Lecture Capture: Engaging Students and Promoting Active Learning Through Technology

Filed in Efficiency, Featured, Innovation, Student Success by on March 10, 2015

Heath Hatch - UMass AmherstPictured Above: Heath Hatch, Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics, College of Natural Sciences.

By integrating new pedagogies with the latest technology into their classes, UMass Amherst instructors often set the standard for curricular innovation.

Lecture capture, available in over 50 classrooms across campus and at the UMass Center at Springfield, enables instructors to record lectures and other activities during class or create content outside class time. Students can review the recorded content at their own pace, while instructors dedicate class time to activities other than lectures.

Redefining the Classroom Learning Environment

In a “flipped” classroom, videos and recorded lectures are available prior to class, allowing students to prepare and better engage with the material during class. Instructors focus on concept engagement through exercises, group work, and question and answer sessions.

“Students come to class prepared to discuss the material and ask more thoughtful, meaningful questions. A room full of engaged students benefits everyone and makes for a richer learning environment,” says Heath Hatch, UMass Amherst Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics, College of Natural Sciences.

Flexible, Easy to Access Study Tool

The availability of content outside class time has been popular among students, and most students interviewed hoped to see more usage in the future. “[Lecture capture] helps a lot with studying. If I have incomplete notes, it’s easy to go back and make sure everything’s there,” says Paul Fickenwirth, an Accounting and Resource Economics Major.

Benefits of lecture capture, according to Paul and other students, include more effective studying and improved overall learning. Lecture capture content provides students with the flexibility to review course content when it fits into their schedule, the opportunity to revisit complex topics as many times as they need to fully understand the material, and the ability to better prepare for exams. Students can also engage in higher-level learning during class time if lectures and other foundational materials are available online.

Accommodating Different Learning Styles

“If students are too shy to ask me to repeat something, [recorded lectures] allow them to go back and review the lecture material, especially the discussions of in-class exercises. Everyone has different learning styles, so I want to give students all the tools they need to succeed in my class,” says Christiane Healey, Lecturer, Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences.

Responding to the Learning Needs of a New Generation

UMass Amherst students appreciate the expanded learning opportunities lecture capture content offers and exemplify current IT trends in higher education. Research indicates most undergraduate students have come to expect access to course materials outside class time. In 2013, nearly 3 out of 4 students report being interested in more lecture capture activities (ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013).

Classroom technologies such as lecture capture affirm UMass Amherst as a “destination of choice,” providing an academic environment responsive to a new generation of students and their modern communication and learning needs.


Dahlstrom, Eden, J.D. Walker and Charles Dziuban. ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013 (Research Report). Louisville, CO, September 2013.

Contact: Email UMass Amherst IT Communications (it-communications@umass.edu)

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