Institutional mainstreaming: Lecture Capture at AUC leads to active learning -- 137 -- Short (oral) Paper
Students arrive at the American University in Cairo (AUC) from an extremely didactic, teacher-centered school background where they are primarily exam-driven (seeking correct answers to questions). Thus, faculty faced an uphill struggle to introduce student-centered learning, critical thinking and active learning. The benefits to be derived from transforming students from being passive listeners to active learners has been recognized by most faculty for some time, but its implementation as a University-wide strategy faced several obstacles. The most important of these problems was that most faculty found it impossible to engage in active learning in the classroom as well as deliver the content required by the syllabus in short 75 minutes classes. Invariably lecture formats were maintained and active learning remained as an ideal to be emulated if possible. The Revolution of January 25th, 2011and the subsequent turmoil in the country posed additional problems in that the University was forced to close repeatedly and teaching days were being lost. AUC was facing the possibility of failing to maintain its required number of teaching days, according to its accreditation terms, and thus be forced to cancel the semester. It is under such pressures that the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) at AUC introduced lecture capture (flipped classroom) technology and teaching strategies to the faculty. The benefits to be derived from such an approach to learning were immediately appreciated by the faculty, students and even the administration. CLT was encouraged and devoted considerable effort and resource in disseminating both the technology and associated teaching strategies to faculty.
The results were extremely satisfactory in that not only did AUC salvage the Spring semester of 2011, but also the responses of both students and faculty using the new technology were quite positive. By the end of the Spring semester a significant proportion of AUC faculty were using the “flipped classroom” teaching strategy and associated lecture capture technology in some form or other and in a CLT survey of faculty 67% indicated as being “very satisfied” with it while another 33% indicated they were satisfied. Furthermore, although faculty indicated that using lecture capture as such was not time consuming, the process of using the “flipped” model did require a significant effort in preparing class-room exercises. On average faculty reported that it entailed an additional 1 to 2 hours per week in order to prepare such exercises. Nevertheless, they also acknowledged that this was the case the first time they used it and the time was significantly reduced in the following semester. Faculty also highlighted three critical pedagogic benefits: 1. Facilitated class discussion of theoretical concepts; 2. Provided an opportunity to apply complex theoretical issues in class – active learning; and 3. Generated opportunities for students to discuss course material on line – student-centered learning. As the CLT survey of students produced equally encouraging results CLT decided to focus most of its energy and resources on the further development and dissemination of both the lecture capture technology and the associated innovative teaching practices during the academic year 2011-12. The administration was also delighted as AUC continued teaching its students, despite the turmoil and closures, and the technology involved is extremely user-friendly and very low cost.