Two Students Are Revolutionizing AUC’s Lecture Capture Technology
Into their fourth semester at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), Aaron Brown and Emeka Ajufo were running into a familiar problem. After attending class, they would return home to review the day’s material and re-listen to their lecture. That last step involved an ongoing tug-of-war with the school’s lecture capture technology.
“We were experiencing a lot of limitations and inefficiencies,” said Brown, speaking about AUC’s Echo360 lecture capture system. “First, you have to be connected to Wi-Fi in order to stream a lecture recording. If you want to listen offline, you have to download a lecture and somehow add it to your phone. Then, once the audio is playing, you can’t stop it or close out of your music player without being sent all the way back to the beginning of the lecture. It has become a major hurdle for students and is not at all conducive for studying.”
Brown and Ajufo were convinced there was a better way to utilize their lecture recordings for study. So, one sunny afternoon in St. Maarten, the two developed the idea for LectureKeepr—a mobile app with the technology and flexibility to make lecture recordings more accessible.
Though early in its development, LectureKeepr has already generated a lot of buzz at AUC and beyond. In addition to presenting the app at an AUC faculty retreat, Brown and Ajufo just returned from Stanford University’s Medicine X Conference in California, where they showcased LectureKeepr to hundreds of physicians, medical students, and academic leaders.
“One of the biggest themes during Med X was meeting learners where they are and accommodating different learning styles,” says Ajufo. “We all fall in a spectrum of learning—some more visual, some more auditory—but the more tools we provide to help adapt to these different learning styles the better our student outcomes.”
The conference introduced Brown and Ajufo to a community of like-minded individuals with a shared vision of revitalizing medical education. It also reinforced the notion that learning works best when the goals of educators and students are aligned. LectureKeepr, they hope, will play a role in this sea change.
A One-Stop-Shop for Class Materials
LectureKeepr essentially combines the recording technology of Echo360 with the user functionality of a digital audio player (such as audible). Brown and Ajufo describe it as a one-stop-shop for all class materials.
Once inside the app, students can see their entire course listing and then select a lecture from within that course to listen to. While the audio plays, there’s the option to pause, skip back, save your spot, and even bookmark segments of the lecture that are high yield or confusing. And gone are the days of needing a Wi-Fi connection. The app uses converted audio files that can be downloaded and played on the go.
“That part was really important to us,” says Ajufo. “As medical students, we spend so much time sitting—whether in class or studying—it’s not exactly the picture of health. But the app gives users the opportunity to study while moving around and even exercising.”
The co-developers are also on a mission to improve the way students learn. Last semester, with the support of Dr. Cecil Cone, Professor and Chair of Pathology, they conducted a study to see how students were using the app and what kind of impact it had on their comprehension. Over the course of a week, half of their pathology classmates received pre-lecture reading material while the other half received pre-lecture audio recordings through LectureKeepr. The students who had access to the app were both more compliant with their studies and scored higher on comprehension exams.
Brown and Ajufo have also met with faculty members to discuss what LectureKeepr can do for them.
“We’re able to track how students are interacting with different lecture files, which makes it a really helpful feedback tool,” says Brown. “Say a majority of students are all hitting skip back at a certain time stamp in the audio file—that tells us that students had trouble understanding a particular concept or found it to be very important. From a teaching standpoint, that’s really useful information that can help professors pinpoint areas of concern.”
Perhaps most impressive is the way in which Brown and Ajufo have tackled such an undertaking.
Save for a course Brown took in high school, the co-developers had essentially no experience with app development or coding. And as medical students, their free time was consumed with studying. Nevertheless, Brown threw any spare moment into coding LectureKeepr while Ajufo used his background in music production to ensure the app provided high quality audio. The two consulted the internet on a regular basis and even recruited Brown’s wife Muna to design the logo.
“It came down to necessity,” says Brown. “Invention is born out of necessity.”
For the next iteration of LectureKeepr, Brown and Ajufo have engaged a development team to build out the app’s online functionality. Their goal is to integrate the app with AUC’s learning management system in order to launch the resource next semester—just as the two prepare to leave St. Maarten to begin their clinical rotations.