by Francisco Ordóñez

In the Spring of 2014 a Pilot Project was launched to make available to a group of willing faculty a Blackboard Building Block (a building block is an extension in Blackboard either provided by Blackboard or a third party) that makes the Tegrity recording software available for use as a tool within Blackboard.  The Project continues this semester with mostly the same faculty participating.

Tegrity is a fully automated lecture capture solution used in traditional and online courses to record lesson and lectures. http://www.tegrity.com/product.  The basics of Tegrity is very simple.   What you need are a  microphone, a computer with the Tegrity – Blackboard Recorder installed, and, with the ability to press “play”, “pause” and “stop”, you can start making recordings.

Hostos EdTech has offered Tegrity services to faculty for some ten years now.  What makes this program unique is that the Tegrity application tested is a tool within Blackboard, as opposed to the separate application that required its own server in Hostos IT, with EdTech and IT responsible for maintenance and updates.  As a building block in Blackboard, accessibility to the Tegrity Controller and recordings is improved because they reside in the familiar Blackboard environment, found through a link in the course menu. The application and recordings reside in Tegrity’s own servers.  So not only is EdTech and Hostos IT relieved of the expensive and time-consuming duties of maintenance and storage, but the steps of receiving the video links from the Tegrity administrators and posting them manually in the Blackboard content areas are eliminated.

The reason it is a pilot program at this time and not generally available to faculty is that Blackboard building blocks must go through an approval process involving testing by users and by CUNY CIS, and then voted on by administrators from the different CUNY campuses on whether to include it in the Blackboard “production” environment – the standard Blackboard environment mostly used by faculty and students.  The Tegrity building block currently resides in the Blackboard “Staging” environment, a clone of the Blackboard production environment used for testing.

This Pilot is about recording your lectures in class or recording some additional content for students on a specific topic. This pilot is unique, the first time that a group of faculty in CUNY has embarked jointly on an impact study.  Although the participant faculty share a common methodology of teaching, the differences in size, availability of data and student use made comparisons between faculty classes very difficult.

While using Tegrity faculty have the option to record videos just with the click of a button.  After a recording is completed, the captured lecture is uploaded to the Tegrity server, processed, and made available to students through Tegrity/Blackboard. The time it takes to process a recording varies based on the length of the recording and if instructor video is included, but an hour long recording of the computer screen and instructor audio takes about an hour to process.

Students they will be presented with a list of the videos available  for them which they can access 24/7. The Course has a “Tegrity Classes” link in the course menu.   Clicking this link will log users into Tegrity and display any recordings for the course.

The participating pilot faculty exceeded the original goals and expectation for the program in many levels through their experiences in this program. They made great leaps forward, not only in the implementation of Tegrity in the course, but the progression through the program came hand in hand with an evolution in new ways of thinking about education with videos.

The potential of the Tegrity Pilot at Hostos is that Tegrity, once approved as a Building Block, will be an integral part of teaching and learning throughout CUNY.

Some comments from the participants:

“I think all of the other professors should use Tegrity”

“It will be nice if lectures on Tegrity will  be available in every subject.”

“This is a useful technology for student engagement.”

“I have been using Tegrity with the assistance of the staff in the Department of Educational Technology. It is a valuable tool”

There are many Blackboard Building Blocks available that can enhance teaching and learning in your classroom and/or online course.  EdTech welcomes faculty to suggest Building Blocks, which we can then propose to the CUNY Blackboard Leadership Council and CUNY CIS for testing and adoption.  To see the Building Blocks  that are available go to :

http://www.blackboard.com/partnerships/extensions.aspx

 

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