upgrade and move to cloud hosting – amended date for planned downtime
As previously communicated, the University will upgrade the ReCap service to the latest version of Panopto (the software that powers ReCap) and transition the service to being cloud hosted for academic year 2023/24.
In preparation for this transition the University IT Team are working closely with Panopto to transfer our recordings to the cloud and ensure that all existing integrations with other University systems (e.g. Canvas and timetabling) continue to work correctly.
To complete this work a period of system downtime is required and this will take place later than initially planned due to the transfer of existing recordings taking longer than Panopto anticipated.
The downtime will now take place during early September (likely to be week commencing 4 September, the exact date to be confirmed when available) and the impact will be as follows:
Viewing of recordings – during the downtime recordings will continue to be available for viewing although users may experience short outage periods of a few minutes.
Creation and editing of recordings – the following activities should not be attempted during the downtime as they will not be transferred to the upgraded system:
creation of new recordings
copying of existing recordings
editing of existing recordings
interactions with recordings (e.g. taking a quiz, making a note, subscribing to a playlist, adding a bookmark)
We are aware that some teaching is due to take place during the downtime and plans have been made to ensure that these sessions can still be recorded using ReCap. Those with teaching sessions scheduled during the downtime will be contacted directly with information about the plans. This will not involve any changes to what presenters are required to do but will mean recordings will not be available as quickly as they normally would.
In an earlier post we showed demonstrated how to host videos on ReCap and Stream and then add them to Canvas. But how do they compare?
Let’s take a student perspective what are the differences between these two as a consumer? If you are making notes from video you’ll value things like variable playback speed, the ability to view full screen and the option of viewing or searching the caption/transcript — all of these are easy to find whether video is hosted on Stream or ReCap.
ReCap has a handy rewind facility – if you miss something you can go back 10 seconds with one click. It also lets you make private timestamped notes on the video – so you can mark places you want to go back to. If the video is long you can help students find their way around by adding Content items.
Stream videos can be added to a watchlist, they can be liked and, if you permit it, students can add comments to the videos. These will be visible by anyone with permissions to view the video. Stream helps you find your way around content by converting any timestamps you put in comments or the video description into clickable links.
There are good reasons to turn comments for particular circumstsances – eg are providing feedback, pointing out helpful sections or taking part in peer review.
Stream videos are only available to people with @newcastle.ac.uk email addresses, so you’ll need to sign in to view the content above. ReCap videos are normally shared with those on a particular course, but you can make them public as we have done with the first video here.
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.
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.
The ReCap team were invited to last week’s Celebrating Success Event in recognition of their fantastic work, in collaboration with staff across the University, over the past 10 years.
Newcastle University has now been involved in lecture and event capture since 2007/08 which was a number of years before the majority of UK HEIs even began to consider the potential benefits of such a service. From the outset the team involved envisioned a pervasive institutional service that would enhance student experience by providing supportive learning resources for all students and especially those with disability, international students and those whose circumstances make attendance at all lectures problematic. Continue reading “Celebrating 10 years of ReCap”
Enhance the variety of teaching, create a resource students like to engage with and save time in the long run. These are just a few positive outcomes Dr Rajesh Tiwari, School of Engeneering, has seen through his use of videos when using a flipped classroom approach.
The videos work brilliantly well when Rajesh wants to give information about practical skills, as well as when there are difficult concepts that need some extra explanation.
From quizzing in the classroom to embedding quizzes in your recap recordings, our latest Pizza, Pop and Practice event covered them all (with a bit of a Christmas theme).
Our experts for this session were Marc Bennett (NUIT), Rebecca Gill (LTDS), Chris Graham (Mathematics, Statistics and Physics) and Carol Summerside (LTDS). They all provided a great overview of the different tools and the session ended with Laura Delgaty’s International Christmas Quiz with prizes for everyone.