Product Overview

Springing from a merger between Apreso, an early U.S-based enterprise lecture capture system and Lectopia, an enterprise tool developed in Australia that allowed dozens of Australian universities (as well as Duke) to implement large-scale class recording programs ahead of the curve, Echo360 continues to position itself as a leader in the enterprise lecture capture space. Echo maintains a strong focus on classroom recording, but bases a significant portion of its current strategy on support for “blended learning,” flipping the classroom, and moving beyond traditional ideas of lecture capture following on the heels of its November, 2012 merger with LectureTools, which was originally developed at the University of Michigan. LectureTools encompasses a suite of capabilities that include student note-taking and study tools, tools for assessing student performance on online activities, a student response system, and tools that enable students to ask questions online while a class session is taking place. Echo uses an appliance model for classroom capture, with HD capabilities, and has a software capture option called “Personal Capture.”


Core Distinguishing Feature Set

  • Cloud based solution, hosted by Amazon Web Services
  • HD capture appliance for scheduled recordings (1080p, 30fps, encoded output from 240Kbps to 3.2Mbps,centrally and automatically managed/upgraded, dual display, v+d, DVI and composite, RCA and balanced audio)
  • Software-based recording (for in-class, scheduled capture as well as desktop capture)
  • External media ingest
  • Live webcasting
  • Integration with campus systems, including scheduling, audio visual and authentication
  • Easy media upload including mobile upload apps (Android and iOS)
  • Library feature for both instructors and students to share, publish and unpublish material
  • Branding and watermarking
  • Discussion feature that is synchronous and asynchronous
  • Mobile friendly “dashboard” for viewers
  • HTML5 playback on all devices; also provides download options
  • Student engagement  analytics, including heat maps
  • Ability for students to take notes and bookmark sections, rolled into a study guide
  • Presentation tool for instructors to create interactive presentations with polling and quizzing, either on the web or via a PowerPoint ribbon
  • Supports Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, Canvas and Sakai integrations


Recent Updates

In 2014, Echo360 released its new cloud-based Active Learning Platform, and announced that it will no longer be supporting on-prem solutions. This platform continues Echo’s support for traditional hardware and software-based lecture capture, but foregrounds the company’s tools for engaging students in more interactive ways. Notetaking and automatically created, customised study guides are important new features.


Echo360 and Duke

A finalist along with Panopto in 2009’s DukeCapture Transition project, Echo remains a compelling solution, but costs more than Panopto. Additionally, DukeCapture’s focus on standardized PCs instead of black box appliances offers a degree of flexibility and cost-effectiveness that we wouldn’t get if we relied on vendor-supported devices. This is a double-edged sword, however, in that it’s nice to be able to just ship a unit back to the vendor for replacement when there is a problem. This was our experience when we used the appliances with Lectopia in 2008-09 and was confirmed in recent conversations with our peers at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, who praised Echo’s full replacement service for problem units. However, once the warranty for the appliance ends, there is no repair service available (the only option is to purchase a new unit). The acquisition of Lecture Tools and Echo’s ongoing focus on blended learning has solidified, and positioned Echo as a leader in development of a comprehensively interactive framework for products in the classroom capture product space. For now, however, at Duke we are seeing continued demand for a core feature set focused on classroom recording and delivery, and are finding that demand for interactive elements is being met by external tools and add-ons. For example, we are exploring the ability to integrate our Warpwire video publishing service with a third party in-video quizzing solution. Additionally, interactive features such as Panopto provides, such as student note taking, something Echo is currently promoting in their product, are still not widely used in Panopto, which we have found surprising.