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Two decades of enhancing students’ lives with technology in the classroom – Happy Birthday Echo360

Two decades of enhancing students’ lives with technology in the classroom – Happy Birthday Echo360

The International Space Station began construction in 1998, Europeans agree on a single currency – the Euro, and in that same year, Echo360’s senior product development engineer Shaun Procter and his colleagues Mike Fardon and Michael Neville made a life changing resource for students.

Working in the Faculty of Arts’ Multimedia Centre at The University of Western Australia at the time, Shaun and Mike noted that it was taking 2 full time people and 2 rooms of cassette tapes for students to access recordings of lectures. As the technology that the multimedia programmers created moves into its 21st year, it is amazing to realise that many students who attend university today will never have known what it was like not to be able to watch a lecture when, where and on whatever device they choose.

For lecturers, the development of lecture capture (known in 1998 as iLecture) changed learning and teaching in the least obtrusive way possible; as long as you had a microphone, you could turn up, teach and know that your students could listen – or relisten – at a later date.

In 2007 the software was awarded a Carrick Institute Award for the enhancement of learning and teaching in Australian higher education and has continued to be recognised by organisations such as EdTech Digest and Inside Higher Ed and is again being recognised this year as a finalist in the CODiE awards.

While lecture capture has become part of the normal fabric of university life, Shaun, along with colleagues at Echo360 has continued to develop tools and evolve features that support both students and instructors with teaching and learning. From time stamped note-taking to polling and quizzing to analytics and ASR, being able to more fully engage students in their learning and then to track the learning behaviour of those students has changed lectures for the better.

“Incredibly smart and innovative minds like Shaun’s are what helps Echo360 be the leader in video technology in education. His work in the development of fully-featured, highly reliable lecture capture solutions and his leadership in evolving how technology can be used to engage students in the classroom has positively impacted the learning experiences of many millions of students on a global scale for more than two decades. At Echo360, we’re very proud to call Shaun Procter our colleague, and look forward to sharing our journey to build smarter classroom technology with him for many years to come.” 

Fred Singer, CEO, Echo360

Changes in technology happen quickly and no-one, not even Shaun could have foreseen a time when Echo360 was used in higher education to reach more than two million learners at approximately 1,200 schools and organisations across 30 countries. Students continue to demand more technology in the classroom and being a leader in the educational technology space, it’s our privilege to be at the forefront of developing new features to assist teachers and students in their quest for higher learning.  For the last 21 years, we have had the pleasure of hearing students make comments such as, “I wouldn’t have done as well on my exams without Echo360; it’s a really smart move by the university”.

Of course, taking Echo360 from software that could capture a lecture to where it is today has not been achieved alone. From Curtin University and the University of Melbourne who began using lecture capture in 2002, to The University of Adelaide who joined us in 2015, to hundreds of higher education institutions around the world, the people who form the Echo360 user community have been generous with their support, feedback and guidance. Over 21 years, Shaun has built deep and trusting relationships with people who use his technology and, as he himself says, “ when Echo360 is considering a new feature, I often pick up the phone and speak with members of our user community and get their insight, expertise and perspective before starting”.

Echo360 wouldn’t exist without Shaun Procter. And just as he, Mike and Michael did in 1998, we continue to be driven by the goal of making content as accessible to students as possible.  In a few years, Shaun’s eldest son will have the opportunity to tell his dad, “thank you for helping me through university”.

Congratulations on your 21st anniversary Shaun and Happy Birthday Lecture Capture!

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