June 2015 – Work Review

MC Work Log

This month I have been mostly making videos and talking to people. With a bit of feedback collecting too.

In-class technology

Following up on interest from teaching staff in being able to capture hand-written content using Replay, I spent a little time this month putting together some videos on how to use visualisers (document cameras) and Smart Podium (pen-based touch screens, like Smart Boards, but as monitors) that are available in some of our rooms. As someone who has taught in rooms with this equipment before, I have to admit being a little unsure about how it would work in a live teaching session, however when making these videos it actually turned out to be pretty straightforward, and dare I say it, intuitive. In some rooms it’s possible to make ‘ad hoc’ recordings, so teaching staff could use the existing set up to create annotated screencasts and recordings of worked examples whenever the room is free.

The videos are below showing some typical use cases. For visualisers, these can be used just like old over-head projectors (OHPs), but with the added advantage that you don’t need to use transparent paper and it can be recorded digitally using lecture capture. Having a wadge of plain paper to hand, you can use these like flipchart, or with pre-prepared fill-in-the-gap handouts, to help structure student note-taking. Visualisers are cameras, so you can also conduct small physical demonstrations for recording.

With high-resolution touch screens that work with pens, hand-written content can also be digitally captured. Although the ergonomics might be something to look at, I think one of the most powerful use cases is where you are gathering student contributions during activities. Rather than putting these on flipchart or chalkboards, adding the as annotations during a PowerPoint slide show means the file can be uploaded afterwards with student contributions in context. See the videos for examples.

There are two more videos using the Smart Podium for website annotation and Word documents.

Learning and Teaching Conference

The Annual York Learning and Teaching Conference took place on 10 June and I presented and contributed towards a presentation as part of a session looking at the role lecture recordings play in supporting student learning. I was also pleased that, with thanks to AV for setting up the hardware and the session chairs for pressing the start/stop buttons, we were able to record the majority of the sessions. Further details are available on the York Forum website.

Working with Dr Martin Smalley who piloted full video recording of his lectures, I pulled together a number of statistics from YouTube and the survey data from students, comparing to our institutional surveys. We found some interesting patterns with regards to selective viewing of recordings. The topics that had no prior foundation material in the previous year were viewed more, and topics that were explicitly mentioned as not being assessed were viewed less. Attendance was also noticeably lower than the self-reported average from the institutional survey, however these lectures were early in the day and may have been affected by requirements of other parts of the course such as completing lab work and reports. Dr Smalley’s YouTube channel is publicly available and his opening lecture already has over 1000 views.

For my own presentation, I drew upon the REC:all framework for positioning lecture capture against different learning objectives and approaches to learning. Suggesting that student work over a module is an interplay between lectures, seminars, independent study and assessment, the role lecture capture plays in supporting student learning can be better understood. By enabling students an additional opportunity to ground their understanding in key theories and concepts presented in lectures, I argue they are better able to create links between learning and teaching activities.

I presented an extract of some of the data analysis for the research project I am working on, which tends to support this idea. Students talk about accessing the lecturer’s perspective and being able to engage more in the session. Critics of lecture capture may argue that it encourages students to view that the lecturer always holds the answers. However, that tendency is a consequence of the ‘sage on the stage’ lecture as a teaching method, not necessarily through the provision of a recording.

Slides for the presentation are included below:

[slideshare id=49228582&doc=matt-cornock-york-lt-conf-2015-learning-before-and-after-the-lecture-150610155152-lva1-app6891]

University of York users can access the recordings for both presentations via Replay:

Other activities

I attended the NELE (North East Learning Environments) event at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, whilst it might be argued York is classed as Yorkshire rather than North East, such geographical details failed to stop me. The focus of the meeting was on content development and empowering teaching staff to create high-quality online content. This is one area that I actually feel we could do more on, as I feel like sometimes there is more focus on student activity with learning technology, with an underlying assumption that content development is something everyone is already comfortable and competent in. I’ve already set up a Xerte sandbox on my work PC, so I’ll be revisiting my preconceptions about self-paces, linearly driven learning objects in the near future. There was also ample discussion of the role of online methods of digital marking and in-class polling tools. I’ll be writing a summary for the ELDT blog at some point, so expect more in the July work review.

I’ve started my round of departmental visits, as I’ll be liaising with a handful of departments directly next academic year. I’m looking forward to being able to work with different disciplines and understanding their pedagogical approaches and how what we offer centrally in terms of learning technology and advice can support their learning and teaching aims.

I attended the University’s Distance Learning Forum, which offered excellent examples of learning and teaching practice across the institution’s online programmes. Presentations covered topics such as the challenges of assessing mathematics online to account for marks for working out, and the role of video feedback as asynchronous, two-way dialogue between supervisor and student via YouTube. There was one participant online via Skype, using the RevoLabs HD wireless boundary mic kit from AV which worked brilliantly.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been involved in getting documentation sorted for the tender exercise for expanding lecture capture to more rooms at the University. A blog post about this has now gone up on the ELDT website to give you a sense of the scale of the project!

I have also begun work pulling together different feedback on the Replay service, from department student evaluations, general comments from our feedback form and comments from staff in newly signed-up departments. These contribute towards the Replay Steering Group discussions which help establish priorities for the service.

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