Lights, Camera . . . Education!

Lights, Camera . . . Education!

Spartanburg Methodist College faculty and staff are ready for their close-up, and now they have their chance with the all-new Lecture Capture Studio.

The changing landscape of higher education in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about several changes. Continuing to provide a quality education has required flexibility, creativity, and ingenuity. With the SMC Information Technology department's help, instructors now have another high-tech tool to provide lessons and other content to their students.

The Lecture Capture Studio, which opened October 14 in the Vassey Information Technology Center, is a high-end video and audio studio. Instructors and staff members have access to top-quality recording equipment, including green screen technology and live-streaming capabilities, to record or televise lectures, lessons, college announcements and programs, and more.

"Over the summer, while we were making preparations for our hybrid class model (a combination of online and in-person classes), we knew video was going to be important," said Brendan Plake, senior information technology specialist and architect of the studio. "We invested in the Kaltura platform and provided every instructor with a camera-equipped laptop to record lessons, but we also identified a need for a place to record higher quality video products."

The studio has already seen its fair share of use, and Plake expects an increase in the spring semester as more faculty and staff take advantage the value of the high-end equipment for producing messages.

Professor using recording studio
Stephen Jennings getting set up to record in the Lecture Capture Studio.

Stephen Jennings, the student success coordinator for the SMC Experience team, was one of the early adopters of the technology.

"Using the studio was enjoyable, and Brendan made it so easy with his help and instruction," Jennings said. "Having the studio on campus is going to be very beneficial for faculty, staff, and students to deliver necessary materials and course content."

Jennings recently recorded a number of student success workshops to be used for SMC 101 courses. The new recordings will help students by having on-demand access to the materials needed for the course.

Gina Parris, director of student tutoring and accessibility resources, found the studio very helpful in developing instructional videos for students and faculty. She recently recorded a video to help students learn about assistive technology in common software programs and one to help faculty with tips on working with students with disabilities.

"I think the studio is a great addition to campus, and the set-up is perfect for creating high-quality training and teaching videos for the SMC community," she said.

Plake is excited about the new studio as well as the potential future opportunities to expand on its use.

"As people become more comfortable with it, I think the studio will be very busy. Even after the restrictions of COVID, there is potential to continue virtual coursework and more," he said. "We could use the technology in the studio to allow students to participate in virtual events, live-stream sports, or productions on campus."

Plake is thrilled to be able to offer the technology to faculty and staff for the benefit of SMC and its students, and he's excited to see what will be created in the studio next.

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