At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Veterinary Medicine (UIUC Vet Med), video plays an important role in modern veterinary education. Since 2011, UIUC Vet Med has used Echo360 to record all the lectures presented in the College’s core Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program.  The College began using Echo360’s cloud-based solution in 2017. Students who are enrolled in the program, use the lecture recordings as a reference aid to review course lectures and other classroom content presented during years one through three while they are fully immersed in clinic life during year four.

Echo360’s easy-to-use content management and scheduling system helps to keep the administrative workload of scheduling and maintaining video captures to a minimum. This gives administrators and instructional designers more time to work with instructors on activities designed to increase student engagement, promoting deeper learning and understanding.

Creating a Video Ecosystem to Record Everything Presented in Class

Terrence Stuber, Coordinator of Audiovisual Services (AV) at UIUC Vet Med is the primary Echo360 administrator.  As an audiovisual specialist, he has helped to integrate Echo360 into the UIUC Vet Med’s AV architecture of cameras and other capture devices that are used to record everything presented in the classroom. Over the course of the 2018 academic year alone, Stuber used Echo360 to easily and automatically schedule over 1,000 classroom video captures.

“We have Echo360 video appliances installed in our traditional lecture facilities, in a flexible learning space that is used primarily for lectures, and within our video-conferencing center,” says Stuber. “The Echo360 appliances are connected to Crestron control systems. This allows us to control and manage multiple audio and video sources that can feed directly into the Echo360 system. In one room we use Echo360 Universal Capture and we have two cameras, one recording the presentation screen, the other recording the presenter. There are also other devices such as document cameras and wireless screen sharing solutions that we can use. And finally, we also capture the audio from the speaker microphone. From there we can create an audio only recording or it can have both the audio and video.”

Stuber plans to install Echo360 Universal Capture, next-gen video capture software that functions identically on Mac and Windows computers, in UIUC Vet Med’s lecture facilities and conference rooms, making an already powerful lecture capture system even more robust.

“Echo360 Universal Capture makes it very easy for instructors who teach electives to record their presentations,” says Stuber. “That means they don’t have to contact me. If they need to record something ‘on-the-fly,’ they can do that with just a few clicks on their computers,” he says. “Universal Capture will help us make sure we’re recording all the video our students need to successfully complete their course of study,” he says.

Echo360 Batch Scheduling Capability Saves Time and Effort

According to Stuber, Echo360’s bulk scheduling capability reduces the amount of time required to schedule videos. Unlike other video platforms, Echo360 permits bulk scheduling using .CSV file format.

“As one can imagine, lecture capture is only a small portion of the duties and responsibilities given to someone with ‘audiovisual services’ in their title. The bulk scheduling feature of Echo360, where I can import and schedule hundreds of lectures for each course, takes me only about 20 minutes per course. I can do all my scheduling on the Friday before each term starts.”

Stuber says that once he schedules lectures for recording, he only needs to make changes on rare occasions.

“The course coordinators will let me know if the schedule has changed and it’s very easy to modify the recording schedule. Overall, the batch scheduling capability means that a process that would normally take me over 30 hours a year is reduced to about 3 and a half hours. It’s a ten-fold improvement,” says Stuber. “There are obviously other lecture capture platforms out there, but they don’t have the ease of scheduling that Echo360 does. Given the number of lectures that we are scheduling and recording, Echo360 is the way for us to go.”

Moving from Video Capture to a More Active, Engaging, Learning Experience

Since launching Echo360 in 2017, UIUC Vet Med has placed emphasis on ensuring every class is recorded. However, Stuber has worked to train faculty and staff on other Echo360 capabilities such as student engagement features and analytics.

“Since scheduling has become so easy, I use the free time I’ve gained to work with our instructors to show them how they can further engage students in classroom learning with Echo360. I help them understand features such as Universal Capture, or the student engagement features, analytics, as well as brainstorm other ways to make student learning more engaging and effective.”

One example Stuber cites occurred in the Fall of 2018. He worked with an instructor teaching an animal behavior class to third-year students, helping her to upload videos, presentations, and create activities to ensure students participate during class.

“She required every student to come to class with their laptop so they could participate in all of the activities,” Stuber says. “She found the ability to ask open-ended questions especially powerful. This forced her students to explain their answers and demonstrate their thinking behind the answer, which in turn sparked further classroom discussion.”

According to Stuber, students especially liked the Echo360 discussion forum, where they could ask questions anonymously. The forum stimulated group discussion and peer-to-peer learning.

“The students participated in the discussion threads and really liked the fact that they didn’t have to wait for the instructor to answer questions; they could work together to come up with the answers.”

For Stuber, helping more instructors in this way is part of the process of creating a more active, engaging, and personalized learning experience for students at UIUC Vet Med.

“It is definitely a process that starts with making sure we capture everything in the classroom on video. Students can then use the video for review. And as we incorporate more of the active learning features, students will be able to use polling questions and other activities for review to master the information. Echo360 helps us engage more with our students, thereby helping them to learn more, and that is the most important thing.”

Questions? Learn more about how Echo360 can improve learning outcomes at your institution.

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