A quiet revolution is gaining speed in colleges and universities worldwide.

No, people aren’t beating down the schools’ doors, but there is an important paradigm shift under way because educators and university leaders are embracing technology; more specifically, video.

A recent study from Wainhouse Research revealed the ability to capture lectures as video for student access is a key success factor in increased retention and graduation.

From lecture capture to flipped classrooms to streaming education, video technology is a key driver of advancements in higher education. But what drives the successful use of video on campus?  How do you facilitate a campus-wide shift to leveraging video strategically?  More importantly, how do you instill a strong video culture on your campus?

What is “Video Culture?”

Blog_student-sitting-laptop-backpackFirst, let’s define what a strong video culture means.

Having a video culture means all students have access to online, anytime video at their fingertips. It means faculty members use video to take courses to the next level, and administrators facilitate staff development, preserve campus knowledge and events and offer competitive programs.

Student achievement and retention is strengthened with video, and you have a unified campus video library. Your institution is competitive with flexible programs that reach more students.

A video culture sounds pretty great, right? It’s not as daunting as it might seem to get there, and it’s important that you do.

Students Expect Video and Its Culture

Duquesne University Mylan School of PharmacyAt Campus Technology 2016, Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Institute of Technology educator and author, said during his keynote that you can’t change the old order by fighting it, but rather you find new inventions that make the old way obsolete.

He’s absolutely correct. From an educational standpoint, that means it’s essential that a shift in campus attitude to embrace technology occurs. Technology buy-in from all players–faculty, administration and students–is important.

The students are the easy part of this equation. They don’t consider online, anytime instruction a luxury. It’s a staple in their minds. They’ve grown up with technology their whole lives, and in this world of Facebook Live, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix, not being able to watch a lecture in real-time from a distance or review that content on-demand is counter intuitive.

Video Supplements, Not Disrupts

Male Tutor Teaching University Students In ClassroomHowever, others on campus, especially some faculty, haven’t always been as quick to embrace technology. And that’s completely understandable. The idea of changing the way you teach or incorporating unknown, seemingly complicated technologies can be scary. They might ask themselves, “What if the technology doesn’t work? What if students stop coming to class because they can watch lectures anywhere on their own time?”

These are valid questions, but the reality is that with the right technology, faculty won’t have to change the way they teach.

Fully automated and integrated classrooms with a scalable enterprise video solution, like Mediasite, helps universities reach the tipping point faster in terms of faculty use. Faculty can simply walk into a room that’s already been scheduled to be recorded, they teach, and the video stops at the end of class. Students can watch live or on-demand right in their learning management systems, and they’ll be able to see video of the instructor and supporting materials such as slides.

Bottom line: Students will still come to class. The presence of capture in classrooms creates a natural transformation of the classroom, such that students are engaged, focusing more on what the faculty is sharing versus focusing on capturing everything being shared.

With the pressure of in-class note taking relieved, students are using the videos for review while doing homework assignments and studying for exams. Instructors can also pre-record video lectures for students to watch prior to class (a flipped approach), and class time is then reserved for discussion and collaboration.

Video, or Lecture Capture, Improves Student Retention

luckyAccording to the Wainhouse Research report, “Streaming and Lecture Capture for Education and Training Market 2016,” authored by Senior Analyst and Partner Alan Greenberg, schools that incorporate lecture capture reported improved retention and grades. At least one-third of the higher education leaders Wainhouse surveyed believe that lecture capture improves student retention.

  • Take 16-year-old Luckey Hlatshwayo, for example. He lives in one of the most rural areas of South Africa. He’s one of more than 54,000 students and 3,000 teachers who participate in the Internet Broadcast project at University of the Free State in which schools receive video lectures from qualified teachers. In some schools, pass rates increased to 100 percent! He’s the first person in his family to attend university, and without video technology that would have just been a dream, he says.
  • Rosalyn Yorke, a student in the School of Biological Sciences at University of Leeds, says despite her very best efforts, she’s never going to pick up on 100 percent of what a lecturer says during class. Luckily for her, she’s able to review lectures anytime she wants, because University of Leeds has the largest automated lecture capture deployment in the world. She and her classmates say they appreciate the tremendous flexibility having a lecture capture system affords. They’re retaining knowledge better and seeing improved grades.
  • Instructors in the University of Florida – Department of Physics run experiments and collect data during lectures so students can see science in action–whether they’re in the lab or watching online. The university created a Lightboard video studio, essentially a glass chalkboard, allowing the instructor to write notes and draw equations while facing the camera, never having to turn their backs on the viewers. Data has shown that students who watch the video lectures before attending class have grades averaging 12 points higher than the rest of the class.

So What Now?

Take a deep breath and step back. Start at the simplest level: Hit record in as many rooms as possible, and watch the change in campus culture happen naturally.

From there, students and faculty will soon become creators, not just simply lecturers and viewers. Video will become widespread. Early success will drive further adoption…and further success.

Don’t feel pressured to over-plan the early days of your video strategy. Plans will become obvious and can be fine-tuned with time once video is moving around your campus naturally. The most important, and perhaps the simplest, thing you can do right now is to just hit record.

This column first appeared in eCampus News