2. Use Canvas modules to set a flow through your course
Use your Canvas modules to direct student’s activity week by week or topic by topic. Every Canvas course has a sample structure that you can adapt to match your teaching pattern. You can hide or lock materials that aren’t yet relevant and even set requirements so that student need to view or complete certain conditions before they can move on.
Without the normal structure of face to face time on campus it’s harder for many students to structure their time.
Add a weekly overview to give students an idea of your expectations for how much time to spend on the activities for a given week. This will help them plan their time, and make sure they give their attention to the things that you signpost as being most important.
From overwhelmed to ordered
It will take a bit of time to consider ordering, signposting, and setting a flow in your modules, but this need not be onerous and it’s one way you can help your students feel less overwhelmed in these strange times.
There are lots of different ways of making videos and generating captions. In this blog post we’ll present two of these recipes – think of them as starting points that you can adapt and develop – they use existing University systems – so all you need is a web browser.
When we make recordings and videos for student to watch before or after scheduled teaching sessions we need to add captions to these videos. Captions are a text alternative that makes the video meaningful to someone with hearing difficulties. We also know that they are used significantly by non-native speakers, and those working in noisy environments.
When a video has captions applied the person watching the video can turn them on and off – this is normally done by clicking on a “CC” (closed captions) button.
The captions for a video are held in a text file that contains segments of text along with timestamps.
Video files are large, and your Canvas course is limited to 20GB of file attachments. So, it makes sense to add videos to one of our University Video Platforms (ReCap or Stream) and embed them into Canvas from there. ReCap and Stream both have Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) capabilities and can add machine generated captions to videos. These won’t be 100% accurate, but they can be edited.
In overview the process is:
Upload your video
Add, edit and publish the machine generated captions
Publish the video in your Canvas course
You can view all the content that you have access to on ReCap by going to your campus ReCap site (Newcastle, London and NUMED/NUIS)
Do I have to edit automatic captions for my videos?
The university has recently agreed text for a captions disclaimer for students. This makes it clear that automatically generated captions aren’t 100% accurate and that students need to be use these alongside their wider reading. Students requiring accurate captions as part of their reasonable adjustments should contact their disability adviser.
If time permits, light touch editing of captions will help many students.
We start 2020 with our new VLE, Canvas, and a rich array of digital learning tools that can be used to support teaching. There are so many possibilities and it could easily be overwhelming.
This is a short post to begin to answer one of the questions I heard last week “What tools should I invest in?”.
But, let’s back up a bit, before considering tools we need to think about what we want these tools to help us to achieve? Way back in 1998 Anderson and Garrison described three more common types of interaction involving students:
Let’s use this to come up with our list…
Your starting point here is Canvas itself. You can present information on pages, embed documents, link to resources on library reading list, include videos, audio and ReCap recordings.
Canvas support a wide range of question types: multiple choice, gap fill, short answer, matching, multiple answer. Quizzes can help students practice skills, check their learning and encourage them revisit material.
For short PowerPoint narrations the easiest place to start is the recording features that come as part of ReCap. We tend to think of ReCap as a lecture recording tool, but there is also a fabulous ReCap Personal Capture tool that you can use to record yourself, and publish in Canvas. There are several bonuses with using ReCap – you have the ability to do make simple edits, you can use automatic speech recognition to generate captions, and students have the ability pause, rewind and make notes on the recordings that you publish. ReCap personal capture comes in as tool #3 – you can install on your computer, or if you prefer you can use the new browser based recorder – Panopto Capture (beta).
Outside the limited amount of PiP time you are likely to be meeting your students online. For synchronous meetings there is increasingly little to choose from between Zoom and Teams – the only significant factor being that Zoom permits people to connect by phone – so supports those on lower bandwidth.
Now is a great time to become confident with the online meeting tool you are planning on using throughout your module. I’ll leave it to you if #4 for you is Teams or Zoom – it would be sensible to settle on one, for you and your students. Teams could be a strong contender if you plan to use this as a collaboration space over the module/stage, in which case do review the article on Building an online community using Teams.
Once you setting on your meeting tool, now is a great time to explore options for using whiteboards, polling, breakout rooms in these spaces and to begin to plan active online sessions.
For tool #5 I’d go with Canvas Discussions – these are easy to use, work really well in the Canvas Student and Teacher apps and are great for Q&A sessions, introductions, crowd-sourcing activities, and of course discussions!
Learning at university is a social! There are huge limitations on what we can do in person – but what can we do to help learning be as social as it can be? This isn’t so much about tools, but about the activities we design in: break out room discussions, group tasks, peer reviews, debates – things that might start in a timetabled session and then spill out.
For synchronous meetings and study sessions all our students have access to Zoom and Teams. We can model how to use these, build students’ confidence in these spaces and show them how they can collaborate in Microsoft 365 collaborative spaces (Word documents, OneNote…). I’ve already mentioned Teams and Zoom (#4), so for tool #6 I’ll pitch for Microsoft 365 with an emphasis on collaboration.
In our recent Pizza Pop and Practice event, Dr Ahmed Kharrufa and Dr Tom Bartindale from OpenLab let us loose on an app that Tom has been developing over the last few years called Bootlegger.
Bootlegger makes it easy to help people make videos together using mobile applications. One person creates a “Shoot” and invites others “the crew” to contribute. The Shoot contains a template with the set of shots required in the video. The crew sign into Bootlegger, join the shoot and then choose the shot to take from the template.
We used a template that Ahmed had offered to his students – one designed to help them capture feedback on Ahmed’s teaching. (A uniquely student centred view!)
Our film crew of 21 experimented and happily collected over 47 clips. Each person could then view all the clips in the shoot and curate a video by adding clips to a timeline.
Bootlegger made the process really easy and engaging.
You can find out more information about Bootlegger here:
Ahmed also introduced us to how the Event Movement site https://eventmovement.co.uk/ site could be used to enable students to co-design teaching sessions.
Ideas in Event Movement move through stages Promote -> Get involved -> Plan it. Students were invited to contribute ideas for a teaching session, they could vote on the proposed topics and once the topic of the event was selected could get involved in co-designing the session – proposing and voting on different ideas. Ahmed’s slides from the session give further details.
LTDS hosted the first of our Feeling Connected events last week. The series is all about how to help to engage large students cohorts in the classroom and beyond. In this initial session we considered how to engage students in the lecture.
Tony Chapman-Wilson brought an actors perspective on how to get the best out of, and look after our voices. He had us humming, thinking about our diaphragms and tripping over tongue twisters.
Sue Gill spoke about Powerpoint as an aid; we presented feedback from the recent TEA awards from NUSU on what student appreciate; heard top tips from colleagues via podcasts and Dr Alison Graham rounded the session off with real examples and insights from her use of the OMBEA student response system.
The start of a new year is always a great time to consider problems you would like to solve and changes you would like to make.
On 23 January 2017, Newcastle University opens The Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen, our free online course, to a new group of learners. The four week course recreates the creative atmosphere of a shed – or any other place where you do your best thinking and doing. It promises to be a great place for you to work on those new year challenges and ideas.
Here, Katie Wray, Lead ‘Sheducator’, explains why you should all be joining her in The Enterprise Shed.
Enterprise and entrepreneurship at a grassroots level
Firstly, let me unpack ‘enterprise’. For me, enterprise is about making creativity, problem solving and ideas practical. This makes it relevant across all areas of education, not just business. Where enterprise is applied to creating a new venture, it is commonly known as ‘entrepreneurship’.
The Enterprise Shed challenges a variety of definitions of the entrepreneur, and looks at enterprise and entrepreneurship at a grassroots level. On the course, you will be introduced to a whole bunch of entrepreneurial individuals and teams, not all of whom refer to themselves as ‘an entrepreneur’.
How to make change in your own context
We are committed to exploring this question with you throughout the course, supporting you to draw your own conclusions about how you can make change in your own context.
Our other commitment is to exploring your ideas – collecting insights into what a solution looks like and helping you to turn that idea into something tangible. Finally, we are committing to developing your network, through which you can share your ideas, and put them into action once the course has finished.
That’s where you come in. This course is about you; it is about your role, through your ideas, in creating change. There are three main reasons why you should join us in The Enterprise Shed:
Develop confidence in yourself as a “doer”
You will do this by analysing the behaviours of other entrepreneurial people who you will be introduced to on the course. You will draw conclusions about the way that they “do” and what you might “do” when approaching your own challenges, problems and projects.
Address problems you want to change
You will do this through identifying problems, sharing them with others, creating and collaborating on ideas generation, and developing solutions together with peers on the course.
Meet people and build networks
We will do this by forming virtual networks around the globe, which can outlive the end of the course. You will meet people that share your passions and drivers to make change in your world, find out where you can go for help, and collaborate to achieve impact.
The Enterprise Shed is not just a course, but a place where you can go to think, and critically, to do.
The LTDS Online Courses Team have been experimenting with a number of online tools to support team-working and in the process have become great fans of Trello.
A team in different places
Trello gives us a live representation of the project and current responsibilities. It is easy for us to add new people to the Trello Board as the project progresses irrespective of where they are.
To put on a course we bring together a team – academic colleagues, digital media, LTDS. We are in different locations, and our academic leads can often be off campus. An online tool works really well for us.
Enterprise Shed 2 Trello Board
Mocking up courses
Trello comes into its own after we have done a good deal of planning (on Post-it notes and paper). We create a Trello List for each Week and give each step a Trello card.
By mocking up the course in this way it makes it easy to check that we have variety of media/approaches and it enables us to experiment with different routes through the learner activities.
If we think the content could be ordered better, then Trello allows us to drag and drop elements.
We also tend to add extra Trello Lists to the board to share project documents and resources eg actions around Marketing. This gives us a a complete “dashboard” for the project.
Customising Trello – agreeing conventions
One of the best things about Trello is that it is so easy to customise to meet your needs. If you can agree conventions with your team before you start you will reap the rewards later.
Here are some examples of what we did:
To help us see the mix of content in each week we defined labels that related to the activity type for each step, and applied these labels to the steps.
We added Trello checklist to steps to record work to be done and progress.
We dragged cards which were finished to the “done” list once work on the associated step was complete.
Borrowing from agile practitioners, we indicated the amount of work left on a card by adding a number of asterisks to the end of each card’s title. (*) trivial, through to (***) significant
We put links on each card so that we could go straight to the step on the course. That way if you spotted your name on a card, had time to give you could click through and edit the course content in a couple of clicks.
We added comments to Trello cards to remind ourselves of where we had got to, and to leave notes for other team members.
Other useful things
It is mobile friendly – Trello works really well on phones and tablets and has mobile apps available from the relevant appstores.
Trello has a good search function – eg “#video WEEK 2” gives the status of steps in Week 2 that have been labelled as video.
This September sees an opportunity to take part in our Ageing Well: Falls course, the third time we have delivered the course on FutureLearn.
Looking back at our previous two courses, it is a real pleasure to see how engaged and enthusiastic our learners were with the course materials. Learners worked together as a community and participated in discussions, activities and quizzes, creating an active and supportive learning environment.
Should this be a surprise? Well not really, we know that FutureLearn have been working hard to “pioneer the best social learning experiences for everyone” and our course shows that this still holds with an older audience.
In the UK, only 9% of people aged over 65 and 36% of those aged 55-64 used a computer on a daily basis when surveyed in 2006. But by August 2014, these figures had risen to 42% and 74% respectively. Of particular relevance to our Ageing Well: Falls course, is that when older people use the Internet, one of the main reasons is to seek health information. 1, 2
Data from our course also helps to show that older people engage with online learning. The graph below shows the age distribution of 412 people who volunteered their age during one of our activities. The oldest learner completing this activity was 87, showing that you are never too old to learn!