Lecture123 Tour

Red Brick College

Let's take a tour of Lecture123 in use at a fictitious college. We'll experience the system from the perspective of an instructor and students.

Red Brick College has a large population of working students. Student attendance is spotty; many cannot attend all the lectures, due to job and family pressures. Fortunately, Red Brick College has deployed Lecture123. Professor Smith, records each of his lectures using a simple tablet PC and microphone: this recording constitutes an audio track that is fully synchronized with the PowerPoint slides. In addition, questions that students asked during the lecture or after the lecture (through the web interface) are recorded and answered right at the relevant material.

After each lecture is recorded Professor Smith simply posts it on the web and students can replay it at their convenience on any computer.

Additionally, his students can post questions on the material at any time while playing back the lecture by simply right clicking the mouse on the location pertinent to the question.

Professor Smith answers them asynchronously and at his own convenience (he prefers to do it in the morning before leaving for the college). All of this is as simple as answering email.

The email links to a web page where the questions are easily answered and automatically integrated back into the lecture for other students to view and learn from.

Different students have different needs. Not all students learn the same way. Jane is a history student, she listens to just the audio track of the lectures on her mp3 player while jogging or in the car while commuting to and from work. Tom uses only the audio track when reviewing his drum lesson. Stan uses his PDA and headphones in the coffee shop reviewing the psychology lectures that have a lightweight visual component in the form of simple PowerPoint slides that summarize the key ideas in the form of bullets and talking points. Kate, a business school student, uses PowerPoint in the pure visual form, reviewing slides made from the Professor’s scribbles of math formulas describing derivation of the Black Scholes model. All of them use their preferred method of reviewing the material anywhere they go and at the devices of their choice ranging from the mp3 player to a laptop or a desktop. These lectures include not just the professor’s lecture, but also questions and answers at the exact spatial/temporal point of the lecture where they were asked. They also provide the professor with much needed feedback even if only very few students are actually present in class. Eventually, there are very few questions left since they all have been answered. Good professors who have delivered the same lecture multiple times know the feeling - they have already anticipated all the questions and answered them before students ask.

Professor Smith monitors the Q&As from his students to discover areas that need further discussion by looking at histograms showing the distribution of Q&As across the slides of his lecture. He uses these histograms to meet the objectives of his Continuous Quality Improvement action plan.

He might choose to start his next class with a review of topics for which there were may questions. In some cases he has recorded a 5 minute lecturette in his own office outside of class reinforcing the topic and integrating it into the content.

Rather than view an entire lecture, some students prefer to rather search and learn based on topic keywords within the lecture content. Mary searches for all slides with the word “Van Gogh” across all the lectures in her class and then simply plays only the slides with those references. Mary may also search across lectures of other classes in the college and sessions made publicly available from any Lecture123 participant, e.g. content published by Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

The following semester Red Brick decides to roll out tablet PCs to all incoming freshman instead of laptops. Freshman now have the ability to show lecture slides as presented by Professor Smith during class and take notes directly on the tablet with their own pen.