Users Share Experiences Using Echo360 to Boost Student Engagement, Promote Greater Participation and Inclusivity, and Improve Student Outcomes

Did you miss the Echo360 User Community Conference? No worries! This is the second in a series of three articles recapping presentations from each day.

Presenters during day two of the Echo360 User Community Conference tackled the topics of inclusivity and the importance of providing different ways for students to attend classes. They highlighted the many ways they use Echo360 to create engaging learning experiences that can help their institutions attract and reach a wider group of students.

Echo360 Provides the Tools Instructors Need to Help Students Succeed

Echo360 is deployed university-wide across multiple campuses at  Augusta University and installed in 113 classrooms and teaching spaces. Over the past two years, video views of lectures and presentations recorded using Echo360 grew from a total of 96,000 during the Fall 2019 term to over 328,000 in the Fall 2020 term, an increase of over 300 percent.

Amy Triana, Director, University IT Customer Experience at Augusta told conference attendees that Echo360 gives instructors important tools to help students succeed, including:

  • Increasing engagement through Echo360’s embedded polling and interactive media
  • Providing captions and transcripts that help with ADA compliance to help meet the needs of students with different learning needs who require accommodations
  • Enabling more blended or flipped learning that allows instructors to use class time for active interaction with students
  • Giving students greater opportunities to apply their learning during class time under the supervision of an instructor
  • Providing a backup for lecture presentations in case of unexpected student or instructor absence, and
  • Giving students the ability to review lectures and classroom presentations on-demand at a time and place of their choosing


Watch the presentation by Amy Triana, Innovating for The Future. Empowering Our Students with The Tools to Succeed. How Augusta University Leverages the Echo360 Platform to Support Its Students.

Using Echo360 to Create a Sense of “Belongingness” in The Classroom

Dr. Perry Samson from the University of Michigan and senior VP for teaching innovations at Echo360 spoke on the topic of inclusivity in STEM education; a field where women and minorities are often underrepresented.

Dr. Samson challenged traditional views on the importance of classroom attendance and said that instructors need to be more flexible in how they deliver classes by embracing hybrid or online learning. He said that such flexibility helps to improve access, fosters a more inclusive environment, and ultimately helps universities attract and teach a wider range of students.

Dr. Samson demonstrated how he uses Echo360 to create a more inclusive learning experience. With Echo360, he creates both the expectation and environment for greater participation. He uses Echo360 student response tools to increase the number of interactions he has with his students during each class. Even in large lecture classes with 200 or more students, Dr. Samson expects them to participate.

The Goal is Simple: Get Students to Ask More Questions

In addition to adding 4-5 “polling” questions during his lectures where students are able and expected to respond anonymously, Dr. Samson encourages students to use the Echo360 “chat” feature to create a “backchannel” for discussion. Using this feature, students can anonymously ask and receive answers to their questions during class.

Samson says it is important for students to ask questions when they have them during the flow of the lecture. He along with a teaching assistant (TA) reviews student responses during his lectures. They often form the basis of discussion where he has the opportunity to clear up misunderstandings. If there isn’t time to answer a question during class, Dr. Samson or his TA will respond after class. Every student’s question is answered, and no one is left out ensuring that each student is heard.

Dr. Samson’s research reveals that more students will ask questions when allowed to raise questions anonymously. He says this helps to create a sense of “belongingness,” which creates a more inclusive environment, especially among women, first-generation students, and students for whom English is not their first language.

Since adopting this approach in his teaching, Dr. Samson reported that more than 50 percent of his students now ask questions during class. When surveyed, 85 percent of his students said the ability to ask questions during class was a high or huge value to them.

An Invitation to Join and Participate in NSF-Funded Research

Finally, Dr. Samson invited conference attendees to join him in a research project funded by the National Science Foundation. Project participants will use Echo360 to test the degree to which an anonymous backchannel leads to increased volume and breadth of in-class inquiry. The project includes funding to hire a campus project coordinator at each participating university. Instructors who agree to participate will also receive an honorarium.

Watch the presentation by Dr. Perry Samson, Increasing Inclusion in Entry-level STEM Courses.

How Students Use Video to Improve Their Knowledge and Understanding

Dr. Jill MacKay, Senior Lecturer at The University of Edinburgh has researched and written extensively on the benefits of recording classroom lectures. In her presentation, she described research conducted before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic that explored whether lecture recording has helped improve student access and increase their participation, especially among students who are typically underrepresented in higher education.

Dr. MacKay said that many students value being able to use Echo360 recordings for review and reinforce their understanding of the material presented. She went on to say the majority of students did not view an entire lecture recording. Instead, they would view specific sections of the recording to help them build knowledge and understanding.

Among her key findings:

  • 78% of students surveyed used videos to master complex concepts
  • 54% of students used videos to help them learn new skills
  • 48% of students used videos to help prepare for exams
  • Undergraduate students were more likely to watch a recording longer than graduate students

Watch the presentation by Dr. Jill MacKay, Widening Participation with Lecture Recording. Has The Pandemic Helped or Hindered?

Giving Students Flexible Learning Options Contributes to Their Success

In the final presentation of day two, Dr. Katie Moisse an associate professor at McMaster University, and her student partner, Stefan Mladjenovic, co-presented the findings of research they conducted on how students use Echo360, and which features students find beneficial to their learning.

Their findings, largely compiled before the pandemic revealed that while students prefer to learn in person, they also want the flexibility to learn remotely when necessary. Students reported they require flexibility because of illness, work and family commitments, inclement weather, among other factors.

Their research revealed that lecture replay was the most commonly used Echo360 feature and most beneficial to student learning. Other features that were commonly used and considered beneficial to learning include:

  • Pre-recorded videos in blended or hybrid courses
  • Activity slides requiring student response, and
  • Instructor presentation slides

Dr. Moisse reported the vast majority of students said Echo360 made course content more accessible and aided in their understanding of course content. A majority of students also said Echo360 improved their performance, helped them to increase their level of participation in their courses, and made the content more engaging.

Making the Case for Flexible Course Delivery

The most significant findings from her research centered around flexible course delivery. Ninety-nine percent of the students who used Echo360 reported at least one flexible learning need and said that Echo360 benefited them in some way.

Her study, which was conducted pre-COVID found that when given the option to attend classes in-person or via a live stream online, the majority of students attended in person. Dr. Moisse reported there was no significant difference in grades or engagement levels based on how they participated. She also found a strong correlation between student engagement and final grades. This indicates that students who engaged in their learning through Echo360 by attending the lectures and participating in the polling activities succeeded regardless of whether they attended in-person or online.

Post-COVID, the majority of the students said they wanted to continue to have the flexibility to select how they could attend classes. Dr. Moisse said her findings suggest there are ways to give students the flexibility they want without compromising the learning experience.

Watch the presentation by Dr. Katie Moisse and Stefan Mladenovic, Engagement Tracks with Success, In-Person and Online.

If you haven’t already, check out the recap and watch presentations from the first day of our user conference: ICYMI: Echo360 User Community Conference Day One Workshop Focuses on How to Deliver Engaging Online and Hybrid Learning Experiences

From campus video management, lecture capture, to online and hybrid learning and more, contact us to discover how Echo360 can help transform the teaching and learning experience at your institution.