Lecture capture — as ubiquitous as online teaching

record lectures

Digital technology has been a massive boon for students and educators. By incorporating online learning components, teachers can make the material more compelling and engaging, allowing students greater autonomy and the flexibility to learn in the manner that best suits them. Ultimately, this leads to improved student experiences — and better educational outcomes.

Lecture capture or live class recording is one of the core capabilities of a virtual classroom technology – enhancing the student experience all the more. In fact, it’ll be right saying that lecture recording is as important and as ubiquitous as online instruction. Therefore, when considering an online teaching solution, it’s important to keep this as one of the core criteria.

Let us take a closer look at the ideas behind lecture capture, the benefits of this technology and the key differences between popular recording methods.

What is lecture capture?

For the uninitiated, the phrase lecture capture simply refers to any technology that allows teachers to record lessons in their classrooms and distribute them digitally. You’ll notice that this is a fairly broad definition — that’s because lecture capture can be used to describe a wide array of hardware and software platforms and capabilities.

For example, the most basic form of lecture capture could refer to an audio recording or a video recording. On the more sophisticated end of the spectrum, lecture capture might refer to capabilities existing within an advanced online learning software. Either way, the technology allows for a live session to be captured and distributed later according to the needs of the user.

While modern lecture capture capabilities are quite robust, the technology is not designed to replace conventional classroom instruction. Rather, it offers a powerful supplementary tool that educators can use to improve the overall learning experience by making the material more accessible for students.

The benefits of lecture capture/live class recording

1. Vast accessibility of lecture even after the live class is over

By using lecture capture technology, classroom instruction is enhanced and made vastly accessible, as students can review material from remote locations at a time of their choosing. If a student falls ill and misses a key lecture, she can review the information later.

Or, if a student has difficulty absorbing a lesson in a live setting, she can watch the lecture — multiple times if necessary, after the class at her convenience. This is particularly useful for advanced material, as students can pause the lecture during playback and move at a pace that suits them. Language courses, in particular, can benefit from this back-and-forth approach.

2. Deeper absorption of concepts

Lecture capture also provides a certain comfort level for most students. Instead of furiously scribbling notes and attempting to keep up with the pace of the instructor’s delivery, students who know they can review the material later have the freedom to explore intellectual tangents. When students are freed from the fear of falling behind, they can truly reflect on the material being presented. They have the time to think deeply and consider the points raised by the instructor.

This, in turn, makes for happier and more engaged students. Student confidence also encourages classroom discussion and the pursuit of new lines of inquiry — essential attributes of successful pedagogy.

3. Archives the recordings for building content assets

The ability to record lectures also allows educators to archive old material, then present that material to future classes. By posting these lessons online, educators can then spend more class time on other pursuits (question and answer sessions, class presentations, group projects, etc.).

Building an archive also opens up possibilities for interdisciplinary learning, as students in one field can access lectures in a related field. Large lecture banks can be created across a wide range of disciplines, all of which are accessible to students seeking to accrue more knowledge and synthesize what they’ve learned. Here are more compelling reasons to record lectures.

4. Active learning

Lecture capture technology also makes the lecture experience less static. Modern platforms allow students to take advantage of interactive features when watching recorded content (posting questions, comments, etc.).

Overall, it’s important to understand that lecture capture is much more than a safety net for students who miss class. It’s a foundational technology that has profound implications for the way students learn.

If you are wondering what the best way to record lectures is, check our blog post on how to turn your living room into a recording studio.

Virtual classroom technology selection: Server-side recording vs. Client-side recording

Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of lecture capture or live class recording, let’s discuss the best way to implement this technology in the classroom.

One of the important distinctions in terms of how lecture capture is delivered involves server-side vs. client-side recording.

Server-side recording

The server-side recording simply means that the material is recorded and saved directly on the outside server – a service offered by your eLearning solution provider. The process is automated and can be initiated with the push of a button. Once a lecture has been concluded, it is typically available online immediately.

Client-side recording

Client-side recording, on the other hand, requires the users to record content locally then send it to a server. The recording might take longer to process and your system might be in use even hours after the lecture has been completed.

Why server-side recording is a better choice?

While lecture capture can be successfully implemented via both processes, the truth is that server-side recording offers several key advantages over a client-side approach.

  • The server-side recording is more efficient and can save you considerable time. Local recording or client-side recording (which is followed by the sometimes arduous process of content uploading) can require a significant time commitment.
  • In the client-side recording, uploading can easily add an hour or more to the total time spent on the project, depending on the quality of the Internet connection and the length of the content that’s been recorded. With server-side recording, the material is online instantly. There is no recording or uploading hassle.
  • Server-side recording harnesses the capabilities of the strongest servers and doesn’t use the internet bandwidth of your system – which means recording doesn’t happen on your system and the internet bandwidth is used only for the lecture streaming and consumption. This ensures an uninterrupted experience. On the other hand, client-side recording makes use of your system and internet capabilities which can result in poor live streaming.
  • The server-side recording also allows greater flexibility. Recording can be instantly stopped, paused and resumed. Once the lecture is concluded, the material is instantly available for review. Because server-side recording is simple to use, it also lowers the risk of time-consuming errors.

The takeaway

Lecture capture has become an essential tool for educators, thanks to the wide array of benefits it offers both students and instructors. Lecture capture makes material far more accessible, allows students to learn at the pace that best suits them, frees up instructors to focus on classroom activities that promise deeper engagement and helps students learn with greater confidence.

These advantages have helped make lecture capture a ubiquitous and indispensable weapon in the modern educational arsenal. Institutions seeking to leverage maximum benefit from lecture capture should consider using an LMS platform with advanced capabilities, including server-side recording.


Content Manager at WizIQ. A writer, editor, planner and executor by the day, and a reader during commute to and from work. Skilled at writing simple. More than anything, a FOODIE!

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