I read an interesting article in “The Economist” about MOOCs and how they will change the economics of higher education. One thing that has always struck me about MOOCs is that most of the conversation revolves around university costs, not around better education (especially after Udacity’s declaration “We were on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, and at the same time, I was realizing, we don’t educate people as others wished, or as I wished. We have a lousy product.“. Another implicit assumption in MOOCs is that course content has a very long half-life. It costs around $40,000-$200,000 dollars to create a good MOOC for a course (and it takes quite a while) – and no one is going to invest that for every course, every semester. A university gives about 3000 courses a year – so even just from a numbers perspective, it is clear that MOOCs won’t be replacing universities any time soon.
Lecture capture on the other hand is a recording of a live lecture. The benefits of lecture capture aren’t economic, rather the benefits are educational – a recording of a class to aid learning and review. The main problem with lecture capture is that not only doesn’t it save money – it actually costs the university money, making it impossible for universities to provide their students with the benefits of a large scale deployment of lecture capture.
LectureMonkey is trying to change that by putting the students in charge of capturing lectures, and providing them with free, easy to use tools for lecture capture that work on any iPhone. By working together students can quickly ensure that every lecture is recorded, and that the recording is of the latest version of the lecture (in one university I know student use 10 year old recorded lectures for reviewing the material!).We think that pervasive lecture capture will have much more profound affect on the ways student learn than MOOCs.