Category Archives: Other

NUTELA Small Grants Fund: Short videos as an additional learning resource

Whilst I’m normally on this blog talking about Numbas, this post is dedicated to something else that I take a keen interest in: lecture capture. It describes a pilot project that was funded by the NUTELA group to deploy short, re-purposed ReCap videos in a large engineering module. These were made available to students in addition to the full length ReCap lecture capture, and sat alongside formative tests associated with the content.An example video

A disclaimer, before I go any further… this is a dump of my current thoughts on the topic, and it will save the next person who asks me about ReCap/short videos from suffering me talking at them for an hour! As a result, it’s part project report, opinion piece and tutorial! Despite lacking any focus whatsoever, I hope that you find something interesting…

Motivation

I have been interested for some time in the use of lecture capture. I originally wasn’t a fan, mainly citing a hatred of hearing my own voice!  I have managed to get over that though, and spend a lot of time in computer clusters, where I see first-hand the benefits of ReCap for students. I am particularly fond of telling the story of asking a student which ‘psych-up’ music he was listening to on his headphones before a big class test… he was listening to me giving a lecture!

So I read with interest the results of the 2017 NUSU survey “How Students use ReCap”, and in particular these two results:

How Students use ReCap 2017 Report

Whilst the opportunity to catch up on lectures is clearly very beneficial – in particular, as the associated report mentions, for students with disabilities and those competing in elite sport (and I’ll also throw in those with families or caring responsibilities) – it does not appear to be the primary use of ReCap. This aligns completely with what I see in our computer clusters, which is predominantly students using the resource to prepare for class tests and exams.

Let me reiterate that I’m a big fan of the ReCap provision, before going on to make the following two observations:

1) Our current set up of teaching resources is often very siloed within the VLE. Typically a module might have a separate Blackboard folder for each of lecture notes, additional resources, formative assessments, whatever else… and certainly the default is a separate folder of ReCap videos. But if students are revising a topic for an exam, putting practicalities aside, it seems to make sense for the video content on a topic to sit side-by-side with the other course material.

This was just one of the motivations for our course material tool “Coursebuilder” (which will be the topic of my next blog post here as it happens), to have a stronger integration between different course resources. And it is surprisingly easy (after discovering the method as part of this project) to embed videos next to your lecture notes in Blackboard itself. See the Process for creating videos section below.

2) Slightly more pertinent to this post, our ReCap videos are presented to students as a separate video for each teaching session. Again from a practicality perspective, this seems like the only sensible thing to do, but from the student perspective, is this box-set of lectures the best way for the “series” to be divided, if it is being used for revision? Often topics are split over multiple lectures, or multiple topics are covered in one lecture. In maths, the subject of this project, lectures often contain distinct sections of theory and application/exercises. The student might only be interested in one of those when they come to revise.

A note on the indexing of ReCap videos for mathematics… You may have noticed that ReCap videos containing PowerPoint automatically generate a list of contents. Panopto basically identifies section headings in the presentation. In mathematics, it is rare to see a PowerPoint presentation, they are usually delivered using the visualiser or whiteboard, or as a LaTeX document. Content information  can be added, but only manually after the fact.

The Project

Last Spring, colleagues in engineering maths, David Swailes and John Appleby, approached me to discuss short videos in the ENG1001 Engineering Mathematics module. David had heard of the work of Professor Chris Howls at the University of Southampton, who had successfully used short personal capture videos to enhance a calculus course. We discussed several possible formats for short videos, including something on the lines of what Chris had done, but the nature of the ENG1001 module lent itself to a slightly different and straightforward approach: to re-use a previous year’s ReCap collection. This is because almost precisely the same module content has been delivered (very successfully) over a number of years; last year’s ReCap videos would be almost identical to this year’s.

Continue reading NUTELA Small Grants Fund: Short videos as an additional learning resource

Have your say on the University’s future VLE

Do you want to help inform the University’s decision on the future VLE?

The University is well underway with the review of its Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and following the in-depth consultation that has taken place with staff and students over the past 18 months, the project team have worked hard to ensure the University’s requirements have been captured in the official tender which will be published later in February.

Once we receive suppliers’ responses to our tender, members of the project team will analyse these and will initially determine which suppliers meet our mandatory (pass/fail) requirements.  The project team will then score suppliers based on their responses to our highly desirable/desirable requirements.

We need your input….

The quality of the user experience is a very important element to our tender and will have significant weighting in our scoring process. We would really like both staff and students to get involved with this. During April to June, we will have access to test accounts for the systems that have met our mandatory requirements and volunteers will be asked to undertake a series of tasks, assessing each for ease of use, anticipated support required and system confidence.

It is essential that colleagues involved in this process review all systems that meet our mandatory requirements but it is not anticipated that this will take more than half a day. You will have the option of an organised workshop or completing the tasks in your own time and further details will be provided in the coming weeks.

We need representation from both academic and professional service staff with varying degrees of VLE experience from absolute beginners to expert users.

If you are interested in being involved, please complete this expression of interest form. 

On behalf of the project team, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your engagement throughout the consultation period which has been crucial in getting us to the point of publishing our tender documentation. I look forward to working with you during the next exciting phase.

 

 

 

UKAT Annual Conference 2018 – Workshop: Student perceptions: what is ‘academic support’ and ‘digital academic support’

Workshop 1: Student perceptions: what is ‘academic support’ and ‘digital academic support’ – Andrew Pye – University of Exeter

Peer support scheme has been running for 6 years, based on academic support and led by second year peer leaders. This is formed of group and individual tutorials and they aim to meet 2-3 times a term. The scheme also sees close work with the careers and welfare services. Problem that students do not turn up for tutorials with staff, and if they do turn up they have a quick 5 minutes conversation and leave – how productive was this? Look to offer online support to augment the tutorial system.

Project: Online survey to students based on NSS questions, pastoral system, peer support, online materials and what they might do with new apps. Set up Yammer groups and trialled these. Continue reading UKAT Annual Conference 2018 – Workshop: Student perceptions: what is ‘academic support’ and ‘digital academic support’

VLE Review Focus Group Updates

Since my last post we have held three more focus groups to gather requirements for the University’s future VLE provision.

A group of Professional Service staff from across the University met on the 24th January and had a very productive discussion which resulted in a lot of requirement gathering. This was a more general focus group spanning all themes; course build, assessment and feedback and communication/collaboration. It was very important to hear about the features in our current provision that staff feel are essential. We need to ensure that these are not lost through the procurement process.

On the 25th January we ran the only communication and collaboration focus group as the first session was cancelled due to low numbers. Unfortunately, only half of the staff who had signed up were able to attend but we were still able to gather many requirements. A big focus of the session was on discussion boards which were seen as an essential tool within the VLE, particularly on modules that have online elements.  Improving the interface and user experience across many of the collaboration tools was a common feature of the discussions.

Yesterday, 29th January, the second of the assessment and feedback focus groups took place. This was a well attended focus group with very lively discussions. The session had representation from staff who use Blackboard and staff who use the LSE, the VLE used on the MBBS programme. It was interesting to hear about the functionality currently available on the LSE and how this would be useful on other courses outside of the MBBS programme.

We are running one more Course Build staff focus group on 1st February and then two student focus groups with a more general theme on the 15th February and the 21st February. Please encourage your students to sign up by sharing the links below:

 

There will be free pizza!!!

The next stage of the consultation phase will be to invite suppliers in (March-April) to present their product to us based on the outcomes of the survey and focus groups so look out for invites to these events soon.

Module Outline Forms – new video to guide you through the key fields

If you have trouble remembering what goes where, or have never had to fill in the academic fields of Newcastle University’s Module Outline Forms (MOFs) then this video may be a useful reminder.

Available from both NUVision and YouTube, it should be easy to embed in school webpages, on Blackboard, and to share with colleagues.

Made in a collaboration between FMS and LTDS, we hope it is useful across all schools. We welcome your feedback or ideas of how you might use it locally.

Have your say – Virtual Learning Environment staff focus groups

A number of key themes have emerged from the free text comments provided in the VLE Review staff survey which will be explored in a series of staff focus groups in January 2018.

These will help us to determine what you want to be able to do on a course /module and the functionality that you require in the VLE to meet these aims.

All staff are welcome. An additional Professional Services staff focus group will also be held.

The dates and themes are: Continue reading Have your say – Virtual Learning Environment staff focus groups

LTDS Working with QAA

QAA/Jisc/HESA Business Intelligence Labs

Over the past few months three members of the LTDS team have undertaken the role of ‘Development Team Member’ as part of a QAA team within the QAA/Jisc/HESA Business Intelligence labs project. The idea is that members of the Higher Education community develop data ‘dashboards’ that analyse existing data in new ways. If deemed of interest to wider sector these dashboards may be published on HESA’s HeidiPlus Community Dashboard site.

Using ‘Agile’ methodology and working with colleagues from Durham, Cardiff Met, Queen’s University Belfast and Bournemouth University (alongside support from a QAA ‘scrum master’ and data and tableau experts), we set out to develop a data dashboard that would allow a university to consider the student journey/value added/learning gain, by looking at different factors and how they affect outcomes and leaning gain, so that support and gap areas and effectiveness of interventions can be identified.

Working remotely with only four face to face meetings the team narrowed down the data source to HESA and DLHE data to analyse the outcomes of students from different backgrounds and answer the following questions;

  • How can we demonstrate that as an institution we add value to students?
  • Does everyone get the same level of value from studying or do some groups continue to be disadvantaged?
  • How do our outcomes compare with the sector
  • How do we compare at subject level with our comparators

The final outcome was a set of data dashboards that can aid an institution to assess their position in terms of adding value. The dashboards were presented to a Jisc/HESA experts group with a voting session at the end. The work produced by the team received strong support and it is hoped that some of it will be earmarked to be made available in Heidi Plus Community Dashboards Beta in 2018.

You can find out more about the Business Intelligence labs project by following the link. If you would like further information regarding the project please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

 

Resources to support designing, developing or delivering flipped, blended, or online learning

If you have been thinking about more flexible forms of module or programme delivery, then there are some resources which you may find helpful.

You will find:

  • An introduction to online and blended learning
  • Some definitions of online and blended learning
  • How LTDS can support online or blended course development
  • Some tips on designing online or blended learning
  • Advice on producing online or blended learning

There is also guidance on tailored workshops available and a ‘How To Build a Great Futurelearn Course’ course (approx 8 hours) which we can add you to.  For further information or to discuss your ideas contact online-courses@ncl.ac.uk