Since 2005, Dr. Zen Faulkes, associate professor of biology, has carried out the tedious mission of recording and editing his lectures to make them available for his students, but Tegrity Lecture Capture, the newest form of technology to find a home in classrooms at The University of Texas-Pan American, has alleviated the time consuming task.
Tegrity's implementation in fall 2009 has given professors the ability to record class lectures to be available to students online.
They can now record computer screen or document camera activity along with voice narration and video. The material is then automatically uploaded onto Blackboard, a student resource to access syllabi, class assignments and quizzes.
Currently, there are more than 40 professors using Tegrity at the university, with the goal of providing better access to instructional resources for a better quality education.
"With Tegrity, students are going to be given flexibility by having access to lectures at any time," said Edgar Gonzalez, assistant executive director of the Center for Online Learning, Teaching and Technology. "Professors will also be able to offer a richer course by providing this enhanced, additional service to students."
Tegrity provides students with greater convenience if they miss class and want to catch up on course content. Students also have an opportunity to review a lecture before an exam or to better understand a difficult subject or detailed procedure.
Students and faculty can access Tegrity through any computer, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mp3 player and any other device with the capability of downloading video and audio.
In addition to providing students with greater benefits, Tegrity enables faculty to maintain their natural teaching style, reduces note taking time for students and time spent in class answering questions covered in the lecture, engages students in more class discussion and provides students feedback through video and audio reviews.
The Division of Information Technology in partnership with The Center for Online Learning, Teaching and Technology, have worked to equip all UTPA classrooms with the necessary hardware and supplies needed for Tegrity. Computers, projectors, document cameras and wireless microphones are now main components in every classroom.
"At its implementation we only equipped a limited number of classrooms," Gonzalez said. "But with the increase in interest and usage we decided to equip all classrooms so anybody can use it."
Although Tegrity offers many benefits, its installation also raised some questions for professors like Dr. Linda Belau, associate professor in the Department of English. Will students skip class with the availability of digital lectures and how secure is Tegrity?
"I felt this technology would be inconvenient for students to use and would create more problems than solutions," Belau said. "I also worried that students would stop attending class."
However, Belau said that Tegrity has augmented her teaching and has given students more options in the classroom.
"My students like the technology...it's easy to use and the vast majority of my students have no difficulties with it at all" Belau said. "Many tell me that they review class lectures to prepare for exams."
Attendance still remains a concern for Belau. She has noticed a drop in attendance since she began to use Tegrity.
"Students definitely attended class more before I started using Tegrity," Belau said. "Now that lectures are available online for students to listen to at their convenience there is greater absenteeism."
For Faulkes, on the other hand, absences are of little concern.
"For me Tegrity was never a concern. I have been using this similar technique for five years," Faulkes said. "I have a strategy: I give my students questions they can only get points for if they are in class. So Tegrity did nothing but capture me and relieve work load."
Faulkes said he is all about giving his students as many tools for studying as he can.
"With Tegrity I can now put my story with pictures, the way lectures are intended to be," Faulkes said. "This is a powerful message."
Gonzalez said that although no formal research has been conducted at UTPA regarding Tegrity, other universities' studies have found that retention rates are higher, students find themselves more engaged in lecture and discussions and Tegrity is a secure way of uploading intellectual property.
Tegrity includes security features which ensure faculty has complete control over intellectual materials. Tegrity's security attributes include downloading restrictions on students, limitations on viewers to class enrollees only and other controls faculty can choose to switch on or off.
"It's as secure as you want it to be," Gonzalez said.
Overall, feedback from professors who have used Tegrity has been positive, Gonzalez said, and he believes that in the future this technology will provide greater benefits to the younger generations who are more technologically savvy.
"In a sense we are positioning the university strategically to be able to provide these relevant services to students who are coming in with higher technical expectations," Gonzalez said.
For help with Tegrity or for more information contact the UTPA Help Desk at 956/318-5327.