CUNY Hybrid Initiative

Why should I do lecture capture?

Do you and your students need a more flexible schedule? Are you worried about missed classes because of the weather? Do your students need to review certain points of your lecture? You might want to give lecture capture a try.

There are two broad models for lecture capture:

In the first model, the instructor records some or all live classes and makes them available for students to review. This model requires very little re-engineering of the way a class is taught, and is ideal for courses that rely heavily on instructor-focused presentations. The recording can be made available after the live class is over, or it can be webcast live for students who aren’t on campus. The video could include an image of the instructor, but more importantly it will include anything projected electronically (slides, webpages, etc.).

In the second model, the instructor pre-records lectures and makes them available to students before a face-to-face class; this is sometimes called “flipping the classroom“, because students watch lectures at home and engage interactively with the course content and the instructor in class. Delivering lectures asynchronously means you and your students don’t have to be online at the same time. You can also re-purpose course material in concurrent sections of the same course or in future semesters.

The advantages for students are common to both models (recording live classes or pre-recording lectures). Lecture capture allows students to:

  • review complex topics so they can correct or flesh out the notes they took in class;
  • watch the recordings to study for exams;
  • catch up with the material if they missed a class.

Choosing a technology for lecture capture depends on a number of variables, including the operating system of the computer you will use to capture the lecture, whether you want to webcast the lecture live, and how much post-lecture production you’re willing to take on to make the content available to students. Here are some options:

Blackboard Collaborate: Collaborate is a web conferencing tool that you can add to your Blackboard menu. Its features include an interactive whiteboard; application and web page sharing; and indexing capabilities. Check out some of these videos to learn more about it.

Recycle your sessions by converting the recordings to mp4 files using Elluminate Publish. We recommend the Windows OS for this.

Adobe Connect: Adobe Connect is a web conferencing tool which can be used for live webcasting, lecture capture, content repository and delivery. It’s platform-agnostic, cloud-based, and requires only a flash plug-in. You can share a video capture of yourself along with your screen; you can display documents and rich media content; and you can conduct public and private chats, and take polls.

Visit the CTL podcasting page for more information. If you want to set up an Adobe Connect account, contact Jean Kelly at

Having a backup plan for synchronous online lectures

Occasionally, internet connection can be interrupted during a synchronous online session, regardless of how carefully you set up your virtual space and equipment. It could take a while for the connection to be restored and in the meantime, you’re losing precious class time. So it’s a good idea to have a backup plan. For example, be prepared with materials (PowerPoint slides, Word documents, links to websites) that you can distribute to students once your internet connection has been restored.

Screen recording tools for asynchronous lecture capture

JingProbably the greatest thing since sliced bread… Capture anything you see on your screen (static or moving pictures!), add captions, callouts, narration, and share instantly. There’s a free and pro version.

CamtasiaJing’s big brother. There’s a lot you can do with this: record your screen; import video and audio files; record a voiceover; edit; create transitions; add captions.  If you want to explore, download a free trial version for your PC or  Mac. For more information, contact Jean Kelly at

Screencast-O-MaticThis online screen recording tool adds visual hints to your cursor, making this a great tool for creating tutorials.

My Screen RecorderRecord your screen with audio with this Windows-compatible program. Read a review and download a free trial version here.

QuickTime X (Mac only): Record your screen with audio and save it to your local drive. QuickTime X is free with Mac Snow Leopard and Lion. Watch a brief presentation beginning at 0:26:55. (Thanks to Franklin Turner!)

PowerPoint on YouTube: Adding narration to your PowerPoint presentation makes a huge file which will take a while to upload to Blackboard. And if your students don’t have the same version, they may not even be able to play it. A workaround is to save it as a movie and stream it on YouTube. This tutorial will show you how.

The tools listed above are all ones you can learn to use yourself. Contact us if you want us to show you how.

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What is Netiquette and why should I teach it?

We expect our students to use appropriate language when participating in an in-class discussion or talking to us during office hours, when answering written questions on an exam or writing up a term paper. We know that our students don’t talk to their professors the same way they talk to their close friends, and we acknowledge that one of the great challenges in higher education is bringing students up to speed with the discourse conventions for our particular disciplines: teaching students to speak and write as scientists or sociologists or literary critics.

But we have all experienced how the anonymity of cyberspace sometimes makes people forget expectations for communication. (The Internet is kind of a weird place.) And, despite many college students’ familiarity with social media, they need to be reminded of the differences between casual social interactions and academic communications, be these in the form of emails, blog posts, or discussion forum posts. In fact, the best way to instigate the kind of communication you want to see in your students is to offer clear expectations. Just like you might provide a style sheet when assigning a paper for a class, consider offering your students guidelines for online communication, and model your expectations with them in all your communications with your class.

Guidelines for online behavior vary quite a bit depending on the context, but all Netiquette recommendations have a few basics in common:

  • Typing in all caps is the equivalent of shouting, so don’t do it.
  • Proofread your writing before sending or posting.
  • Respect other peoples’ privacy, time, and bandwidth.
  • “Lurk before you leap”: if you’re new to a blog or a forum, don’t post right away; look around a bit to understand the protocol.

If you don’t want to compose your own guidelines, you could ask your students to visit The Core Rules of Netiquette and take a netiquette quiz. Here are some additional resources that address issues of Netiquette:

Netiquette and Online Behavior (Loyola University Chicago Online) Online Manners Matter
Beyond Emily: Post-ing Etiquette
Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship