App idea: ‘LectureRecorder’

I’ve taken to recording my Macroeconomics III lectures fairly consistently now, owing to the fact that each slide is generally an indecipherable jumble of complex algebra with a few English words thrown in here and there. There are a few people I’ve seen with LiveScribe pens in the lecture hall, but as I have a smartphone, I thought it might be easier (and cheaper!) this way. Hopefully it’ll be of some assistance during revision!

The main problem i’ve found during this are:

Start and stop points

You might be able to rename files after the recording has taken place, but it’s pretty much impossible to tell which slide you’re on, unless the whole lecture hall is rustling paper, indicating that we’re moving to a new page. Especially when you have lecturers who like to labour small details, or often drift from the main subject to provide a few examples, it’s quite hard to map the recording onto a physical set of lecture slides.

Sound quality and playback

Importing the files from phone to computer for playback is relatively simple, but when it comes to reviewing and listening to your recording things start getting difficult. First of all, as I don’t sit in the front row, the entire recording is generally at a very low volume level. OK, with Audacity that’s no problem, simply jump it up to maximum. Now you have a lot of white noise and whenever some delightful person in the row behind decides to cough or sneeze, you either spill tea all over your notes, or get your eardrum perforated from the sudden increase in noise level.

So my main idea is for an entirely new recording app, customised for recording presentations in any situation.

Here’s my ideal feature set:

– Huge buttons for recording / pause / stop recording.
– Flip the app screen so you can easily see functions with the phone upside down.
– Automatic increase of microphone recording level, so programs like Audacity aren’t needed.
– Volume cut off outside of normal levels. Coughs/sneezes/etc don’t register or are reduced.
– Buttons which indicate the next slide and insert an audible tag so you can skip to the relevant page if needed during playback.
– A compatible desktop app which integrates .pdf files of lecture notes with their recorded counterparts, and creates an audible slideshow.
– Automatically post the recording to Dropbox or some kind of backup service.

Then again, with the rise of recorded lectures posted online, I’m not too sure how long we’ll be needed this one!