MicroCPD: Lecture Capture for Mathematics

This week Meurig Gallagher talks about lecture capture options for whiteboards.

The development of technology is key to improvements in lecture capture, especially in the mathematical sciences when the ability to capture whiteboard-esq writings is crucial. In this CPD we have discussed the use of tablet computers as a whiteboard replacement. Here we provide an overview of the types of software that are available to use and how they can be incorporated into current teaching styles. N.B. we will focus on software for the Microsoft Windows platform as this is the standard OS for most tablet computers, however other options are available.

Whiteboard replacement software

There are a multitude of software packages that provide a blank canvas for writing on the screen. These can take the form of simple drawing editors (e.g. Paint) where the page size can be specified, or more advanced notebook-style programs (such as Microsoft One Note) which can function as an ever-increasing space to write, together with shape-drawing and annotation tools and a powerful organisational framework.

From an educational point of view such software can be seen to have a significant benefit over traditional whiteboards – you are no longer limited by physical size limits! This can be great when trying to work through a long proof, for example, or to prevent the loss of flow when needing to erase traditional whiteboards. There is, however, an associated downside to this in that the screen ‘real-estate’ tends to be a lot smaller than a traditional whiteboard, which can mean a significant amount of scrolling is needed for large items.

PDF Editors

PDF editors are a fantastic tool when it comes to using tablet computers. They allow the annotation of any PDF file with handwritten notes. Have gapped lecture notes that you want to fill in during the lecture? PDF editors are the way to go. Outside of lectures, PDF editors can be used to great effect in the marking and providing feedback of work, or in the provision of handwritten solutions to problems. The ability to quickly mark and return a piece of work, for example a draft dissertation, without the need to print/mark up/scan/return, not only saves time and effort, but also allows for the straightforward implementation of good record keeping practices.

What if I want to stick with using whiteboards?

From September whiteboard capture will be available in around 35 lecture rooms on campus following a successful pilot earlier this year. Cameras will capture the main teaching board(s) content as part of the Panopto lecture capture system. A full list of the supported rooms will be announced during the summer. More information is available on the Learning and Teaching Gateway event capture course.

Further Reading

Diana Audi 2017. Teaching mathematics using lecture capture technology. The Eurasia Proceedings of Educational & Social Sciences (EPESS), 2017. http://dergipark.gov.tr/download/article-file/331805

Joul Feinstein, Using a tablet PC and audio podcasts in the teaching of undergraduate mathematics modules. https://www.maths.nottingham.ac.uk/personal/jff/Papers/pdf/podcasting.pdf