LectureTools: why should I use it?

LectureTools is a new offering from Echo360, our lecture capture tool at Exeter, which is designed to extend and augment the connection between students and lecturers during a real time lecture. It provides various tools and techniques for enriching an existing lecture using digital technology, including:

  • In-presentation quiz-style challenges encouraging students to reflect on the content of a lecture

  • Real-time feedback for lecturers on students’ current understanding

  • Note-taking for students based on individual lecture slides

There are several ways in which LectureTools can extend and augment the student experience. The development of interactive technologies such as ResponseWare or TurningPoint has offered ways for students to give feedback to their tutors during their time together, helping lecturers to ensure that students have a clear understanding of the materials being explored. LectureTools incorporates similar technology, but does so in conjunction with a range of flexible and powerful tools, encouraging students to engage more fully with the resources on offer.

LectureTools for the Lecturer

From a lecturer’s perspective, PowerPoints can be adapted using the straightforward LectureTools website. You can build an objectives slide, helping to give clarity and a sense of direction to the session, and can also opt to hide various slides from students, revealing them at the appropriate moment so as to maintain attention. You can preview activity results so it’s clear how your lecture is going over with your audience as well as getting real-time feedback from your students as you lecture. Students’ questions can be answered as you go, ensuring strong engagement throughout. Students can interact using a range of devices (including a free iPad app), so you’re able to tap into tools which they use every day. Likewise, you can present from a laptop or an iPad – whatever you prefer to use to access the Web. When the lecture’s over, LectureTools offers various analytical tools to help you gauge performance, by cohort or individually.  

LectureTools for the Student

For students, the note-making facility means that you can take notes to complement the slides, referring back to slides as needed. Cloud storage means your notes can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, or you can choose PDF for offline viewing.  Being able to ask (anonymised) questions means that any uncertainty can be worked through at the time, rather than during the last-minute preparation before an exam; you can also see the questions other students are asking, helping you to monitor your own knowledge when you see if you can answer their questions. Later, activities you undertook during the lecture can get you started on revision and study plans – you can practise exam-style questions in a range of formats, bookmarking slides you want to come back to as well as highlighting any confusion.

We have LectureTools on a trial licence until Christmas 2013, so if you’re interested in trying it out, just get in touch: e-learning@exeter.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.

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