Our reinforcing loop

My contribution to the ALT-C conference was a joint presentation with Mo Pamplin, who is one of the e-learning support people from our school of social sciences.  We were discussing the use of lecture capture, where lectures are recorded on video so that students can catch up with them afterwards, and picked up on the module on which I had used this technology because I had used a lot of interactive activities, and the students seemed as keen to use lecture capture to reprise student presentations and group discussions, as to review formal material that I had delivered.

One of the slides that we used contained this diagram here.  It’s deliberately presented as a ‘reinforcing loop’ where two different effects at least have the scope to complement each other.  It shows the relationship between using an innovation, in this case lecture capture, as an adjunct to existing techniques, and the use of the same innovation as an enabler of new techniques.

The concept in the middle of the diagram comes from Randy Garrison, of the University of Calgary, who is a prolific and influential writer on the use of technology in education.  Moreover my own practice is influenced  by Garrison, notably through his contribution to the community of inquiry model.  But I’m not sure that I really accept his dismissal of new technology when it’s added ‘as an extra layer’.  One aspect of my use of lecture capture was that in some cases it made sense to regard the lecture capture camera as a true ‘fly on the wall’ where I didn’t allow it to affect my practice.

There’s a particular reason that I didn’t want to change my practice: where lecture capture is based around a camera focused on the lecturer’s traditional workspace at the front of the room, it’s tempting for lecturers to adopt a didactic style of simply holding forth to a group of students.  The dichotomy between the adjunct and the enabler is one that I’d suggest applies to most innovations in teaching and learning.  But lecture capture is unusual – though I suspect not unique – in that its effect on teaching and learning styles could appear regressive, that it could be seen as most relevant to the most traditional approaches to teaching, because so much of the innovation in recent decades has been about moving towards participative approaches.


One Response to “Our reinforcing loop”

  1. David Barry Says:

    lecture capture as adjunct =horseless carriage

    lecture capture as enabler = second stage innovation…..

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