort required to implement the flipped classroom model effectively, the approach is clearly delivering key benefits to both students and faculty and will continue to see increased adoption in the coming months and years.

Take Clemson University, for instance. The flipped model is one that is quickly catching on with faculty there, thanks to professors like Ralph Welsh, who started experimenting with this technology-driven pedagogy three years ago. Ralph redesigned and refined his courses over time and now puts the onus on the student to come to class already having watched the lectures and ready to engage in conversation. He’s personally seen a 50 percent increase in the number of courses he can offer with the flipped model. Student satisfaction is high, because it’s an engaging learning experience and is meeting the interest of a new generation of techy students.

Video-based online learning, whether it’s used to flip a course or to reach students in real-time regardless of time and location, is becoming a standard offering in higher ed. Embracing video in the classroom benefits both faculty and students. This new student-driven demand is putting academic video at the top of institutions’ technology planning initiatives, and more and more faculty members are realizing the power of lecture capture to broaden reach and cater to individual student needs. But it hasn’t always been that way.

Like any new initiative, generally speaking, there will be some reluctance and fear from those involved. The faculty is in front of the classroom. Their faces, their reputations are on the line. It can be scary facing a camera and a remote audience that spans time and distance when they’re accustomed to facing students in the classroom.

But the attitude toward academic Video from faculty members is changing. They are embracing the shift in pedagogy, seeing it as a tool that enhances learning, not forcing them into new ways of teaching. In fact, the first national faculty survey about flipped instruction, released in November by Sonic Foundry, in conjunction with The Center for Digital Education, shows that 50 percent of faculty polled are already flipping or plan to flip by this time next year, and 81 percent say an “improved mastery of information” is the top student benefit.

Mary Fanelli Ayala, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ENMU, uses lecture capture in her classroom and says streaming video improves the pedagogy of online, hybrid and even face-to-face classes.

“High-quality, user-friendly lecture capture means that students can tune in live or later to the actual teaching presence of our best professors. Face-to face students can ‘attend’ when they’re sick without sharing the latest bug with the whole class, and everyone can review lectures and explanations before a test,” she says. And students love that.

New innovations in education technology this year will further enhance the classroom experience.
Sonic Foundry has innovated new ways for faculty and students to create and share lectures, learning modules and assignments wherever they are. The company has put the tools needed to quickly capture, upload, edit and publish rich video right into the hands of the faculty. Using a laptop or computer’s built-in camera and microphone, they can easily record high quality video and rich media. This allows faculty to have more control over their content, and user-generated content easily facilitates flipped instruction.

The classroom of the future provides more control and flexibility when it comes to content creation. In fact faculty and students are driving it just as much as the schools’ technologists. This year you’ll see faculty and students sharing knowledge anywhere, regardless of technology infrastructure thanks to the new options for user-generated content. We’ll see more flexibility in creation and consumption of rich video, and schools will have vast portals of rich video that can be referenced for years to come. The knowledge shared in your classroom is important, so embrace the power of video in your classrooms and watch how much more effective and successful you and your students will be.

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