Easing Higher Ed Growing Pains as Admission Swells

The size of the higher education industry has peaked. More than ever, student applicants will be welcomed on campus, additional seats will be shoved into already busy classrooms, resources will be strained and institutions across the country will be put to the test. In order to meet President Obama's call to become the world's most college educated nation by 2020, the educational landscape must embrace for challenges beyond traditional curriculum and funding; academia will be required to scale en masse.

Budgetary limitations presented by a weakened economy won't allow institutions to simply erect new buildings and hire qualified staff to meet rising needs. Institutions are forced to do more with less and in order to scale appropriately, colleges and universities have already begun implementing technological solution that impact a large cross section of concerns. Blended learning solutions are often relied upon to maximize existing resources because they pair traditional course experiences with the latest technological advances. Campuses, however, are bound to face growing pains. Difficulties such as physical overcrowding, maintaining coursework standards and ensuring student success are among those most critical.

Lecture capture, one component of popular blended learning solutions, emulates a traditional classroom experience by recording a student's entire in-seat perspective and catalogs the lecture for later reference. In short, lecture capture is much like DVR'ing class with full playback functionality.

Because of its on-demand nature, lecture capture addresses overcrowding by freeing seats for students who sometimes prefer digesting coursework from the comfort of remote locations. Beyond classroom occupancy, ancillary stresses such as parking, campus foot traffic and erroneous class discussions are also minimized. Additionally, newer blended learning platforms support a suite of social collaboration tools and stream videos in HD over leading tablets to grant students additional digital options beyond to class attendance.

With campuses scaling, at-risk students require supplementary support in order for institutions to meet success standards. To ensure passing grades without compromising curriculum, many universities may usually inject their study centers with additional staff or increase professor office hours. Lecture capture, however, allows traditional, in-class, as well as hybrid students, to revisit the material virtually through the series of playback options. As such, repetition with pin-point clarity is available for improved retention and better test preparation without taxing resources.

Improving classroom success and specifically student graduation, is among the most difficult challenges to address when scaling admission. Considering the federal mandate requires the highest proportion of college graduates in the world, meeting acceptance requirements is simply not enough. While there are a catalog of options for institutions today, lecture capture has seen a great return on investment and continuously reports on positive qualitative and quantitative results. California's Pomona College, for example, concluded that students spend more time studying outside of class by reviewing video recorded material and have a 'qualitatively' better learning experience when compared to students who aren't exposed to lecture capture. In another independent study by New Jersey's Bergen Community College, lecture capture classrooms produced an average increase of 10% in test scoring and a slightly higher level of attendance. In Bergen's assessment, the college also noted its positive impact on students' performance across a spectrum of subject areas including biology, drafting, speech communication and financial accounting. Both reports act as testimony to lecture capture's validity to not only assist with exploiting resources but also ensure institutions are successfully deploying a comprehensive learning experience.

Times are tough. Institutions are required to do more with less and students simply can't suffer as a result. As such, blended learning technologies like lecture capture provide universities with the flexibility required to stay ahead of the growing pains that are just now beginning to materialize. Although strenuous, federal mandates often require industry wide innovation to meet demands and there's no market better prepared to take advantage of leading technology like education.

It won't be easy but student and professors alike should be excited. We're on the right track and hey, we might just end up as the most educated nation in the world.

For more information on the benefits of blended learning and how lecture capture provides modern solutions to many of education's most difficult challenges, visit www.echo360.com