Using Swivl for Lecture Capture

This is the first in a planned series of posts about planning + teaching my Intro-to-Shakespeare course next term, English 205 here at the University of Calgary.

A few weeks ago, I mused on Twitter about looking for a lecture-capture system — that is, a way to film my classes and post them online for students to review, or even (let’s be honest) to watch instead of coming to an 8 a.m. class.

Thanks to a suggestion from my friend Paul Schacht, I’ve settled on Swivl, a little robotic stand that swivels and turns to follow you, recording audio and video to your iPad, iPhone, or Android device. You can see the official promo-video on their web site, which won me over more than the time-lapse capabilities you can see here and here. (Maybe next time?) My colleague in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, D’Arcy Norman, tested it out and posted his own video.

My own experiment today suggest that its tracking mechanism is very good: so long as it can ‘see’ the little lanyard you wear, which doubles as a microphone, it follows you around the room (360°) and swivels up and down, in case you’re (I don’t know) speaking from a platform. I tested it with my 5-year-old daughter wearing the lanyard, and can testify that it responds very well to what you might describe as ‘rapid lateral movements.’

Now I need to explore how well it integrates slideshows to sit alongside the video. The next step is for me to convert a slideshow (Keynote) into jpegs and then record a test presentation / narration. Unfortunately, it seems that they have to be static image files; I guess if I have animations or video clips, I’m out of luck.

My other question was how to export and post the finished videos to our Learning Management System, Desire2Learn. At first it looked like an account on Swivl Cloud was the only way; but then I realized that I had the option of saving the video to my device for easy exporting.


Leave a Reply