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Dec. 3, 2009 Volume 31, No. 14

Mizzou instructors are tackling teaching with the Tegrity system

Lecture capture

New program puts the classroom online

Although Tegrity is still in its first full semester on campus, the new “lecture capture” system that debuted this fall is catching the attention of students and faculty.

Instructors can use the system to easily record lectures and other course materials, such as PowerPoint presentations. Students can then watch them online or download those materials through MU’s Blackboard course management system and review them on personal computers, iPods and other mobile devices.

And students are taking advantage of the new technology. During the third week in October, the Tegrity system at MU was No. 1 in the country in student views of lecture captures, with 6,934 views, according to figures compiled by Tegrity staff.

“It’s amazing,” says Danna Vessell, director of Educational Technologies at Missouri — ET@MO for short. “Just wait until we really get going.”

Mizzou students and faculty have embraced the Blackboard course management system as well, Vessell says. As of Nov. 19, nearly 1,900 courses at MU used the Blackboard software, with 96,612 course enrollments and 27,599 unique users. It’s not unheard of for MU’s Blackboard system to tally 6 million page hits a day.             

Nearly 80 faculty members use the new Tegrity system in their courses, Vessell says, and ET@MO staff are available to work with faculty interested in trying the new technology. “We’re working one-on-one with instructors right now. That lets us make sure it works for them,” she says. Most of the instructors who currently use the system tend to teach large classes.

ET@MO is rolling out the program in conjunction with the University’s Division of Information Technology, which provides the infrastructure and background support. Funding comes from the student information technology fee. More information about using the Tegrity system is available online at by clicking on faculty help or by e-mailing

Tegrity is one of several brands of lecture capture programs on the market. MU tested it and several others in a pilot program last spring assisted by three chemistry faculty members: John Adams, Steven Keller and Phil Silverman. “Tegrity won out eventually,” Vessell says.

Reviewers in particular liked its ease of use, and little in the way of special equipment is necessary, she says. It’s easy and convenient for students to use, as well.

“Faculty colleagues have adopted Tegrity lecture capture to help student learning by making the material available beyond class,” says Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies.

“Students can review material discussed in class to help them improve their understanding and learning. If students must miss class for reasons like illness, not only can they get notes from classmates, they can now hear the information as presented and discussed by the instructor.”

That opportunity for direct review might be especially helpful for students with disabilities or for whom English is a second language. Vessell says one faculty member using the Tegrity system had a student who was out of class for several weeks with pneumonia, but was able to catch up relatively easily.

The national discussion over lecture capture programs includes concerns among some faculty that recorded lectures might cause class attendance to slip.

“I’m not sure we really know how having Tegrity is impacting attendance,” Spain says. “The general impression is that having it available creates an option for students to miss class, but I am not sure that this really happens. It does allow students that miss class for whatever reason to have the opportunity to learn the material.”

ET@MO cites several recent studies at Leeds University and SUNY-Fredonia that found courses that provide podcasts or enhanced podcasts experienced a 6 percent to 9 percent increase in test scores.

MU conducted its own technology usage survey this spring of 1,044 students and 226 instructors. It found that 93 percent of those students own a laptop computer, and fewer than 1 percent do not own any computer; 89 percent use e-mail to communicate with their instructors.

Among students surveyed, 77 percent said that technology makes coursework more convenient, while 80 percent of instructors surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that technology makes their teaching more convenient. The complete survey is available online through a link at