Pilot Study of Classroom Recording Technologies

In recent semesters, we have piloted three low-cost ways to make classroom recordings:

  • Audio-only automated recording, where just the instructor's voice is captured in a large lecture hall with permanently installed hardware
  • Audio-only recording using a portable device, where instructor's and students' voices are captured around a seminar table in a small room 
  • Audio recording plus screen-capture using Sympodium hardware, where a movie of screen activity, including PowerPoint, is created with a synchronized audio track of the instructor's voice.
Mac Mini, used for audio-only automated recording     Edirol R09 Portable Recorder     Sympodium hardware for capturing a movie of screen activity
We tracked the costs and labor involved with these technologies, and surveyed instructors and students both before and after the semester.  
We obtained some interesting results from our surveys.  For example, 74% of students who responded listened to at least one of the recordings that were posted, and more than half of the students reported listening to four or more of the recordings.

On the other hand, students responding to the survey overwhelmingly said that the availability of recordings did NOT make them any less likely to attend class.


Additional details about our study and our results are available by clicking on the links to our conference poster and the accompanying handout, near the bottom of this page.


An example of a recording made by Mark Hermannson in Chemistry using the Symopodium in 2007 is available by clicking here.

(Note:  You'll need the free QuickTime player to view the movie, and it's best if you click anywhere in the video rectangle to open it in a new window, because the "embedded" page for this example seems to crop the frame strangely - this isn't a problem with the full-length videos though.)

Further Details 

The poster that we presented at the New Media Centers' 2007 Summer Conference is linked here. (200KB PDF file)

The accompanying handout is linked here. (250KB PDF file)

The questions that we used in our surveys are linked below, in text files:


This project was funded by an Instructional Technology Grant in SAS at Penn in the Spring of 2007.

The project was deemed exempt from oversight in its use of human subjects by the Institutional Review Board of the Office of Regulatory Affairs at Penn.  (IRB Protocol #805275)