Go Swivl! Exploring Swivl for lecture capture

We’ve got a new piece of kit to play with, it’s called a Swivl. I’m in the the process of evaluating how best to use it, but it seems to naturally lend itself towards lecture capture and recording of demonstrations. In this post I’m going to explore lecture capture and also share some tips on using Swivl.

But they’ll stop coming to lectures!

This is a commonly raised objection to using lecture capture – that the students will stop turning up to lectures if they can watch the lectures online. Many studies have found that providing lecture recordings has a minimally negative impact on attendance (Gorissen, Van Bruggens & Jochems, 2012, Larkin, 2010,  Nahash & Gunn, 2013, Sloan & Lewis 2014) and that students report that they use the recordings mainly for revision purposes (Nahash & Gunn, 2013, Gorissen, Van Bruggens & Jochems, 2012, Sloan & Lewis 2014).

What happens if they don’t attend?

I suppose the bigger question here is if there is no real benefit to the student in attending the lecture in person, why do we need them to attend? If the same learning can be achieved through watching the lecture then perhaps either it should be acceptable for the students to chose their method of learning or the lectures need to be less passive and more interactive to exploit the fact that they are face-to-face. For students who are commuting long distances to attend lectures in person, or for those juggling caring responsibilities, then there is a potentially huge added value to them to be able to watch the lecture online and not have to attend in person.  Research has shown that lecture capture does not generally have a negative impact on student attendance but even when it does it is minimal and offset against the gains made in student attainment, satisfaction and engagement (Gorissen, Van Bruggens & Jochems, 2012).

If you have real concerns about student attendance dropping off, then consider making elements of your lectures available in a video format for revision (the most commonly cited reason for watching lecture recordings (Van Bruggens & Jochems, 2012, Larkin 2010, )) or as a means to catch up on lectures missed due to legitimate reasons (Larkin, 2010, Riismandel, 2011) .  Providing videos of practical demonstrations can be of huge value to students and provides them with the opportunity to watch, pause and re-watch a demonstration which, particularly in a large cohort, could be difficult to see or understand fully in a lecture environment.

It’s too time consuming

The easiest way to make lecture capture time efficient is to record your live lectures and not do the recording as a separate event. This has an added advantage of picking up any questions and answers or interactions in the session and also does not add any additional time onto your session. If you are only interested in recording your demonstrations and not the whole presentation, do this within the live sessions also. Once the session is complete, resist the urge to edit. Unless there is a significant reason to do so, editing your live lecture recordings should not really be necessary, students will be able to skip and rewind to the areas of particular relevance to them.

What is a Swivl?

A Swivl basically turns your mobile device (e.g. iPhone, iPad, Android etc.) into your own personal cameraman. Whilst using a Swivl you wear a marker. This marker doubles as being a microphone for recording your audio and a tracking device – as you move around the room the Swivl (somewhat disconcertingly) follows you, so you are never out of shot!

This YouTube video made by Swivl gives a good idea of the concept:

Swivl Tips

The following are some tips I have picked up whilst playing with the Swivl over the last couple of weeks:

  1. Slides can only be uploaded as pictures, so if you are using video, animations or audio clips use the Swivl to record your presentation as it is projected. You can always upload the slide-deck to your LMS as an additional resource.
  2. If you want to project using Swivl you’ll either need to use Apple TV or a display cable.
  3. The tracker is good at following the marker, but only when it is in line of sight so try not to turn your back to the Swivl as you are moving around.
  4. The rear facing picture will pick up your slides and whiteboard text more clearly than the front facing, but will create larger files.
  5. Make sure you have enough space on your device for the recording – 1 min on a rear facing picture is 100mb.
  6. If you take questions during your presentation remember to repeat the question so it is picked up by the mic!
  7. Tracking can be switched off if you want the camera to be fixed, remember you’ll still need to wear the marker to pick up the audio.

What are your experiences of using lecture capture or additional videos? Have you used a Swivl?


Al Nashash, H. & Gunn, C. 2013, “Lecture capture in engineering classes: Bridging gaps and enhancing learning”,Educational Technology and Society, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 69-78.

Gorissen, P., Van Bruggen, J. & Jochems, W. 2012, “Students and recorded lectures: Survey on current use and demands for higher education”, Research in Learning Technology, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 297-311.

Larkin, H.E. 2010, “”but they won’t come to lectures …” the impact of audio recorded lectures on student experience and attendance”, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology,vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 238-249.

McAlister, R.B. 2014, “Use of instructor-produced YouTube videos to supplement manual skills training in occupational therapy education”, AJOT: American Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. 68, no. S2, pp. 567.

Sloan, T.W. & Lewis, D.A. 2014, “Lecture Capture Technology and Student Performance in an Operations Management Course”, Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education,vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 339-355.

Riismandel, P. 2011, “Capture Lecture, Skip Class?”, Streaming Media Magazine, [Online],  pp. 82.


One thought on “Go Swivl! Exploring Swivl for lecture capture

  1. Pingback: Let’s get physical! Ways to introduce active learning into your lectures. | katesoperthoughts

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