When you ask students why they like to have lectures recorded, one word that comes up frequently is “flexibility.” Giving students the flexibility to view recorded lectures from a desktop, laptop, or other mobile device provides more ways to access course content. And students want and need to be able to access that content at places and during times that are convenient to them.

Video Capture Helps Students with Flexible Learning Needs

“Our survey research revealed that many undergraduates have some sort of flexible learning need,” says Stefan Mladjenovic, a fourth-year student in the Honors Life Sciences program at McMaster University. “Having the flexibility to access learning content on-demand helps students address their specific needs,” he adds.

Mladjenovic, along with Pulkit Sahi worked under the direction of Dr. Katie Moisse and surveyed students in the Life Sciences Faculty. Their findings revealed that Echo360 helps reduce barriers to instruction and gives students more ways, i.e. flexibility, to access their learning content.

  • Of 247 students surveyed, 76% reported using Echo360 in courses administered in the Faculty of Science
  • Of those students who have used Echo360, nearly 88% identified as having a flexible learning need (i.e., they are registered with Student Accessibility Services and require accommodation, they care for a loved one, they commute to campus, etc.)
  • 92% of these students reported that Echo360 made their course more accessible
  • 84% of these students stated that it helped them to understand course content

According to Mladjenovic, there are many reasons why students need such flexibility.

“We defined ‘flexible learning needs’ very broadly and it covers a wide range of students,” he says. “For example, it can include students who work and may have to care for a child. They may need to miss class because of work or other outside responsibilities. But it also includes those students with physical or other disabilities that may make it difficult for them to attend class. If students have many ways to access their learning content, it means they are more likely to be able to keep up with their studies.”

A qualitative study on staff and student views of classroom capture published in the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education in 2019 supports the McMaster findings. Students surveyed felt video lecture capture ‘reduced anxiety, particularly for those with disabilities, indicating that lecture capture may be a useful tool in creating an environment that supports mental wellbeing.’

Captions and Video Transcripts Help with Student Comprehension, Focus, and Retention

McMaster University student Sarah Willis-Habibi is a third-year student in the combined Honors Program of Arts and Science. She says that tools such as Echo360’s automatic speech recognition (ASR), which can be used to create captions and searchable transcripts of recorded video is important for all students whether or not they have a disability.

“There may not always be an interpreter available in class or for an online course,” says Willis-Habibi. “Transcripts and captioning are very important for students with hearing disabilities,” she says. “But all students can benefit from captions. A searchable transcript can help students prepare and review for exams. And every student who has a need may not have gone through the process of requesting accommodation through the accessibility services office, so having captions and transcript definitely helps all students.”

Research conducted by Oregon State University supports Willis-Habibi’s view that captions and transcripts are helpful learning tools. The study found that captions and transcripts are beneficial to students beyond those with auditory or visual disabilities. 98.6 percent of students surveyed said captions are helpful and 85 percent said they use transcripts as a learning tool to help them study, review, and retain information. More than half of the students surveyed also said captions helped with comprehension and the combination of captions and transcripts helped them focus.

An article from the Journal of Instructional Pedagogies published in May 2019, Objective Assessment of Closed Caption Video, found that “students significantly improved their knowledge about the video after they watched a closed caption version of the video versus a no closed caption one. This effect was more evident when the question required students to engage in a deeper level of processing of the video content… Interestingly, students who were not exposed to the closed caption videos performed significantly poorer in answering the deeper level question and had less positive attitudes toward the use of closed caption videos in class.”

Creating an Accessible Learning Community

As a student himself, Mladjenovic is adamant about how Echo360 supports student learning. He says that lecture recordings and features such as captions and video transcripts, student engagement tools, and discussion boards combine to create a community and environment that is more conducive to learning.

“Our research showed that students who had these flexible learning needs benefited in some way when Echo360 was used in their class,” says Mladjenovic. “It can be used to live-stream lectures online or students can watch videos that have already been recorded. That capability supports students who may not be able to physically attend a class, for whatever reason. Overall, our findings showed that Echo360 made course content more accessible, more engaging, encouraged greater participation and engagement, and enhanced their ability to understand the material being presented.”

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

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