Drake University is close to making a decision about what the next generation of lecture capture will be on campus. Since Apple announced the end of Podcast Producer in August Drake has been searching for the technology to replace it. It is chiefly looking at technology to capture video and audio of lectures to be published on iTunes U and Blackboard. The search has come down to two companies: TechSmith and Panopto. A campus committee with representation from each college has been working toward a recommendation for the university.
The two finalist companies presented in Sussman Theater last week for two sessions of one hour each. The events were open to the public for feedback from students, faculty and staff. The audience members were asked to provide feedback on which technology would be best for the classroom environment. The committee plans to use the feedback from the participants to decide on their recommendation.
TechSmith focused on discussing how easy its product is to use. Panopto focused on its product’s flexibility. Both companies provide students with the ability to use the product, which gives professors another way to test students’ growth.
“I could see reasons for students to record and upload content for professors to observe what they are able to do,” said Jean Hansen, online instructional designer for the School of Education. “I could see both of the tools we saw being used for that.”
TechSmith was founded in 1987 by William Hamilton, who remains the company’s president. The company is based out of Michigan.
“Our products are easy, flexible and affordable,” representatives of TechSmith said.
Panopto was founded in 2007 and has over 400 university clients to date. The company is based out of Pennsylvania.
“We tend to operate in a ‘capture everything’ mentality,” representatives of Panopto said.
Both companies also allow for simultaneous video and audio, and screen capture, which would allow, for example, a PowerPoint to be recorded along with a lecture. However, these technologies are versatile, and the campus community can envision other uses for them as well.
“Lecture capture would make capturing guest lecturers significantly easier,” Hansen said.
The final recommendation will be presented to Drake administration before the end of the fall semester.
“Each vendor offered unique solutions for Drake University and the committee feels either would be an excellent choice for deployment on campus,” said James McNab, multimedia producer for the Office of Information Technology.