Southern Illinois University (SIU) has a long tradition of nurturing student success, access, and opportunity through outstanding teaching. Increasingly, educational technology has played an important role in helping to achieve those goals, and in 2015, SIU selected Echo360 as its academic video platform. The selection had benefits for instructors, students, and administrators alike. Instructors only had to learn a single technology. Students gained access to new learning tools. And, it allowed the university to achieve cost efficiencies by consolidating video and student engagement technology into a single platform – Echo360.

Video and Student Engagement Tools Combined in a Single Tool

“We had been using another lecture capture system for more than 10 years,” said Jeff Garner, Media Specialist and Echo360 system administrator who works at SIU’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). “We were also using a variety of other student engagement tools such as clickers and other technology. Sometimes the associated costs had to be passed on to students. We decided to consolidate with Echo360 since lecture capture and student engagement tools are included. Echo360 gives us the same capability that we had before, but in a single application. Now, instructors have only one system to learn and they can access and use all the tools they need with a single login and password. Echo360 is also a bit easier for students to use and the system includes other features, such as notetaking, Q&A discussion tools, and confusion flags. Those are tools that benefit students and instructors alike,” says Garner.

“Slow and Steady” Approach Leads to User Adoption and Growth

SIU began pilot programs with Echo360 in 2015. According to Garner, a “slow and steady” approach to implementation has helped with user adoption.

Since the 2017 academic year, more than 22,000 lectures and classrooms have been recorded. The number of instructors and students using the technology has also grown dramatically. Nearly 100 instructors and more than 1,000 students currently use the system and that continues to grow. As instructors incorporate Echo360 student engagement tools into their courses, students have responded to more than 5,000 polls, questions, and other activities each month.

“What has helped us grow is that we started slowly. This approach allowed instructors to become comfortable with the technology,” says Garner. “We began by doing what we had been doing in the past – recording lectures. Instructors were already used to that, and we let the instructors decide when they were ready to move on. From there, we’ve been able to encourage and support instructors who would like to increase student engagement by using the tools included in Echo360.” 

Video Technology Helps Meet the Needs of Modern Students

According to Garner, technology like Echo360 helps SIU meet the needs of today’s changing student population.

“Students today are very different than those in the past. Many or most of them work part-time or even full-time and may even have families of their own so providing convenient access to their course content is vital. They are used to technology in all other aspects of their lives, so the modern classroom shouldn’t be any different. Technology such as Echo360 helps us move beyond the traditional brick and mortar classroom and evolve into a new type of learning experience for students.”

Find out more about how Echo360 can improve learning outcomes at your university.

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