Recording Educational Activities Policy

Our Recording Educational Activities Policy has now been approved and is available from the RAU Academic policies and procedures page.

The policy provides guidance for the recording by University staff, students or others, of activities delivered with an educational purpose by, or for, the Royal Agricultural University.

A while ago we shared guidance based on this policy including an infographic with tips on recording content online.

Hold Your Digital Horses. Time for an Online Symposium.

The University of East London (UEL) hosted their Learning & Teaching Symposium on Microsoft Teams on Thursday 17th September. A slide from the final keynote delivered by Simon Thomson (@digisim) from the Centre for Innovation in Education exploring the Physical and Digital: Exploring places and spaces for hybrid teaching in a post-lockdown world.

Pivot within a Pivot. Digital Wheel within a Digital Wheel.

Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams have played an important role at RAU, a Zoom with the SDAU project which was the topic of a poster presentation delivered at the event by @digitalrau, Digital Learning Manager and @pipmcdonald, Learning Technologist. The event had different rooms with different themes where presentations were delivered simultaneously. Our room explored Teaching Principles in Practice. We successfully submitted a proposal to the symposium exploring the transnational online pivot relating to the longstanding project the RAU is involved with working with Shandong University in China. The transational pivot was almost like a pivot within a pivot, a digital wheel within a digital wheel.

A Learning & Teaching Symposium: Tech Incognita for Terra Incognita?

As a learning and teaching event, my initial concern was that both our roles and activity were concerned with learning technology and not pedagogy in an explicit capacity. Some Learning technologist roles are more technical and others are more focused on pedagogy. However, the more work I carried out on the project the more I realised the pedagogy was driving the narrative of the project rather than the technology. This was echoed In the Microsoft Teams chat during our poster presentation.

Never Mind the Buzztech. Putting the Learning in Learning Technology.

“When a ‘learner’ sits alone in front of a computer and engages with a text displayed on screen there is more going on than the interaction of that individual with the screen” (Jewitt, 2006: p76). An evaluation form in Microsoft Forms with a range a questions including using Likert scale and ranking was created and emailed to lecturers who taught on the project. The benefit of using Microsoft Forms is that the results are created in real time. One of the questions asked what types of learning took place during the interactive sessions? Lecturers identified that multimodal learning was form of learning that took place the most. Multimodality can be understood whereby “…all modes of communication are attended to as part of meaning making…” (Jewitt, 2006: p3 ). More specifically, multimodality can be seen as “…images, sounds, space, and movement representing and communicating meaning (Kress, 2010, in Miller & McVee). Multimodal approaches to pedagogy are becoming widely used in academia (Jewitt, Bezemer & O’Halloran, 2016). Having explored multimodality in education at the MFL Twitterati conference at the Ashcombe school  in Dorking organised by the Association for Language Learning (ALL) in 2019 and at the Missing Maps mapathon event at University College London (UCL) in 2019 – , I was keen to explore this more. Zoom could be argued to be a platform for “multimodal discourse” (Kress & van Leewen, 2001). It could also be argued that multimodality literacy could potentially help to move across any potential language barriers. Participating in a Zoom meeting is a multimodal experience – “When a ‘learner’ sits alone in front of a computer and engages with a text displayed on screen there is more going on than the interaction of that individual with the screen” (Jewitt, 2006: p76). A further study could be completed to explore the impact of multimodal approaches to learning and teaching.  

The Power of Research Informed Pedagogic Practice

Lecturers wanted to explore how to use the interactive features in Zoom included break out rooms, polling and whiteboard. The technology was a platform for the pedagogy. There is a well-known quotation that ‘When the student is ready the teacher will appear’. What about the Learning Technologist?  The truth is Learning Technologists appeared in a radical way particularly during lockdown to facilitate the online pivot.

When asked what approaches Lecturers took in the interactive sessions on Zoom, the majority used the chat function and share screen. What emerged pedagogically was that some teachers wanted to explore more features such as polling, breakout rooms and whiteboard. As a Learning Technologist, this was exciting to support and a model we hope to follow up on the next iteration of the project. Pedagogy driving the narrative of the project and not necessarily the technology was the critical thread we wanted to stress in the presentation.

With respect to how Lecturers engaged with students in interactive sessions, approaches included  team teaching or having more than one lecturer is a Zoom meeting. This seemed like an effective approach for example while one Lecturer presented content, another Lecturer could manage the chat. This approach makes sense particularly in virtue of the fact that over one time with a hundred students were in meetings at any one time.  Successfully engaging with such a large number of students is always challenge. Lecturers’ ideas were impressive, for example, one lecturer was going to do a live auction in Zoom which was a really engaging scenario-based approach.

Two Hats or Two Tribes: A Teacher & A Learning Technologist

From my experience in the role of a Teacher of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), one of the challenges is that few students speak up in transnational contexts. This was also a point that was raised as part of the research project.  One of the approaches one Lecturer took was to have smaller groups running consecutively where students had to work collaboratively to create a proposal on PowerPoint and each person would have a role assigned to them a bit like De Bono’s thinking hats (De Bono, 2000). We hope to take this model forward. Emergent pedagogies were important for us. We could move towards a model of De Bono’s Digital Thinking Hats. One of the questions we were asked about our research project was about this approach:

My response was to remind everyone that learning is always about relationships and explained how the approach worked in terms of smaller groups helping students to actively contribute. It was also meaningful to feedback to the lecturer who created the approach that the approach he took was shared and successful.

Zoom, Boom & Bloom

Both student and lecturer feedback was similar about not having a personal connection in a face to face setting, there was evidence of valuable personalised touches to pedagogy. The phrase I used in the presentation was that it was not the ‘ghost ion the zoom machine’. For example, one of Lecturers showed the students her garden and environment during an interactive session. Students of Agriculture as a curriculum area would find this helpful in real time. Additionally, a Lecturer allowed students to talk with her son who was a student studying Mining Engineering and they shared a valuable discussion on sustainability. Even given the contextual restraints of the transnational online pivot, unplanned valuable pedagogic moments can still take place. It is not just Zoom, doom and gloom, but rather Zoom, Boom and Bloom! Bloom’s taxonomy has been revised to include digital skills (McNulty, 2020). Perhaps a specific taxonomy could be created for Zoom or video meeting-based platforms.

Back to the Future, Feedback & Feedforward

The first keynote of the symposium was delivered by Dr. Naomi Winstone (@DocWinstone) from University of Surrey exploring moving feedback forwards in higher education. She showed a word cloud about how people feel about feedback and talked about embracing vulnerability in feedback scenarios:

The idea of feedback was also relevant to our research project. We wanted to explore the extent to which peer review of the interactive sessions would be helpful:

We also received some positive feedback from our poster presentation from one of the session Chairs, Ella Mitchell (@meatyloafy) on Twitter:

The Power of Blogging, Reflection and Digital Transformation

At RAU we have a digital transformation blog as a platform for reflection. One of the interesting parts of this project was the reflective blogs posts created by Marieke, myself and Bonnie Wang and Lola Huo from Sinocampus in China. Reflective blogs are useful tool particularly in a case study to dig deep and immerse in the complexities. The blog series can be accessed here. When working in a collaborative capacity with transnational patterns, it felt important to invite our colleagues, Bonnie Wang and Lola Huo from Sincocampus in China to reflect too.

The Dissolution of face-to-face learning. You have reached the end of education. Stuck between a digital rock and a digital hard place?

Lecturers are used to traditional face-to-face settings and one lecturer made reference to how they checked students faces for understanding in the online questionnaire. As Simon Thompson (@digisim) said in the final keynote, “We hold face to face very dear” (Thompson, 2020). Notwithstanding, the Lecturers’ ability to adapt content and deliver was impressive. In the final keynote of the Learning & Teaching symposium, Simon Thompson (@digisim) said “we have all had to learn new skills in digital space. [It’s about]…digital need not digital skills” (Thompson, 2020).  The need to adapt was undeniable. Perhaps we can change the saying ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear’ to ‘when the lecturers are ready the learning technologist will appear’.

Thoroughly Modern Technology. Unpacking the logistics of Online Learning

Other presentations were both relevant and helpful. For example, it was interesting to hear how David Murray, Dr Caroline McGlynn and Khadija Ahmed from the University of East London (UEL) had introduced welcome slides as a simple yet highly effective way to engage students and overcome what they called what they called ‘unexpected barriers’ to online learning and teaching. The Salsa music was an effective way to engage students.

Going, Growing & Knowing?

In conclusion, we hope to explore working with China within the JISC international community, we are keen to unpack how digital accessibility will have an impact on how we plan the delivery of next part of the project, more specifically with respect to captions. We hope to contribute to the #ChinaHE20 online event by University of Manchester exploring how to work with uncertainty – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/china-and-higher-education-navigating-uncertain-futures-tickets-112516945212. A key idea that resonated with me in relation to this project was that “We don’t just go through projects, we GROW through projects”. The opportunity to participate in this symposium in this capacity as a research informed model has undoubtedly helped us with this growth process. Pivots aside, let’s keep growing together.

It is possible to access the poster on Slideshare here.

The video recordings of the presentations can be accessed on YouTube here.

The recording of our presentation can be access at 19:04 here:

Bibliography

De Bono, E (2000) Six Thinking Hats (Penguin: London)

Guy, M & McDonald, P (2020) The Transational Online Pivot: A Case Study Exploring Online Delivery in ChinaIn: University of East London (UEL) 2020. Learning & Teaching Symposium. 17th September. Online.

Jewitt, C (2006) Technology, Literacy, Learning: A Multimodal Apprach (Oxon & New York: Routeldge)

Jewitt, C, Bezemer, J & O’Halloran, K (2016) Introducing Multimodality (Oxon & New York: Routledge)

Kress, G & van Leewen, T (2001) Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication (London: Arnold; New York, Oxford University Press)

University of East London (UEL) 2020. Learning & Teaching Symposium. 17th September.

McNulty, N (2020) Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy (Cape Town: HH Books)

Miller, S, M & McVee, M, B () Multimodal Composing: The Essential 21st Century Literacy in Multimodal Composing in Classrooms Learning and Teaching for the Digital World (Routledge: London and New York). pp1-13

Murray, D, McGlynn, C & Ahmed, Khadija (2020) The logistics of online learning. In: University of East London (UEL) 2020. Learning & Teaching Symposium. 17th September. Online.

Thomson, S (2020) Exploring places and spaces for hybrid teaching in a post-lockdown world. In: University of East London (UEL) 2020. Learning & Teaching Symposium. 17th September. Online.

UEL Learning and Teaching Symposium 2020 (2020) UEL Learning and Teaching Symposium 2020 – Room 1 – Teaching Principles in Practice [online video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtvJB4KnO2Q&list=PLuuOV6nj7vpT9pbYj2Xy889O4C0X6_FoZ&index=4&t=1154s [Accessed 6th October 2020]

Winstone, N (2020) Moving feedback forwards in higher education. In: University of East London (UEL) 2020. Learning & Teaching Symposium. 17th September. Online.

 

Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐyú zú xià. Laozi: Delivering online teaching in China

In the next in our series of blog posts on delivery of online teaching to Shandong Agriculture University (SDAU) Pip takes over and shares highs and lows from the first week of interactive teaching.

And remember each 10,000 mile journey begins with just 1 step (千里之行,始於足下 Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐyú zú xià. Laozi.

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I started working at RAU in May 2020 and immediately started on the online teaching project at SDAU in June 2020. Early in June it was acknowledged that students would not be able to return to campus and so all pre-recorded content was passed over to the SDAU team, they would take responsibility for delivering it to students. When teaching officially began on 15th June our biggest concern was the interactive sessions.

Interactive sessions using Zoom

We had changed from using WeChat to using Zoom a short time before teaching was planned to go ahead. It was time to ‘deep dive’ into exploring how to use Zoom as a platform on which interactive sessions would take place. Zoom had become used widely as a platform for remote and online learning and working throughout the pandemic. I had heard a great deal about new phrases such as ’Zoom bombing’ (O’Flaherty, 2020). Additionally, there was a great deal of discussion of ‘Zoom fatigue’ (Fosslien & Duffy, 2020). Whilst I had some experience of using Zoom before for example as a platform for delivering presentations using the chat and sharing screen features but I was not a Zoom expert and did not have experience being a ‘host’ so I felt that I needed to rapidly upskill if I was to support our lecturing staff using Zoom.

To support use of Zoom I offered ‘Zoom Drop In’ sessions to our lecturers who wanted to try out some the features before teaching went live. I was committed to exploring what ‘Zoom Literacy’ would be. When you have to teach someone else something, it is a good way of making sure you know how to use to first. I created approximately one hundred meetings so experienced my own version of ‘Pre-Zoom fatigue’. What we discovered during the first week was that it was not possible for the same host with the same account to host simultaneous meetings which prevented some of the interactive sessions from taking place on time or altogether. The error message ’The host has another meeting in progress’ became very familiar. This meant that we rapidly developed a workaround to solve the problems. For example, Chantal and Husna, the other RAU Learning Technologists created meetings. When it became clear that there were just too many parallel sessions required our IT Service Desk created some additional accounts for me to use. As a result, the timetabling process became very complex. Some of the interactive capabilities were restricted as the lecturers were not ‘hosts’. As a result, one of the Lecturers, Deepak Pathak and I decided to test out polling and break rooms in an exploratory longer case study interactive session. The two hour session involved exploring Starbucks. Deepak shared screens to reinforce the correct answers for example showing a Google Map of the location of RAU.

It was positive when the lecturing staff emailed me after their session to reflect on how it went. This helped identify ways to improve what we do for subsequent iterations of online teaching. I dropped into the majority of interactive sessions to see how teachers were using Zoom to engage students for example one of our lecturers, Nicola Cannon used a quiz format effectively.

Later on in the week I set up an online community of practice on Gateway, RAU’s Moodle VLE as part of a forum to share best practice.

“We all belong to communities of practice” (Wenger, 1998, p6)

An additional idea I had was to create a ‘sandbox’ approach on Zoom where all the Lecturers could share ideas of how to create interactive sessions without worrying about making a mistake during a live session.

I shared a Zoom webinar led by Eden Project Communities which was a ‘testpad’ for Zoom practices with Lecturers. I attended and it was great to see one of RAU’s Lecturers participate too. The session involved taking part in a breakout room as a student which was helpful to understand what the Zoom experience is like from the perspective of the student. One of the most helpful activities was a collaborative whiteboard led by host Samantha Evans where we explored games, collaborative activities, Zoom and other tools.

At this point in time we are currently starting the third and final week of teaching. My reflections are concerned with moving towards an evaluation of the project, I’ve recently created a problem-solution spreadsheet where I identified areas of development and potential strategies to overcome the problems.

Assessment

Throughout the three weeks of teaching, it was intended that assessments would take place every Friday. Accordingly, I tried to develop a workflow for assessment which involved the Lecturers creating the tests with the answers and articulating what invigilation might look like with Bonnie Wang and Lola Huo from SDAU. Early on in the process we found out that 30% of the marks were for attendance. We explored how Zoom can provide attendance monitoring reports and discovered that this was possible. Another challenge we experienced was that during week two of teaching, the Department of Education of Shandong informed SDAU that examinations need to be postponed. As a result, we responded by identifying alternative dates and ways of carrying out assessment.

The SDAU project journey began with one step. We learned a great deal in a short space of time and developed ways to overcome challnges rapidly. I’m looking forward to the next steps. In future, we would like to work with JISC to explore how their transnational expertise can help us improve what we do. We attended a webinar led by UCISA on the topic of Improving online access in China and had a positive meeting with Dr. Esther Wilkinson, Baoyu Wang and Anne Prior from JISC about how we can work together in a constructive capacity. JISC have recently launched a pilot to explore what quality online education looks like for Chinese students (JISC, 2020).

A huge thank you to Marieke Guy, Xianmin Chang, Steve Finch, Bonnie Wang and Lola Huo for their hard work and support to make the project happen.

In the next post we’ll look the final week of teaching delivery and lessons learnt.

By Falling We Learn to Go Safely, Chī yī qiàn, zhǎng yī zhì,吃一堑,长一智

Bibliography

Yībù yīgè jiǎoyìn: Delivering online teaching in China

The Chinese proverb Yībù yīgè jiǎoyìn means ‘Every step makes a footprint’. In the second of our blog posts on delivery of online teaching to Shandong Agriculture University (SDAU) we will start to look at how our steady work started to make good progress, and some of the curve balls that were thrown at us. We will cover how the pre-recorded video content was created, our initial interactive session plans using WeChat and then pass the baton on to our new Learning Technologist support.

At the base of Taishan Mountain

At the base of Taishan Mountain, Shandong

As explained in the previous post SDAU teaching was to commence in China in June and would last for three weeks. This three weeks would become (to some extent) our pilot project.

In discussions with SDAU it was agreed that the format for a day of module teaching would consist of 3 pre-recorded lectures (approximately 40-45 minutes each) and 1 interactive session. These teaching sessions would follow the existing timetable. At this point it was not know if the students would be back on site or still at home, we also didn’t know if Panopto would work completely…so there were plans and contingency plans, and then further contingency plans! They looked a little like this:

If Panopto works in China:

  1. Setting up an account for the SDAU Sinocampus staff and allowing them to deliver the content from Gateway during lessons
  2. Making the Panopto videos open and sharing the links so the SDAU Sinocampus staff could share in lessons

If Panopto does not work in China:

  1. Delivering the videos through an alternate video service like Stream, or another Webinar service
  2. Downloading the videos and sharing either through Gateway or some other online service (depending on which service works in China)
  3. Downloading the videos and sharing through a file transfer service
  4. Downloading the videos and sharing using old school methods such as CDs, memory sticks etc.

If the students fail to return to campus:

  1. Allowing the students to access the Panopto content themselves using open links
  2. Passing all video content over (either using Panopto or a download service) to the SDAU Sinocampus staff so they could pass on to the students

Sinocampus is an education provider that helps broker our relationship with SDAU.

We weren’t very keen on giving access to our VLE so number 2 looked the favourite at this stage.

Pre-recorded content

As explained in the previous post some of the SDAU lecturers were externals so we began by setting up RAU accounts for them giving them access to our VLE. Our VLE (Moodle) is integrated with our video management system (Panopto). A page was set on Moodle for the SDAU delivery and Panopto folders were created for every module to be delivered. The academics were trained in creating Panopto videos and given advice on content creation e.g. use of language, structure of lectures, folder usage and naming conventions.

  • Day X – Lecture X – Title of lecture – Initials e.g.
    Day 1 – Lecture 1 – Food supply chain – MG

For the first three weeks of teaching there were approximately 200 videos required so managing this process involved some very big spreadsheets!

Examples of pre-recorded content in Panopto

Examples of pre-recorded content in Panopto

Interactive sessions and WeChat

Once we had started the ball rolling on content creation the focus began to move to how these interactive sessions would work. Ideally they would be led by the academics and offer opportunities for students to work together as a class and in groups. Chinese class sizes are large and the small-group element was important in ensuring all students would get their turn to discuss topics. Initial investigations and trawls of mailing lists suggested that while there were many webinar solutions that might fit the bill (for example Zoom was working well and had been used for some of our meetings with China) there was only one service that could be guaranteed to work in China – WeChat. Other services such as Zoom were currently working but there was no guarantee long term.

WeChat is (according to Wikipedia) a “Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. It was first released in 2011, and became one of the world’s largest standalone mobile apps in 2018, with over 1 billion monthly active users”.  It has video and chat features and has been used by SDAU and RAU to organise groups and to engage with students. I used it while out in China to communicate with classroom monitors and other people. However while it is well-used and loved in China there are some security concerns predominantly about around its use of data. Many of our academics have used WeChat while out in China but in late 2019 our ITS department sent out an email setting out some concerns:

  • There is no end-to-end encryption making traffic vulnerable to being intercepted and viewed
  • The Chinese Government actively monitor WeChat traffic to gather information
  • Once WeChat is installed on a device, it can be used as a remote listening device
  • WeChat can also be used to gather other data stored on devices, such as emails, documents, photos and videos
  • WeChat Pay is frequently used as a means for attempting credit card fraud

Clearly in an ideal world we would not recommend WeChat but on occasions it is the only practical method for communications with China. ITS were taking a number of steps to help mitigate the risks of using WeChat which included only using temporary RAU-supplied mobile phone to access it and insisting that academics must not use this phone to access RAU emails. These suggestions had not really been put into action before but meant in practice that if we were going to recommend WeChat for the interactive sessions we would need to provide SDAU lecturers with an RAU phone each with WeChat on it. These might be regarded by some as ‘burner phones’ in that they would serve one purpose and would be separated from user data. Our Service Desk purchased 15 android phones for us to use. Due to Covid-19 getting hold of the phones and the sim cards wasn’t easy and it took a few weeks for their delivery – which left us with very little set up and testing time. Once they arrived each phone was given a Gmail account and set up with nothing but the WeChat app on. The plan was to start testing how the interactive sessions would work once we had a couple of phones up and running.

However setting up the accounts proved to be more difficult than initially anticipated. In order to set up a new WeChat account it needs to be verified by an existing user. The criteria here was for someone who had registered over 6 months ago, uses WeChat pay and hadn’t registered another user in the last month. There was also a very short time period after the account was ready to go (with a numeric code and QR code) that the registered user could verify in. Numerous attempts by many of our SDAU colleagues resulted in failure and with only a couple of weeks till the first delivery date we decided to abandon our WeChat plans.

Discussions with SDAU Sinocampus staff also highlighted a few issues that may have caused problems later down the line. WeChat can be used for sending text and voice messages, files and pictures. Hundreds of people can chat in a Wechat group by text messages but it only supports nine people at most for voice and video calls, and the function of polling is not available.

Getting the band together

By now we had appointed our new Learning Technologist support person – Pip McDonald. Pip has done an amazing job of taking this project forward and will be writing the next posts in this series.

Our first Zoom call with Bonnie and Lola

Our first Zoom call with Bonnie and Lola

Not long after Pip’s appointment we had a Zoom call with the SDAU Sinocampus staff on the ground – Bonnie Wang and Lola Huo. Bonnie and Lola have also been incredible throughout this project.

At RAU the academic leads on the project are Xianmin Chang and Steve Finch.

SDAU Systems

During this time we began to understand the SDAU systems that were being used a little better.

These include:

  • VooV meeting – A webinar system similar to Zoom
  • Rain class – A teaching tool that is available as a WeChat app

In our next post Pip will take the baton and look at our new approach to interactive sessions, assessment plans, attendance monitoring, teacher observation and the lead up to the first week of teaching.

Panopto Conference 2019

Last week was the annual Panopto conference at 30 Euston Square, London. There was lots to enjoy including some great freebies, very tasty food and a fun drinks reception but the main video-related notable moments were as follows…

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Updates on Panopto –  Eric Burns’ (CEO of Panopto) opening keynote and Tim Sullivan’s (VP of engineering at Panopto) roadmap both offered some insights into what is on the horizon. The biggest change is a move from recording through the client app to the browser – “friction-free video recording for all, on multiple devices and with a single workflow”.

Eric Burns opens the day
Eric Burns opens the day

Other improvements will include better integration with Moodle, better analytics, easier ability to reuse content (rolling over videos for modules), more intelligent use of permissions, further work on captioning and better Zoom integration.

Tim Sullivan on content reuse and embeds

Tim Sullivan on content reuse and embeds

Case studies – Some of the best ideas from case studies include the Panopto champions at the University of Southampton – student course reps who offered support to staff and students.

A great session from Anna Madeley (Lecturer in midwifery at the University Bedfordshire) on Panopto and skills and scenario training. They use the quiz function alongside an algorythm so students can only complete the task if they have completed certain activities.

Midwife quizzes by Anna Madeley

Midwife quizzes by Anna Madeley

Research – On attendance by Olaf Spittaels and Dries Vanacker (Artvelde University of applied science). They found there is little impact on attendance but the recency effect (reusing lecture videos before exams) can contribute to improved results, especially for struggling students. Into the best approaches for accessibility in the Alistair McNaught led panel session.

The panel on accessibility: Ros Walker, Jo Lisney, Rachel Hayes and Alistair McNaught

The panel on accessibility: Ros Walker, Jo Lisney, Rachel Hayes and Alistair McNaught

Other – Gilly Salmon’s questions on “what if education 4.0 became video first” – she had us consider the potential of binge watching for lecture capture videos. There was consensus on Twitter that it might not be the best idea as video may work best when bite-sized and learning tends to work best when active rather than passive. Jo Lisney from the University of Southampton’s SU – talking about what students want – and they want video!

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Panopto UK HE User Group meeting – UWE

Earlier this week I attended the Panopto UK HE User Group meeting hosted by University of West England (UWE) at their new Frenchay business school. The day consisted of some interesting case study presentations and really helpful discussions from both the AV and learning/teaching perspective.

UWE business school
UWE business school

Discussion areas and questions included:

  • Student assignments – UWE presented on work they have been doing to create a workflow on student assessment that ensures GDPR compliance. Antoine Rivoire talked about how Ulster University students have been creating videos on placements and submitting them through Panopto – 72% said the availability of blogs would help them to choose placements. Roberta Bernabei and Matt Hope presented remotely on how they have been using video to improve student digital and presentation skills including editing. Qs – Even though videos are date stamped Panopto does not lock down submission dates and students can still submit after a date. How should institutions deal with this?

Antoine Rivoire from Ulster University shows their One click recording room

Antoine Rivoire from Ulster University shows their One click recording room

  • Students opting out of being captured on video – How can this be managed? Ideas include: sitting in a certain area, capturing audio only, having a flag for students to hold up and pause recording, 24 hour release window, ensuring use of mics to stop recording people’s private conversations.
  • Video rooms – Dealing with the challenge of achieving high quality audio and video in a restricted space and small budget Antoine Rivoire showed how they have set up a one click video recording studio at Ulster University. Freddie Bujko from Oxford University demoed their one button studio which uses green screen and cost around £10,000 to set up.
  • Subtitling and transcription – UWE shared their experiments with Microsoft Translator for creating subtitles on the fly.

Freddie Bujko from Oxford University shows their one button studio

Freddie Bujko from Oxford University shows their one button studio

After lunch there was presentation from Matt Turner from Birmingham University  on their VLE integration and their changes to folder structure. All access to recordings is through Canvas but some recordings are embedded in pages.  Folders are provisioned in bulk at the beginning of each Semester and Panopto is added to VLE course menu.

We then ended the day with a on overview of last year’s Panopto survey and a Panopto update from Pete Gervaise-Jones.

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Panopto upgrades have now  moved to larger numbers 6 (last winter) > 7 (this summer), with decimal points only used for minor updates. As part of their 12 month product roadmap Panopto are working on video content workflows, integration with webinar software like Zoom, and an online recorder.

The next user group meeting is likely to be in Scotland in April next year.

Gromit in the UWE Business school

Gromit in the UWE Business school

Valuable lessons from our visitors

This week we had some visitors to campus to help us with our digital plans.

ABL, ABW and sensemaking

Professor Ale Armellini, Dean of Learning and Teaching at the University of Northampton, came to talk to members of the IT Services team about the recent activities at Northampton. Northampton have consolidated a number of their campuses and moved the vast majority of staff and students to their new Waterside campus. This process has not just about rethinking physical space, it has involved a rethinking of the way they work and teach (‘Waterside ready‘). Academic staff have redesigned their courses using a new Active Blended Learning approach and staff are now working in an Activity-based working way.

Ale talks to the ITS team about developments at Northampton

Ale talks to the ITS team about developments at Northampton

Ale explained that a course follows an ABL methodology if it:​

  • Is taught through student-centred activities to develop knowledge and understanding, independent learning & digital fluency. ​
  • Has a core, collaborative face-to-face component, explicitly linked to learning activity outside the classroom. ​
  • Helps to develop autonomy, Changemaker attributes and employability skills.

The approach offers a new way of looking at dimensions in ‘the blend’ in blended learning. The most important aspects are pre-session exposure to content and sense-making activities.

Ale’s insights were incredibly helpful for our plans for our Catalyst blended learning courses and at the Cultural Heritage Initiative. We spent some time talking about working with Barco and the classroom set up they have at Northampton.

You can see a version of Ale’s slides from last year’s Digifest.

Video, assessment and feedback

Later on in the week Jennie White gave an excellent presentation to our academics on ‘Using video to improve student learning and support assessment and feedback’.

Jennie is a Senior Lecturer and Marketing Programme Coordinator for the BA Marketing, BSc Digital Marketing, MSc Digital Marketing at the University of Chichester. She is a passionate advocate of the use of video to facilitate the learning experience and an award-winning lecturer. She gained 4 awards whilst at Bournemouth University for making an outstanding contribution to student learning, with online seminar delivery, online lectures via video and MP3, interactive discussion boards and research support. Jennie was awarded Lecturer of the Year by the UCSU, 2017, and the Innovation in Teaching award 2018. Jennie shared her experience of using Panopto in teaching and gave some really great tips:

  • Create micro-lectures – bite sized (10 minute) chunks of content
  • Explain the rubric – videos on how you will be assessing
  • Dissertation support – videoing dissertation supervision meetings
  • Flipped classroom – sharing a prerecorded version of the lecture and checking which students have watched it, those that haven’t can’t attend!
  • Pencasts – videoing chalk and talk using paint or other tools, or even just drawing on paper
  • Marking – videoing yourself marking

Our academics were genuinely excited by the session and there are already signs of increased Panopto use.

Jennie presents to our academics. The session was recorded and will be available through Panopto.

Jennie presents to our academics. The session was recorded and will be available through Panopto.

Huge thanks to both our visitors, it is always great to catch up with people just as excited about learning technology as us!

Panopto Conference 2018

Over 300 delegates congregated in Euston earlier this week for this year’s Panopto conference with a theme of ‘Your Video Learning Ecosystem’.

Rachel opens the conference

Rachel  Avery (head of marketing) opens the conference

Panopto has been about since 2007 and now boasts 100 employees in six offices around the world with an audience of over 5 million. During that time UK HE has gone from promoting lecture capture, making it mandatory with opt out status, creating policies to support this, falling under fire during the pension strike last year and creeping towards an opt in system (explored at the recent UK HE user group). There now seems to be a period of rethinking video use in HE and some interesting questions surfacing around slick versus authentic content.

Rhizomes and the complex nature of learning

The opening keynote of the day was delivered by Dave Cormier (forever known as the man who coined the term MOOC). Dave explored the 3 categories of uncertainty in learning (based on the cylefin framework created by Dave Snowden).

Dave Cormier

Dave Cormier presents on active learning

  • SIMPLE – no subject expertise required – you can spend lots of money, the content won’t change
  • COMPLICATED – subject matter expertise needed, this requires a bigger video project
  • COMPLEX – can only work on part of the problem, disposable learning objects, don’t invest too much

Dave went on to explore if complex learning can be videoed using the analogy of rhizomes and rhizomatic learners (and Japanese knot weed!): ‘Rhizomes grow as networks of roots with no explicit center’, how do we let learners be like rhizomes? Educators should be the ecosystem you want to encourage.

Active learning

The follow up active learning session shared case studies outlined on the Panopto spinner (there were some great graphics at this conference!)

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  • Steve Hiron, Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Birkbeck, University of London shared their experience of formative assessment in geology when students recorded their descriptions of rocks and uploaded then to a folder in moodle. The case study is outlined in the the Bloomsbury ebook.
  • Steve Collender, Multimedia Coordinator, Diploma Centre, Law Society of Ireland talked about their use of Panopto to host and livestream videos for their MOOCs.
  • William Seagrim, Lecturer, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University who leads a professional ethics course on a Bar professional training course presented a great scenario based use case. In an attempt to make the course more engaging they employed an actor and filmed a series of scenarios with questionable ethics. William acted the role of a ‘talking head tutor’ and then played out an approach to how the ethical issues could be dealt with. There were also multiple choice questions embedded. You can see an example from the course on YouTube.
  • Katie Barnes, Advanced Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Alder Hey hospital looked at their use of a non-educational pipeline to deliver training through shared resources

Authenticity vs Facade

Post coffee break there were a series of talks looking at recent evolutions in the video ecosystem. Ines Dawson, PhD student at the University of Oxford and YouTuber (the amazing Draw Curiosity) gave some ideas on how video can make us better teachers. She discussed academics and students’ fear of making mistakes and the need to own these mistakes: perfectionism in academia = fear of failure = procrastination.  Ines also talked about move towards ephemeral video (though Instagram stories) as the younger generation show a preference for authenticity over facade.

This discussion carried on in to the fireside talk between Eric Burns, CEO Panopto and Simon Clark vlogger and video creator. Simon discussed the need to consume a lot to create (he watches up to 10 hours of video a day!) and the move away from the infallible educator or ‘sage on the stage’ to ‘content created by stage’ and a rise in live streaming, through services like Twitch. Twitch is a live streaming video platform and a subsidiary of Amazon. Simon’s advice to potential YouTube vloggers is to be yourself, don’t take the real you out of the picture. Perhaps the element HE can take from this is that ‘the most engaging content is not always the content with the highest production value’.

Fireside talk between Eric Burn and Simon Clark

Fireside talk between Eric Burn and Simon Clark

The morning closed with a look at the top challenges facing those working with Panopto based on the community survey and led by Debra Garretson, Director of Accounts at Panopto. The biggest challenges include:

  • Staff digital literacy – Jennie White, University of Chichester suggested we offer bite size chunks for our academics to try out (micro-lecturers, use video for assessment- get students to assess content themselves, try live marking, create pop up studios etc.)
  • Student digital Literacy – Lucy Atkins, form De Montfort University shared her research and DigiLit work.

In the afternoon there were some great breakout sessions looking at teaching and learning aspects of Panopto and the technical set up. Some take aways for me were:

  • How do you assess the impact of TEL? Some institutions like Newcastle University have been doing a lot of work with their statistics and are including lecture capture in module dashboards. Other institutions (University  of Wolverhampton) shared some interesting insights into how their video is being used (more usage if content is embedded in a page). Imperial College has attempted to assess and share best practice through the Active Learning summer challenge  – it is incredibly difficult to measure what makes good active learning!
  • Accessibility – Can be a real driver for video but also has its challenges e.g. the new accessibility regulations. Tools like Verbit (captioning) are starting to be used more.
  • Distance learning  and partner delivery- At Edinburgh Napier university they may be using Panopto to replace their ‘flying faculty’ for courses in Singapore by using live recordings or narrated slides. They are currently considering how to capture student’s questions by filming the existing cohort. There are also cultural and language issues to consider.
  • Variety of uses – Loughborough university shared some non-academic use cases: external lectures, capture sessions for prospective and pre-arrival students, lecture capture for elite athletes

Mixed media learning model from the University of Wolverhampton

Mixed media learning model from the University of Wolverhampton

The day closed with a presentation from Eric Burns, co-founder and CEO of Panopto that considered some current meaty issues: net neutrality, the unequal web, control of the web by big companies.  He used the “if you are not paying for the product you are the product” idea to advocate for academic freedom and academic integrity. Eric feels these ‘good’ values will be supported by the release of Panopto Pro – a way to share content with those who do not pay for Panopto in a controlled way. Panopto’s heart seems to be in the right place, or maybe that’s the drinks reception wine talking?! What is clear is that the video ecosystem is a continually shifting environment.

Accessibility, VLES and web sites

Last week we had our first cross-institutional meeting looking at the new European Union (EU) Directive on the Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Applications and its implications for the RAU. The regulations came into force for public sector bodies on 23 September 2018 and state that websites or mobile apps must be made ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’.

At there meeting there were staff representatives from marketing, digital, IT, the Catalyst programme, student engagement and disability support.

A little background information:

  • RAU has a very high number of dyslexic students (around 250 dyslexic students, or 20-25% of the student body)
  • There is a main page on the website that deals with this area, internally there are several VLE pages that cover disability support and assistive technology
  • There is a generic email address available – dyslexia.disability@rau.ac.uk 
  • IT support a significant number of accessibility tools including: Read&write, Sensus access, Dragon, mind mapping tools

The group agreed a number of actions and areas for consideration and will be meeting again early next year to share our progress.

Jisc online briefing

We also sent (virtually) a few people along to the Jisc online briefing on New regulations, new risks which took place earlier today. There were 209 attendees so definitely a hot topic area!

jisc

The briefing began with some polls that suggested that on the whole the HE sector is beginning to get ready for the regulation but isn’t there yet. It then went on to explore the main recommendations:

  • To make your VLE and website perceivable, operable, understandable and robust
  • To publish a model accessibility statement on your website that details what content is not accessible and the alternatives provided (a model is provided). It should give a single point of contact for problems.

There will be future work to create a Further/Higher Education (FHE) Digital Accessibility Working Group. Questions on the regulations can be sent to the Accessibility regulations Jisc mail group.

 

UK HE Panopto user group – Birmingham

Earlier today (23rd August 2018) I attended the first UK HE Panopto user group held at the University of Birmingham. The session was recorded and live streamed for those for those who couldn’t make it.

It was great to spend time with people from other institutions, many of whom have been using Panopto for much longer than we have and are also using it in very different ways. It seems like there are two main camps:

  • Institutions that have remote recording – Panopto is set up in lecture rooms with dedicated cameras and captures all lectures, policies varied from opt-out to opt-in
  • Institutions that use manual recording led by the academics – Panopto is used in an adhoc way, possibly for lectures, but also in other ways (for screen casting, how to guides etc. – though this also happens in the remote recording institutions)

Currently RAU reside in camp two, but this could change in the future.

Panel session on policies with Mike Ewen (Hull), Andy Birch (UWE) and Karl Luke (Cardiff)

Panel session on policies with Mike Ewen (Hull), Andy Birch (UWE) and Karl Luke (Cardiff)

It was a fairly informal day led by Matt Turner (TEL Partnership and Development Manager) from the University of Birmingham. Birmingham have been using Panopto since 2013 and are now at the point where they have a well-established code of practice and a timetable integrated quick-start system. As Matt put it:”viewings are finally outstripping recordings” and ” we have almost become a victim of our own success” – earlier this year Birmingham ran out of Panopto credit (due to increased use) and had to buy more. You can take a look at their Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi) Gateway training on Panopto for inspiration.

Programme for the day

Programme for the day

Discussion sessions during the day covered areas including:

  • General challenges – Does lecture capture affect attendance? How do you get academics on board? What about change management? Some of the main advice here was to share case studies from people who use it, spread positive message, try and myth bust, don’t spend too much time on editing – students are tolerant of rough starts and ends.
  • Technical set up – How do you carry out integration with timetabling? What about switches, folder structure, use of Linux? How do you get the Panopto ‘on air’ light working?!
  • Policies and code of practice – What is the process in writing a policy? What should one cover? A far from comprehensive list includes: IP, retention (of videos, data and student assignments), archiving (after programme duration plus one year?) process for recording (including clear indication that you are being recorded), copyright, data use – talk about process and service rather than a brand. Who should be consulted (SU, students, academics, registry?) How do you get a policy through sign-off and on to publication? Have you make sure your technical infrastructure can support the demands of your policy? (e.g can you be certain of the age of content or departmental responsibility for it and delete accordingly?)
  • User experience – Involving students in discussions, getting students to make better use of recorded material. Do they actually want every lecturer recorded? Apparently most only watch around 15 minutes of each 60 minute lecture.
  • Consent – What is the process of collection of consent from students? Some institutions have been using approaches that ensure students and staff are forced to re-accept when accessing the site. How does GDPR fit in?
  • Language – there is general dislike of the term ‘lecture capture’ among academics. For a policy perhaps go with ‘policy for recording educational activities’ or ‘captured content policy’.

We were treated to a demo of Birmingham's new Whiteboard capture pilot by Rob Jones.

We were treated to a demo of Birmingham’s new whiteboard capture pilot from Rob Jones.

In the afternoon Panopto’s Debra Garretson gave an overview of the Panopto survey results and encouraged those institutions that have yet to fill it in to get on it with it! The group then discussed suggestions for future features: separating the video and audio stream to allow editing of audio, improvements to the folder structure, better integration with Canvas…etc.

Debra Garretson sharing use cases

Debra Garretson sharing use cases

At the end of the day Andy Birch (UWE) agreed to set up a Slack site for the group to  compliment the existing Jiscmail list. The next meeting will be in February (date tbc) with an group meet-up planned for the one-day Panopto conference in November.

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