Lecture Capture Helps A Diverse Student Body Master Content at the University of Massachusetts – Boston

Lecture Capture Helps A Diverse Student Body Master Content at the University of Massachusetts – Boston

At the University of Massachusetts – Boston, diversity across race, age, sexual orientation, and ethnicity has been part of the institution of learning for many years. In fact, UMass Boston is often considered one of the most diverse student bodies in the entire New England region. Looking at nationality alone, over 12% of the student population hails from countries outside the United States.

Beyond its ethnic diversity, the university furthers its mission of serving a wide range of students by housing the College of Advancing and Professional Studies, which caters to adult learners. These students hail from many different backgrounds, but their educational goals are even more varied. Some are pursuing traditional college degrees, but many are professionals seeking continuing education or other specialty credits and degrees that require flexibility and tailored learning.

It’s no wonder then that professors such as David Sigmon, who teaches in the College of Advancing and Professional Studies, thinks extensively about diversity when implementing his teaching pedagogy.

From his perspective, it’s his job to help his students learn, thereby mastering course material, by any means possible.

“I view everything as a tool for the students to use as they see necessary to learn the material,” he explains.

In the classroom, he feels, even professors themselves become tools for learning.

“I view myself as a tool, I view the PowerPoints as a tool,” he describes, laying out his philosophy of how important it is to offer all possible means toward better learning.

Echo360, which Sigmon began using in his classrooms over three years ago, has also become an incredibly important tool for helping his students absorb course material and further their education in ways that match with their abilities, learning styles, and their overall educational goals.

This is because not only does Sigmon teach large classes, but they’re also content heavy, with a large amount of material for students to absorb. Since many of his students are non-traditional learners with a variety of situations to contend with outside the classroom, Sigmon adjusts his teaching style so that he can reach all of them. Using Echo360 in his courses has quickly become a mandatory component of his teaching, in part because his students demanded it—they knew about the technology before he did, and by the time they entered his classroom, they already understood how useful lecture capture could be in a large classroom environment.

Furthermore, because Sigmon’s courses contain so much important content, his students need that extra tool that Echo360 provides with lecture capture in order to boost their learning amid busy, full lives.

This year, Sigmon’s Biology and Nursing courses were recently ranked as the 3rd and 5th highest-viewed recorded lectures on campus, with 2,450 and 2,217 views, respectively. In a student body of over 17,000 students at the combined graduate and undergraduate levels, that’s a lot of views.

Echo360’s lecture capture, in Sigmon’s eyes, puts students at ease because it reduces the likelihood of a “stressful note-taking environment,” and instead, allows students to learn in their own way, on their own time.

In Sigmon’s pathophysiology class, which is offered through the nursing division of the university, many students speak English as a second language.

“It really helps them be able to master the material when they can listen to it at their leisure and slow it down,” he says.

Sometimes, students slow down the course naturally, by asking questions for clarity, either in person or potentially through the platform. At other times, students use the speeding up or slowing down function of Echo360 after class, to help them master the course material at their own pace.

“I do believe that the speeding up and slowing down function is extremely useful, and I actually have had students say that they slow me down to 50% of my normal talking speed.”

One student in particular was constantly overwhelmed in class. At home, with the recorded lecture at her fingertips through Echo360, the student was able to watch the lecture again, take notes, and learn the material in a way that matched her language capability more evenly.

“Because she can listen to it at her own pace at home, this gives her the confidence to be able to master the material,” he explains, offering yet another reason why it’s important to implement any tool necessary to facilitate learning.

Sigmon’s students often use Echo360 outside of class in ways he hadn’t anticipated. One group was engaged in a debate about several aspects of a topic that had been presented in class. After much disagreement and discussion, one of the students in the group suggested that they all resort to the course material content held inside Echo360’s platform in order to settle the debate.

Echo360 easily allowed the students to go back and rewind the class session, enabling them to better understand and master the material in ways that suit the needs of each student.