Like most other HEIs we are moving the vast majority of our teaching online due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Here are the key activities we have undertaken.
Running training sessions for all our staff (academic and professional services)
Last week we ran the following training sessions for staff. All sessions were recorded. We have also made a series of shorter videos covering key areas.
- MS Teams: chatting with and phoning a colleague in the cloud
- Gateway (Moodle): uploading files, using forums, organising, checking student work (reports) and where to find help
- Turnitin: setting up an assessment portal
- Turnitin: marking assessments and adding grades to Quercus
- Panopto: recording and/or live streaming a lecture
- Panopto: using video assignments
- Zoom: hosting live lectures (with student response), seminars, tutorials and 1-1 sessions
- Analytics and tracking your students’ activities (Panopto and Gateway/Moodle)
- MS Teams: hosting live lectures (with student response), seminars, tutorials and 1-1 sessions
- Gateway (Moodle): Creating & marking quizzes (online tests)
Chantal running a training session for academics
Providing explicit guidance for academics on moving our courses online
We have been proving guidance on our baseline requirements for each module. These are:
- Pre-recorded lectures for each scheduled lecture – using Panopto.
- A set of PowerPoint slides as used in the lecture.
- An opportunity for further consideration of the lecture topics through an interactive session (‘seminar’). This activity could be carried out using an online forum (Moodle forum), an online discussion (Teams or Zoom) or another means.
- Clear guidance for students on weekly activities by programme.
These activities are supported by the following tools:
- Moodle – Moodle activities and H5P
- MS Office 365 – in particular Teams
- RAU Resource Lists – Talis Aspire
There have also a couple of other pieces of work to support online delivery:
- ensuring that resources (ebooks, journals etc.) can be accessed off site and that we have the right licences in place
- ensuring that we make the most of existing analytics to monitor student engagement. We are currently setting all module pages up have activity completion turned on and are adding are setting up reports to help academic check their students’ engagement with module content.
Co-ordinating our approach for assessment online
There is a small working group looking at assessment and online delivery. We have spent considerable time data gathering so we have detailed information about all the assessments across all modules, programmes, levels. The next step will be to produce an overview of what alternatives/options we should/could consider.
All information is being communicated to staff and students.
Enabling our staff to work from home
Considerable effort has been put in to enable as many staff to work from home. This has been supported by:
- Purchasing of laptops
- Setting up a VPN for all staff to use
- Training – face-to-face and video content, and guidance materials
- Ensuing our IT Service Desk activities can be managed centrally and run from anywhere
All activity has been aided by significant sharing of information among the wider Learning Technology and IT communities. We feel that we are now in a relatively good place to get through the next couple of months, providing the Internet holds up!
It seems a life time ago now but we had a great time on University Mental health day on March 5th. We asked the students to share their mental health tips. Here is our video from the day.
Panopto video of University Mental health day
Huge thanks to all our students who participated.
We’ve recently set up our committee room with a new screen and Logitech meet up camera. The meetup is designed for huddle rooms and small spaces, it is a 4K ultra HD camera with 5X HD zoom. It automatically adjusts camera position and zoom to find and frame people in the room.
The committee room will be used for online governing council meetings and other meetings where a video conference set up is required.
We will be using Zoom software for our online meetings and last week ran some training for our PAs.
Zoom offers “communications software that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration”. Some of the benefits for the RAU are integration with Panopto and Moodle. We have already started using it for our Catalyst programme.
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…
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
- 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
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.
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
This morning’s RAU governing council meeting was a little different from usual.
The chair, the Rt Hon Michael Jack CBE, was unable to attend and presided over the meeting from the comfort of his own home. He was able to do so using standard video conferencing equipment and some support from fellow council members.
Governors at the meeting with the Rt Hon Michael Jack CBE shown on the front screen
The meeting went extremely well with only one minor instance of video freeze and audio lag. Luckily the lunch time sandwiches weren’t virtual!
The equipment used was:
- Short Throw Projector
- Portable Projector Screen
- Logitech Conferencing Kit (Webcam & Microphone/Speaker console)
- GoToMeeting conferencing software
Many thanks to Leigh Miller, one of our Service Desk Analysts, who set the kit up for us.
Earlier this week Helen Hyde from Hyde media joined us on campus to help us test out our new media kit. The kit has been purchased primarily to help us create video content for the catalyst programme. We are taking a mobile journalism (#mojo) approach and using phones for all filming.
Helen demonstrates our tripod and rig
Helen’s top set up suggestions were:
- Use a tripod for the majority of filming, gimbals are for movement and emotion
- When you put your tripod up start from the bottom first
- Keep your lapel mic facing down – this avoids capturing all minor sounds
- Get your phone set up right: make sure it isn’t on silent, don’t lock in portrait mode and do put it in airplane mode
- Make sure your phone lens it at the top when recording
- Lighting uses a triangle – the camera, the person being filmed and the light
Our new kit comprises of:
- Neewer Metal Smartphone Video Rig
- RØDE SC6L 3.5 mm iOS Interface – Black
- Neewer Professional Camera Bag Loop Backpack
- Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum Tripod with Hybrid Head, Black
- Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Professional Headphones
- LaCie Copilot 2000GB Portable External Hard Drive and Backup On Set Solution (BOSS)
- RØDE VMML Me-L Directional Microphone for iOS Devices – Black RØDE Camera and Audio VideoMic with Rycote Lyre Mount Rode VideoMicro Compact On Camera
- BOYA BY-M1 3.5mm Lavalier Condenser Microphone
- Anker PowerCore 20100 Power bank
- Aputure AL-M9 Amaran Lighting Up Pint-Sized LED Fill Light Mini Video Light
- Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod with Handgrip for Compact System Cameras
- Zhiyun Smooth-Q 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphone
- Neewer Smartphone Rig Filmmaker Grip Tripod Mount with Cold Shoe Mount
- Neewer Handheld Stabilizer Multi-use Ergonomic Hand Shape Grip
- Neewer 5-in-1 Collapsible Multi-Disc Light Reflector
- Neewer Background Support System with Three 6x 9ft/1.8×2.8M Backdrop Lighting Kit
Microphone set up
We will be using new kit over the next few months and experimenting with editing and multimedia techniques.
In order to develop really great blended learning courses for the Catalyst Programme we will be relying heavily on a variety of multimedia content. Creation and use of relevant, good quality video resources is probably top of our list. However within our Learning Tech team we have varying levels of ability when it comes to video filming and editing skills so it makes sense to get some support from the experts.
Using a hand held rig
Yesterday we had a visit from Cassius Rayner, award winning film maker and media training expert. Cassius spent the day showing us how to use our phones like pros (we are pretty much an all iphone house) and master the art of mobile film making and mojo.
It was a really fun day and we are far from experts but there were some very clear tips that we will be sharing with our wider academic community.
Cassius Rayner setting up a tripod
General phone filming tips
- Always film in landscape – 16×9 is the standard option here.
- Don’t zoom on a phone – zooming is a lie, you are just reducing the quality of your video. If you want to be nearer get up and walk, or if your phone has a second telephoto lens use it!
- Newer iphones have 2 lenses (tele and wide angle) – if you want to zoom this is one option but be careful about getting in too close and your picture distorting.
- Iphones need lots of light so if you can pick light locations. If not there are some features (the AE/AF lock) which can help.
- Using a hand held rig can be a huge help in stabalising your phone and connecting it to other kit (like a tripod).
- Add a grid to your camera (Settings > Camera > grid) so you can line things up. Use the rule of thirds for interviews (interviewee eyes should be at the intersection of the first square.
- When you film an interview always film a cut away shot (like footage of their hands), you never know when you might need it. Extra cutaway shots can also include recorded interviewer questions, nodding, someone thinking, walking etc.
- Get good at gliding along as you film people walking. Bend your knees and walk whilst keeping the upper part of your body stable.
- Buy some core kit. You can bring in extra light using a reflector. A gimbal is great for counteracting shaky hands. A back screen will allow you to film great interviews with no distracting background and a microphone is essential in noisy areas as a the smart phone mics are normally not great.
- Keep your phone charged up and ready to go. Filming will drain your battery. Take a portable charger.
A hand held rig with mic and flash
Just before lunch we had a break from the hands-on work and were visited by Ben McCammick-Copley, media production manager from UCEM. Ben spent time talking to our academics about the video opportunities that are out there and will support their modules.
Interview filming – photo courtesy of Madeline Paterson
Filmic pro filming tips
In the afternoon we spent time using the Filmic pro app. which gives you lots more control over your phone camera than your standard set up.
- The usual number of frames is 24 frames per second for film and 25 frames per second for video.
- Set your white balance – you can use auto but also do manually. Click to lock.
- Set your presets in advance. We went for 16.9, HD 2K, filmic pro for standard filming, and also created a slo-mo setting.
- Don’t save your videos to the photo gallery as this will cause loss of quality – load them directly on to your computer for editing.
- If you want to learn about more ways to use FilmicPro, you will find detailed tutorials on the Filmic pro website.
We ended the day by creating our own little promo and editing it on iMovie.
I think we are feeling a lot more confident about our filming ability, now we just need something to film!
Aurelie works the slider