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Faculty, students say BoilerCast’s effect on learning is positive

Biology Professor David Bridges knows it can take multiple explanations of a complex process before a student gets it, but a 50-minute lecture limits the amount of time he can devote to the biological processes covered in his human anatomy and physiology course.

Fortunately for Bridges’ students, BoilerCast ensures his explanations are available for repeated review well after the lecture is over.

For the past three years, Bridges has arranged for class recordings with BoilerCast, ITaP’s automated lecture audio and screen recording service. After submitting a request prior to the semester, the visual presentations from Bridges’ lectures are captured in LILY 1105, one of more than 250 BoilerCast-enabled classrooms on campus. In addition to lectures, evening help sessions before exams are also recorded – a big help for students with other commitments who cannot attend. Students access BoilerCast recordings by clicking on a Web link provided by ITaP.

“They can go back over the material as fast or slow as they want and go over particularly difficult parts as many times as they want. I think that’s the real value,” Bridges says.

A recent ITaP study conducted to measure BoilerCast’s effectiveness as a tool for student learning found that 72 percent of faculty respondents to a survey feel the classroom-recording technology facilitates learning. The survey data was gathered during the 2012 fall semester, which coincided with a 60 percent increase in faculty use of BoilerCast from the previous fall. The surge resulted in more than 150,000 student downloads of class recordings last semester.

This spring semester, Professor David Meyer requested BoilerCast for all three of his courses in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He says the service accommodates students’ different learning styles and helps international students who may be struggling with English.

“It’s easy to use, and it’s great that you don’t really have to do anything during the recording. You’re just walking and talking,” Meyer says.

Though Bridges and Meyer both initially worried about BoilerCast’s effect on attendance, neither has seen a noticeable change. 

Other results from the BoilerCast study found that 86 percent of student respondents reported viewing class recordings at least once a semester – with a quarter of those students indicating weekly usage.

Yingchao Yang, a first-year international student at Purdue, said she consults BoilerCast recordings multiple times a semester, typically when she needs to catch up on a missed lecture or is searching for help with an equation from one of her courses. “As an engineering student, I really consider BoilerCast helpful,” Yang says.

Yang accesses class recordings by logging into her student account in Blackboard Learn, one of several publishing options available to instructors.

“One of the big advantages of publishing BoilerCast recordings to Blackboard Learn is everything is in the same place for the students,” says ITaP educational technologist Adam Hagen. “In addition, instructors who upload intellectual property to Learn can easily limit access to content this way.”

Enabling lecture capture in the classroom is simple and only requires faculty to submit a request for a classroom recording before the start of each semester. For further assistance in incorporating technology in instruction, contact ITaP’s teaching and learning group.

Writer: Jonathan Hines, technology writer, ITaP, 765-496-7998, hines18@purdue.edu

Sources: David Bridges, professor of biological sciences, 765-494-8153, bridgesc@purdue.edu

David Meyer, professor of electrical and computer engineering, 765-494-3476, meyer@ecn.purdue.edu

Yingchao Yang, yang638@purdue.edu

Adam Hagen, educational technologist, ITaP, hagenab@purdue.edu

Larry French, manager of learning spaces operations, ITaP, 765-496-3694, lfrench@purdue.edu

Last updated: Feb. 4, 2013