Augmenting Lectures with Custom Videos

Andres Kwasinski

Assistant Professor
Kate Gleason College of Engineering
Digital Signal Processing, Data & Computer Communications, and Wireless Network
Campus-Based Courses

Andres Kwasinski from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering has been able to use technology to help his students review his classes whenever they need to. Using software that records his voice and demonstrations from his tablet computer, he can provide students with a “re-creation” of the class that they can access through myCourses.

Because students responded positively to this strategy, Andres expanded on the idea by developing and distributing additional sample problems and homework reviews for his students. This gives them more practice and guidance than he would ever be able to fit within his regular lecture period.

Teaching and Learning

Because of his research, including his work with RIT’s Network and Information processing Lab (NetIP), Andres frequently travels to conferences. Since he didn’t want his classes to miss out on lectures, he experimented by recording a lecture for a class to view while he was away.

When he returned, he asked students how the recorded lecture worked for them and received an enthusiastic response. Andres realized that if he recorded his lectures in class—both his voice and the electronic whiteboard that he projects in the room—his students could easily review the lessons as needed to help them with their homework.

Soon, he realized that this same process would enable him to expand his teaching by providing additional reviews and examples that he might not have time for in the classroom. “Example exercises are probably the most important thing that we do in class,” Andre says. Now, he had a way to provide students with extra examples without taking time out from his lectures. He could also give them detailed reviews of specific homework assignments that are important, “but can be dry in the classroom.”

Graphic of class resources

An outline of resources avaiable to students in Andres' courses

Teaching Strategies and Tools

Andres is a long-timer user of tablet PCs and frequently uses one in his research, so it was natural for him to use that as a starting point.

During lectures, he uses a tablet PC connected to the overhead projector to replace the whiteboard. With pdfAnnotator and a stylus, he can write over a previously-prepared PDF file. As he does, Windows Media Encoder records the activity on the display, as well as recording his voice through the computer’s microphone. At the end of the lecture, he has a complete audio and visual recording of the lesson.

After the lecture, he converts the video to MP4 (mpeg4) format and posts the media file to myCourses, along with the lecture notes.

“At the end, students have a record of everything that has transpired during the lecture and they can play it back at any time they want and as many times they want.” They can play the MP4 files on virtually any device, including smartphones, so they can access recordings wherever and whenever they need them.

Andres teaching

Voice and examples from the lecture will be avaiable for students to review that same day.

One aspect of this solution that Andres notes is that he was able to implement it at virtually no cost, since he had already been using the tablet PC and pdfAnnotator. The rest of the software is available as freeware.

Experiences and Results

One concern for Andres when he began posting his full lectures was that students would stop showing up in class. That, however, was not an issue; attendance remained the same. Like Andres, students saw the recordings as a way to augment and complement the lecture and homework experience, not to replace the lecture.

In all, the videos received “a very good reception from the students.” One indication of this is that over half of his students mentioned the videos in an open-ended question on the course evaluations.