At the Newcastle Teaching and Learning conference in April, I received a NUTELA award for my presentation “Who wants to be millionaire as a game for Pharmacy Curriculum”. I have used an adapted version of this game as part of my biology seminars for Stage 1 Pharmacy-students. I did this to make the seminar sessions more fun and engaging thanks the competitive nature of the game, but at the same time to test a new approach to facilitate student knowledge retention on a difficult topic of biology, such as immunology is.
The game worked well and the data collected showed that it augments student knowledge retention. Student feedback showed that the game activity was very engaging and that students appreciated working in teams for the game. Therefore, a second aim to keep this game in the seminar sessions, is to help students to practise the team-work skills that they will need in their career. In the feedback form, students acknowledged that they prefer a game activity to a seminar and underlined how enjoyable this is. One student said: “Much better than seminars” Another student said: “Thoroughly enjoyed the session”.
Thanks to the NUTELA award, I was able to fund part of my journey to the Biennal Monash Pharmacy symposium in Prato (Italy) last July, where I presented my work to Pharmacy educators coming from all the world. It was a great experience, I networked with a number of colleagues who expressed interest in the game and in applying it in their own institutions.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
Alison Clapp, Lecturer, Faculty of Medical Sciences Graduate School
Thanks to NUTELA funding my travel, and the FMS Graduate School funding my attendance, I spent two days in Bristol University last summer listening to what other universities (and Newcastle too!) are doing to enhance their students’ learning. Overall it emphasised the practicalities with many presentations on enhancing feedback, technology enhanced learning and student wellbeing. Here is a flavour of the conference:
There was much about student mental health which, in my role with older, part-time, distance students, is not something I have paid much attention to. We should be considering this…. the government is going to make it mandatory for undergraduates (‘UK Step-Change Framework’) and we do need to show we are thinking about it for postgraduates including our online students. We are not meant to be qualified counsellors, but we do need to flag up problems and communicate with students about them including suggestions for getting professional help. The keynote speaker, Fabienne Vailes, will be at the Three Rivers Conference in September. Continue reading NUTELA Small Grants Fund: Enhancing student learning through innovative scholarship conference, Bristol 2018→
Apply for up to £500 to explore and embed technology-enhanced practices into your teaching.
Perhaps you have an idea for your teaching that uses technology, but need some funding to support it or maybe you know of interesting technology enhanced learning at another institution and would like to be able to visit to explore it further.
Applications are invited for a wide range of activities which enable you to explore, disseminate or import ideas and practices, and share these with colleagues at Newcastle through the NUTELA network.
Applications for up to £500 are welcomed, and applications will be on a rolling basis, rather than at set points in the academic year.
Our institutional VLE Blackboard can be made to look more interesting. It’s down to you…
add images to items
think about what you can embed – Video, Slideshare, Polls and quizzes
Add links to discussion boards – and if you use these make sure you have time to contribute and set the tone (be a good cocktail party host at the start). Create an introductory post on each discussion board – it’s far too scary to be the first one who posts.
Make the journey really clear on your course and use weekly emails/announcements to reinforce what’s to be done and reflect on what’s been good.
Information gathering: future demand for online exams and in course tests
The eAssessment and Feedback Steering Group are currently gathering information about potential demand for online exams and in course tests in the next 5 years.
We are asking all colleagues who are interested in introducing a new online exam (whether for a new module, or a change to assessment method in a current module) to complete a short online form for each potential new exam.
The information collected will be used to gauge demand and assist in planning future provision.
By Laura Delgaty, Senior Lecturer and Chair of NUTELA
Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University gave us an excellent update on the digital scholar during a webinar held on 30 April 2018.
Using Boyer’s model of scholarship as a framework, he explained that digital scholarship increases student recruitment, engagement and research impact. By addressing scholarship and increasing open resources, we are able to attract different and larger audiences and this in itself can be a valuable research tool and method. He reviewed some valuable opportunities and threats and highlighted the value of digital scholarship for early career researchers, academics and encouraged collaboration for both staff and students.
Overall, fantastic presentation and great questions. You can find the recording here
Sonia Bussey and Dr Jo Matthan are the first successful recipients of the NUTELA Small Grants Fund. The fund was set up this academic year with the aim of helping colleagues explore and embed technology-enhanced practices into their learning and teaching.
Sonia will be using the funds to support her submission to the Three Rivers Conference where she will be delivering a ‘show and tell’ session to introduce delegates to Adobe Connect web-conferencing software as an innovative platform to support student learning at distance.
Joanna is going to be attending the International Conference AMEE to present the results of The Darkside of Technology Enhanced Learning in Medical Education.
“I am delighted to be one of the first applicants to receive a NUTELA small grant. It will allow me to explore technology-enhanced practices utilised elsewhere, disseminate some of the experiences we have gleaned from our project to a wider audience and help evaluate practices that I hope will enhance the overall student experience. The grant is an important statement to those of us on the shop-floor and, on a very practical level, illustrates that Newcastle University values even the small-scale projects we do to promote innovation in technology-enhanced learning and to evaluate the real implications of these innovations for staff and students.”
Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates (NUTELA) were busy in advance of this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference, reviewing all submissions relating to Technology Enhanced Learning.
Student engagement, transferability to other areas and innovation were all key in the decisions of the group.
Three fantastic winners were selected, each winning funds to further develop or disseminate their project.