The Complete Guide to Lecture Capture

What is lecture capture?

“Lecture capture is the process of recording classroom lectures as videos, and making them available for students to review after the class.”

The term “lecture capture” is actually quite broad and can be used to describe a variety of solutions, software, and hardware. You may need to record something as simple as audio and PowerPoint point slides. Or, you might want to capture a camera, computer screen, separate microphone, and webcam all for one class. Lecture capture solutionstake on many forms depending on how each individual intends to use them.

What you’ll learn in this guide

Lecture capture has come a long way over the last few decades. What once involved a multi-camera video production setup now can be done with a single integrated lecture capture solution — no video crew necessary. In an era of reduced budgets, fewer grants, and faculty cutbacks, this is important for many colleges and universities.

Today, everyone from community colleges to prestigious universities are looking to future-proof themselves for a digital learning environment. And even though in-class instruction isn’t going away anytime soon, creating online resources for students is becoming a must for higher education institutions.

Everything you need to know about getting started with a lecture capture solution

Lecture capture 101: Everything you need to know about getting started with a lecture capture solution

We’ve covered a little about what lecture capture is, but how exactly does it work? What should you be looking for in a solution? Let’s look at some of the main features and frequently asked questions about lecture capture.

Can you integrate existing technology with new lecture capture systems?

A key factor for many universities when choosing a lecture capture system is whether or not it can integrate with technology they already have on campus. The good news is, software systems now hook directly into the school’s learning management system (LMS), and hardware options are built to work with existing AV equipment.

Can you schedule lecture recordings in advance?

Not all lecture capture systems allow for this. However, this is a big factor for many decision makers. Some professors like the option to automate recordings so they can focus on teaching rather than technology.

How can you make sure students watch recorded lectures?

One of the advancements over the last few years has been the ability to gain insights through video data. Professors can now see which students watch the recorded lectures, and track how much they’ve seen. They can also hold students accountable by connecting video viewing percentage with their LMS gradebook as a measure of class participation and engagement.

What devices can lectures be viewed on?

The best lecture capture systems don’t limit where lectures can be watched. Look for a system that allows students to choose the best option for them. Whether they have a Mac or PC, iOS or Android device, the content should always be readily available.

Hardware vs software-based lecture capture

Hardware vs software-based lecture capture

Both hardware-based and software-based systems can be used to record lectures. We’ll break down the pros and cons of each.

What is lecture capture hardware?

Lecture capture hardware is an appliance-based platform that is placed physically in a classroom for recording and/or streaming presentations, events, and lectures.

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Lecture capture hardware is physically in a classroom for recording

Image Source: Matrox


  • Records full HD and SD video and audio
  • Captures multiple sources such as document cameras, lecture cameras, or tablets
  • Allows for scheduled lecture recordings
  • Can be relatively hands-off for instructors


  • Rigid recording times and locations
  • Hardware technology ages quickly
  • Upkeep requires lots of technical support

What is lecture capture software?

Lecture capture software lets you record video presentations, manage video files, and stream video content to any device. Software-based systems allow you to record from any standard computer without needing a hardware capture box.


  • Recording flexibility
  • Scalability to any classroom, complementary suite
  • Editing ability
  • Portable content
  • Ad-hoc usage


  • Challenging to incorporate multiple inputs/peripherals
  • Resistance due to changing technologies/practices
  • Licensing and support costs
  • Automatic scheduling is limited

Why use lecture capture

Why use lecture capture?

Give options students want

Allow students to replay lectures so they can carefully review the material they need to succeed.

  • Students take notes with varying degrees of skill and accuracy.
  • In a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 78% of students felt that watching lectures again would help improve retention of class materials. 76% felt it would improve their test scores and 93% would like lessons captured if they have to miss class.

Expand available lectures

Institutions can enhance courses by providing easy access to recorded prerequisite or supplemental material.

  • In some cases, students taking one class might benefit from reviewing lectures from a prerequisite or remedial class.
  • Necessary classes are not offered every term due to budget constraints or faculty cut backs.
  • In a traditional setting, when a professor retires, their unique style for presenting a lecture can “retire” with them. Similarly, in a traditional environment, unless a student is there in person, a lecture from a guest speaker is lost.
  • A professor working in the field might not have access to a traditional classroom, but would like to be able to use a laptop to record and transmit a lecture back to the university.
  • Since recordings using software-based systems can be done on a standard PC or Mac — or even a mobile device — a lecture can be captured in a lecture hall, an office, or even on-site at a hospital. Professors have the flexibility to teach lectures while continuing to do research.
  • Classes ordinarily offered only in the fall of even-numbered years can now be available year-round, even to students studying overseas.

Keep students in school

Let students view lectures they cannot attend, repeat lectures that they did not understand, or review lectures they need for background. Capturing your lectures helps keep students from falling behind.

  • Only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time.
  • In some cases, a student’s normal schedule may be interrupted due to illness or family emergency. The more sessions a student misses, the more likely they are to drop a class or even drop out of the program. Often, dropped classes are not offered again until the following academic year, putting the student further behind and driving up the cost of their education.
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Attract non-traditional students

By making it simple to record and view lectures, you can provide students with a way to “virtually” attend class when and where they are able. Nontraditional students can have access to the same material as students living on campus.

  • For many non-traditional students, attending classes in person can be very difficult. Some are balancing childcare, have physical challenges or are otherwise unable to travel, or have to work during some of the normally scheduled class time hours.
  • As it gets easier to communicate with people around the world, students who live far from campus or even overseas may be interested in furthering their education. This applies not only to students who are simply studying abroad for a semester, but also to students who permanently live in a foreign country. Men and women in the armed forces, for example, may be interested in continuing their education remotely, but are restricted in when or where they can watch a lecture.

Open possibilities for collaboration

Providing a way to share lecture material across geographic boundaries makes it easier for faculty to collaborate on a class and for students to benefit from that collaboration.

  • In some situations, a student would like to take a class that is not offered locally, but may be available at another campus of the university or within the broader academic community.
  • Professors from different campuses, locations, or even universities can jointly develop and offer classes where the lectures are divided among them for a collaborative teaching environment.

How do you record lectures

How do you record lectures?

Recording lectures doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated, but it does need to be flexible. Many classrooms today are set up with hardware-based audio and video equipment that allows instructors to record in-class lectures. But now, thanks to software-based platforms, lectures and videos for online courses can be recorded outside of the classroom as well.

TechSmith Relay, for example, gives instructors multiple ways to use technology for their specific teaching style and supports a variety of teaching methods and approaches. Some instructors simply want to hit a button and record entire lectures. Others enhance recordings with interactive features such as embedded quizzes, or trim out unwanted sections of the video.

Regardless of where your lecture recording takes place, the best lecture capture systems allow instructors to focus on teaching and seamlessly take care of the recording. And while every system is a little different, here are three basic steps that give you the best way to record lectures:

Step 1: Record your video

how to record lectures

Whether you’re using a recorder for in-class lectures, or capturing content on a laptop in your office, it all starts with recording. Always consider audio quality and lighting when recording.

Step 2: Share and manage content

Share and manage content

Next, you’ll want to make sure your videos have somewhere to live long term. Many lecture capture systems integrate with other systems — like your school’s learning management system. This makes your videos easily accessible on BlackboardMoodleCanvas, or other systems your institution uses.

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Step 3: View the analytics

View the lecture capture analytics

Finally, you’ll want to make sure you can view the analytics from your recordings. After your video is uploaded, you can track student success in real-time. Every major platform provider is starting to introduce analytics into their lecture capture solutions. Get detailed reports on viewer engagement and insights into viewing behavior for every video you create.

tips for universities using lecture capture

5 top tips for universities using lecture capture

Here are our best, most actionable lecture capture tips to deliver value for your college or university.

1. Don’t create everything from scratch

Try using images and videos you already have. You can upload files you have on your computer or bring in videos from YouTube, and add your own quizzing and analytics. Or you can even record short “bookend” video clips to introduce an existing piece of video, and then another quick clip at the end to sum it up.

2. Make lectures accessible to all

When you create a video, always ensure you’re making it accessible. This not only includes making sure it can viewed on multiple devices, but also that captions are included. Captions allow viewers with hearing impairments to watch videos and still receive the full value of the content.

Captions are also important in a university setting because they allow students who speak English as a second language to more easily consume the material.

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3. Go beyond the classroom

Don’t restrict your videos to just in-class recordings. You can record your own videosfrom anywhere. Real life examples keep your lectures interesting and engaging.

4. Make lectures interactive

Take advantage of quizzing and polling in your videos to help students actively learn. It can be as simple as adding a question before transitioning topics or as robust as adding a full quiz at the end of a video.

5. Show students rather than just talk at them

Videos can be highly engaging, but it takes a little work. Rather than just speaking over a slideshow, try using screen capture to show students how to explain a tough concept.

Get started with a lecture capture solution

That’s all you need to know about getting started with lecture capture! Getting started with a lecture capture solution makes it possible to expand university learning in exciting new ways:

  • Easy to record lectures – no special equipment or training required. Lectures can be recorded on any Windows, Mac, or mobile device.
  • Easy to view lectures – provide a wide range of choices that are accessible to all students.
  • Easy to integrate into an institution – easily integrate lecture capture with your current technology for simple expansion across campus.

If you’re using a lecture capture system currently, is there anything I’ve missed in this post? What tips do you have for those who are going to start out recording lectures for the first time? I’d love to see your tips and suggestions on Facebook or Twitter!

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