Some of the lecture halls at the instituion in which I teach are equipped with video capture systems. None of my colleagues think it’s very useful because we know that our students don’t bother watching the videos anyway. (I think it’s different for the students of the hard sciences who may need to see math calculations and stuff.) But if our timetables have placed our classes in those rooms, the camera is set to automatically record whatever happens up in the front of the classroom, and we have to use the microphones because the audio won’t be captured without it. I do not like this because sometimes it feels like there’s no sound coming out of the speakers and when I’m holding a microphone, I subconsciously don’t project my voice – I talk louder without it. (My classes are not those with over a hundred students so I don’t usually need to use a microphone to be heard; at most I have had 50-ish in one class.) But I have no choice. If we don’t use the microphone, the e-learning department will come after us and censure us for it. So, fine. I use it.
Then I take my “revenge” on the system in my own small ways.
One: The camera tracks your movement but it can’t swivel downwards fully. It’s located at the back of the room, which means that there’s only so far it can track me. So if I have the students do group discussions, I walk around the classroom and… out of the camera range. I quite enjoy going to the back of the room, looking up at the camera and seeing it stuck at the last position to which it tracked me. >
Two: The camera doesn’t have “night vision capabilities.” There is a list of dos and don’ts on the lecturer’s table, and one of them tells us to not turn off the lights.
So I turn off the lights at every opportunity (in hopes of annoying the techs handling the lecture capture):
Hey, class, let’s watch this ad! *turns off the lights*
Hmm, the contrast on this set of lecture slides isn’t very high and it’s too bright in here. *turns off the lights*
Can you see this picture? Let me dim the lights~
I don’t get to do it all the time, but when I do… it’s so very very satisfying.