Instructors and professors in the Weber State University technical sales department can now use Kaptify, a camera technology that can record lectures.
WSU alumnus Alan Martin and Columbia University graduate Brennon Garrett created the program using the camera in an iPod Touch, which then plugs into a small stand. The teacher, who lectures in the front of the room, wears a marker around his or her neck. It follows the marker wherever the teacher goes. The marker has microphones on it and a button that will freeze the camera on one spot.
The product will be tested in the technical sales department this semester. Martin said he picked the department because he graduated with a technical sales degree. Kaptify will be set up in four classrooms during the fall semester.
Martin is also the founder of Campus Book Rentals, which led to him having the idea for Kaptify.
“As we thought about our own college experience, which was quite recent . . . it’s pretty clear that the real valuable content is what happens in class,” Martin said. “It’s not necessarily the book; it’s the book and everything else that goes on.”
After teachers record the lectures, they can then put them online, either for their online classes to watch or for all of their students.
Martin said he dropped out of his Math 1050 class because he missed two classes.
“I felt like I was too far behind to ever catch up, and I dropped out,” he said. “(If) I could have gone back and relived those lectures, I’m positive I wouldn’t have dropped out of that class.”
The entire process of creating the product took about three months. Martin and Garrett have done research on video learning and other projects like theirs on the market.
“The biggest difference is price,” Garrett said. “We wanted a solution that was affordable and basically in almost every classroom within the school’s budget.”
He said other products like this one are expensive because each classroom needs to be wired. Kaptify doesn’t need to be hooked up to anything and is portable.
The cameras being used at WSU are currently free. The device itself was created by another company that they partnered with called Satarri. If the pilot year goes well, Martin said he wanted to expand into other universities across the nation. He will be conducting in-person surveys for students to review Kaptify, and a survey will be available later on the Kaptify website.
“This will make it much easier when I need to do updates,” said Jo Ellen Jonsson, a professor in the technical sales department, who used to record her lectures for her online classes in a recording studio. “Then I can just record it while I’m in class.”
Jonsson said she does not know if she will make the recordings available for her face-to-face classes as well.
“A lot of the energy in the class comes from class discussion,” Jonsson said.
She said she is concerned that if the lectures are online, the students will not show up to class.
“We just hope it improves learning,” Martin said. “At the end of the day, that would be the goal.”