Good Enough Lecture Capture

I like to use the term “good enough” to mean that a certain technology is good enough to solve the problem that it was designed for – I guess in many ways it is a synonym to the term “minimum viable product” that many use in the startup world to describe a product.

We see lecture capture as a very specific product category – a product for capturing a live lecture so that it can be reviewed later mainly by students that attended the lecture, but  sometimes by a student that was absent. It is not a remote learning technology and it is not a replacement for attending class. The goal isn’t the recording – the goal is providing students with class content that can be reviewed offline and repeatedly. There are lots of ways to extend lecture capture, but at its core any lecture capture system has to be good enough to fulfill the goal of providing students with a lecture review capability.

So the only way for a lecture capture system to be “good enough” is for it to enable the capture of any lecture – and that is the achilles heel of most commercial lecture capture systems, since most lectures are not and cannot be captured! It isn’t because commercial lecture capture systems are not technically adequate – it is because they aren’t pervasive enough. Even a small college provides students with 1000s of lectures per year – lectures  that won’t be recorded by any lecture capture system. So in my opinion – most commercial lecture capture are just not good enough. That is why even in universities with the best lecture capture systems still give students access to very few courses – and many of the courses were recorded years ago. I heard a funny anecdote about students that used recorded lectures to study for an exam without attending class. They were amazed that the test content contained material that wasn’t covered in the recordings – in hindsight not surprising since the recorded lectures were years old and the course material had since changed.

That is why the first thing we focused on with LectureMonkey is to make it “good enough lecture capture”.  Any lecture can be captured, all that is needed is a smartphone – no need for a special room, special equipment or an IT department. Sharing lectures between classmates is  just as simple – all that is needed is an internet connection and a Dropbox account. We think that making it simple for any student to record and view their lectures will shift the way both staff and students approach lecture recording – it won’t be something that is used on occasion, but rather a pervasive tool for learning and review – just like lecture notes.

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About Jacob Ukelson

blog (mostly) about my work and technology. So far I have been lucky enough to have been working on things I consider fun and with really top notch people. I have worked in both large companies (IBM) and small companies (ActionBase, ConicIT, Dapper, eXeedTechnologies). eXeed was establish to remedy a failure of the VC model in Israel – most VCs were monetary investors, but most companies needed not just money – they needed operational and business guidance. That is what we provide at eXeed – not just an investment but also our time and skills as seasoned software executives. I have taken on various titles – CTO, VP Products, VP BizDev – but throughout my career a constant focus has been on technologymarket fit, aka customer development. Unique breakthrough technology is a start, but the product must solve real business problems. It needs to be something customers can understand, relate to and will want to buy. I have been doing this for 20 years for software products in companies both large and small.
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