Patrick Finnegan – School of Economics, Politics & International Relations


My use of the personal capture scheme was intended to enhance our teaching methods within the department. My initial aims of building additional video capture material into the ongoing lecture series did not come through but I was able to use the capture package to engage my students more in the administration of a (then) overly complicated module.


  • Initial plan centred on including personal capture on the Army Higher Education Pathway project – this was not possible due to software incompatibility with the Canvas platform used for the project
  • New objectives were based on a different module (The Study of Politics) and improving the student experience on that module
  • Improve the explanation of methods
  • Explain the supervisory choice system
  • Enhance lectures on complicated topics


The module I focused on was Po2SOP (The Study of Politics) with 160 students. Personal capture was needed on this project as it allowed myself, as convenor of our largest module, to communicate with all of my students in a more engaging way. We needed a way to bring the topic to life and ensure that the students took on board the lessons we needed them to. I wanted to include real examples of the methods in action and to use the screen casts to explain certain decisions that would be too difficult to do via email.


Unfortunately, the project began too late in the term to really affect the lectures on this module, which is co-taught between several staff members often using pre-existing slides. However, I was able to use it to engage in discussion with students to explain issues such as supervisor reallocation during the year and how our special event – the mini-conference – was to work. Rather than writing lengthy emails, I was able to quickly and visually explain to he students what was happening and to invite their responses, which some did. They did not engage with the capture material so to speak but my use of it did encourage discussion as to how they would like to see it used in future and how they would like to receive feedback on assessments in future if audio/visual options were available. The recordings made by myself and my colleague were mainly PowerPoint voice-overs or were direct to camera discussions. This allowed us to present the students with illustrations and ‘first hand’ information. These required significant editing to make sure they were suitable but the final product was satisfactory.


Beyond ‘ease of life’ effects this year, there was not a great deal of impact but this was expected given the start date (the largest number of views in a video was 86, but this was an admin explanation style video). However, planning for next year has already incorporated the different potential advantages provided by personal capture. For example, the same methods module will now incorporate tutorial videos made within the department and will maintain some supervisor ‘adverts’ to allow students to better choose which member of staff they will seek to work with in future. Within other modules, some staff members will be taking the opportunity to build in some flipped classroom style teaching and other time-heavy elements that were not previously available to them.


Time needed to organise and direct co-pilots within a teaching-heavy department needed to be a lot greater than I originally planned. I was also not expecting to meet the levels of resistance that I did from some more established staff who were not interested in changing how they delivered the material they had prepared earlier. The major difference I would include going forward would be to focus on upcoming modules rather than pre-existing as incorporating the material when the module has already started was too difficult.


I have started to prepare some videos on material I know will be needed in the future, this is relatively straight forward to do and will mimic the general practice to date. The main evolution will be seen in responses to student need during class and how screen casts can be made on demand and with consistent quality.