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    Digital Literacies special interest group (SIG) meeting – November 2013

    By Jessica Gramp, on 28 November 2013

    Digital Literacies at UCLFifteen academic and support staff from across UCL met for the first UCL Digital Literacies special interest group (SIG) on Wednesday 27th November.   Jessica Gramp, form E-Learning Environments, delivered a presentation prepared in collaboration with Hana Mori, giving the Jisc definition of digital literacies.

    We’re not sure about the term – some find it demeaning.  A better term than Digital Literacies is clearly needed so that it doesn’t offend and imply a deficit. There’s also a need to differentiate between kinds of digital literacy. Some areas that have been used at other institutions include: digital identity, managing studies; working in team; using other people’s content responsibly and digitally enhancing job prospects. There was a general consensus that digital literacies need to be embedded, not tagged on as a separate thing to do.


    Chronogogy – Time-led learning design examples

    By Matt Jenner, on 15 November 2013

    I recently blogged about a concept called chronogogy; a time-led principle of learning design the importance of which I’m trying to fathom. My approach is to keep blogging about it & wait until someone picks me up on it. Worst case, I put some ideas out in the public domain with associated keywords etc. Please forgive me.

    An example of chronogogically misinformed learning design

    A blended learning programme makes good use of f2f seminars. Knowing the seminar takes at least an hour to get really interesting, the teacher prefers to use online discussion forums to seed the initial discussions and weed out any quick misgivings. Using a set reading list, before the seminar they have the intention of students to read before the session, be provoked to think about the topics raised and address preliminary points in an online discussion. The f2f seminars are on Tuesdays & student have week to go online and contribute. This schedule is repeated a few times during the twelve week module.

    The problem is, only a handful of students ever post online and others complain that there’s “not enough time” to do the task each week. The teacher has considered making them fortnightly, but this isn’t really ideal either, as some may slip behind, especially when this exercise is repeated during the module.

    The argument in my previous post was that if the planning of the activity doesn’t correlate well with activity of website users then it may increase the chance of disengagement.

    Example learner 1


    Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun Mon Tues


    Task set Reading start Reading finish Contributes to forum Attends seminar


    If a reading is set on Tuesday completed by Sunday, the learner may only start considering their discussion points on Sunday or Monday night. This will complete the task before Tuesday’s session, but does it make good use of the task?

    Example learner 2


    Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun Mon Tues


    Task set Reading start Reading finish Contributes to forum Visits


    Contributes to forum Attends seminar

    The reading is set on Tuesday, completed by Friday, the learner even posts to the forum on Saturday. By Sunday the come back to the forum, there’s not much there. They come back on Monday and can contribute towards Learner 1’s points, but it could be too late to really fire up a discussion. The seminar is the next day, Tuesday which could increase the chance of discussion points being saved for that instead, as the online discussion may not be worth adding to.

    These are two simplistic example, but they provide further questions:

    • Q: Can these two students ever have a valuable forum discussion?
    • Q: Is this was scaled up would the night before the seminar provide enough time for a useful online discussion?
    • Q: If Learner3 had read the material immediately and posted on the Wednesday what would’ve been the outcome?

    Any students posting earlier in the seven-day period may be faced with the silence of others still reading. Postings coming in too late may be marred by the signs that fewer visitors will log on during the weekend. Therefore, unless people are active immediately after the seminar (i.e. read and post in the first day or two) then any online discussions takes place on Monday – the day before the seminar.

    In this example a lot of assumptions are made, obviously, but it could happen.


    If this example were true, and it helps if you can believe it is for a moment, then what steps could be taken to encourage the discussion to start earlier?

    One thought could be to move the seminar to later in the week, say Thursday or Friday. By observing learners behaviour ‘out of class’ (offline and online) it could give insight into the planning of sessions and activities. In the classic school sense, students are given a piece of homework and they fit it in whenever suits them. However, if that work is collaborative, i.e. working in a group or contributing towards a shared discussions, then the timing of their activity needs to align with the group, and known timings that are most effective.

    Time-informed planning

    Muffins got tired waiting for fellow students to reply to his post.

    Muffins got tired waiting for fellow students to reply to his post.

    Knowing study habits, and preferences, for off and on-line study could make a difference here. If the teacher had given the students a different time over the week it might have altered contributions to the task. Data in the previous post indicates that learners access educational environments more in the week than the weekend. An activity given on Friday and expected for Monday seems unfair on two levels; a weekend is an important time for a break and weekends are not as busy as weekdays for online activity.

    If the week shows a pattern of access for online, then an online task could be created around the understanding of access patterns. If online tasks are planned around this, then it may affect the outcome.

    Does time-informed learning design make a difference?

    There’s only one way to know, really, and that’s to perform an experiment around a hypothesis. The examples above were based on a group/cohort discussion & it made a lot of assumptions but it provides a basis of which I wanted to conduct some further research.

    Time-based instruction and learning. Is activity design overlooked?

    In the examples, the teacher is making an assumption that their students will ‘find the time’. This is perfectly acceptable, but students may better perform ‘time-finding’ when they are also wrapped into a strong schedule, or structure for their studies. Traditionally this is bound to the restrictions of the timetabling/room access, teacher’s duties and the learners’ schedules (plus any other factors). But with online learning (or blended) the timetabling or time-planning duty is displaced into a new environment. This online space is marketed as open, personalised, in-your-own-time – all of which is very positive. However, it’s also coming with the negative aspect of self-organisation and could, possible, be a little too loosely defined. Perhaps especially so when it’s no longer personal, but group or cohort based.

    There’s no intention here of mandating when learners should be online – that’s certainly not the point. In the first instance it’s about being aware of when they might be online, and better planning around that. In this first instance, the intention is to see if this is even ‘a thing to factor in’.

    Chronology is the study of time. Time online is a stranger concept than time in f2f. For face to face the timing of a session is roughly an hour, or two. Online it could be the same, but not in one chunk. Fragmentation, openness and flexibility are all key components – learners can come and go whenever they like, and our logs showing how many UK connections are made to UCL Moodle at 3-5AM show this quite clearly.

    Chronogogy is just a little branding for the foundation of the idea that instructional design, i.e. the planning and building of activities for online learning, may need to factor time into the design process. This isn’t to say ‘time is important’ but that by understanding more about access patterns for users, especially (but not necessarily only) online educational environments, could influence the timing and design of timing for online activities. This impact could directly impact the student and teacher experiences. This naturally could come back into f2f sessions too, where the chronogogy has been considered to ensure that the blended components are properly supporting the rest of the course.

    Time-led instructional design, or chronogogically informed learning design could potentially become ever more important if considering fully online courses that rely heavily on user to user-interaction as a foundation to the student experience. For example the Open University who rely heavily on discussion forums or MOOCs where learner to learner interaction is the only viable form.

    Most online courses would state that student interaction is on the critical path to success. From credit-bearing courses to MOOCs – it’s likely that if adding chronogogy into the course structure, then consideration can inform design decisions early in the development process. This would be important when considering:

    • Planned discussions
    • Release of new materials
    • Synchronous activities
    • Engagement prompts*

    In another example, MOOCs (in 2013) seem to attract a range of learners. Some are fully engaged, participate in all the activities, review all the resources and earn completion certificates. Others do less than this, lurking in the shadows as some may say, but remain to have a perfectly satisfactory experience. Research is being performed into these engagement patterns and much talk of increasing retention has sparked within educational and political circles, for MOOCs and Distance Learning engagement/attrition.

    One factor to consider here is how you encourage activity in a large and disparate group. The fourth point above, engagement prompts, is a way of enticing learners back to the online environment. Something needs to bring them back and this may be something simple like an email from the course lead.  Data may suggest that sending this on a Saturday could have a very different result than on a Tuesday.

    Engagement prompts as the carrot, or stick?

    Among many areas till to explore is that if learners were less active over the weekends, for example, then would promoting them to action – i.e. via an engagement prompt, provide a positive or negative return? This could be addressed via an experiment.

    Concluding thoughts

    I seem interested in this field, but I wonder of its true value. I’d be keen to hear you thoughts. Some things for me to consider are:

    • If there’s peaks and troughs in access – what would happen if this could be levelled out?
    • How could further research be conducted (live or archive data sets).
    • Have I missed something in the theory of learning design that is based on time-led instruction?
    • I wonder what learners would think of this, canvas for their opinions.
    • Could I make a small modification to Moodle to record data to show engagement/forum posting to create a more focused data set?
    • Am I mad?



    New UCL Moodle baseline

    By Jessica Gramp, on 12 November 2013

    MoodleThe UCL Moodle Baseline that was approved by Academic Committee in June 2009, has now been updated after wide consultation on best current UCL practice.  The aim of the Baseline is to provide guidelines for staff to follow when developing Moodle courses in order for UCL students to have a consistently good e-learning experience. They are intended to be advisory rather than prescriptive or restrictive. These recommendations may be covered within a combination of module, programme and departmental courses.

    Changes include the addition of a course usage statement explaining how students are expected to use their Moodle course. A communications statement is also now a requirement, in order to explain to students how they are expected to communicate with staff, and how often they can expect staff to respond. It is now a recommendation for staff to add (and encourage their students to add) a profile photograph or unique image, to make it easier to identify contributors in forums and other learning activities.

    New guidelines for including assessment detail and Turnitin guidance have been added for those who use these technologies.

    See the new UCL Moodle Baseline v2

    Find out more about this and other e-learning news in the monthly UCL E-Learning Champions’ Newsletter.

    Engagement! A tale of two MOOCs

    By Clive Young, on 13 October 2013

    psychology02What is the real educational experience of MOOC students? Some people seem to take strong positions on MOOCs without actually having completed one, after just ‘dipping in’. I felt this was not quite enough to judge what MOOC learning is about, so back in August I signed up two MOOCs running almost concurrently. Both were on the Coursera platform and both  – coincidentally – from Weslyan University. Modernism and Postmodernism is 14 weeks long , is still running and Social Psychology at a sprightly – and more normal – six weeks finished recently. I had actually completed a Coursera MOOC at the beginning of the year but as it was on a familiar subject I considered that taking subjects I knew little about would give me a more ‘authentic’ learner experience.

    signatureI thought it was important to avoid ‘dip-in-ism’ so I committed to completing both, even paying $40 to go on the Signature Track on the first one. This means Coursera verifies my identity when I submit assignments, both by typing pattern and face recognition. To set up face recognition initially I held my passport in front of the laptop camera and it scanned my photo. For typing recognition a short phrase is tapped out; Coursera now knows what a dismal typist I am.

    Both courses were based around an hour or so of weekly video lectures but despite being out of the same stable, they turned out to be very different in design.

    modernism01Modernism and Postmodernism was/is perhaps most ‘conventional’. Each week there were four to six short video lectures and a couple of original texts as assigned readings. That was it. The videos featured Weslyan president and star lecturer Prof Michael Roth. Most were professionally shot, though sometimes interspersed with lecture capture type clips from some of his classes. What was unexpected here was the quality of the video – although nice – was largely immaterial. The power and engagement was simply in Prof Roth’s remarkable narrative, essentially the story of modern Western thought since the Enlightenment and expressed in the works of Kant, Rousseau, Marx, Darwin, Flaubert, Baudelaire, Woolf and so on, not really a ‘grand narrative’ but a compelling intellectual bricolage. I was genuinely gripped by the story Roth was telling, and sometimes just read the transcripts (much quicker) when I was too busy to watch the video. The eight assessments, 800 word essays, were peer-marked and the twenty or so assignments I have looked at so far in the course are of quite a high academic standard. The peer marking approach is astonishingly valuable, by the way, as the other students usually present the material in a very different way; challenging and reviewing my understanding of that part of the course.

    psychology01Social Psychology used video differently. The video of the lecturer in was slightly more ‘amateurish’ but the editing was far more sophisticated. Great effort had been taken to get permission to show and edit in some remarkable clips of experiments (including the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment), TED talks, interviews with psychologists and some public broadcasting documentaries. This was supported by chapter-length PDF extracts from major textbooks and reprints of papers. Together this was an astonishingly rich learning resource, the best I have seen on any online course, including many paid-for ones. Like the other course, the tutor voice of Prof Scott Plous was very clear and engaging but his written assignments were more diverse; reactions to an online survey, analysis of a web site and the ‘day of compassion’. The assignments – also peer-marked – were less good than the Modernism course but improved as the ‘drop-ins’ dropped out. The final assignments I read on compassion, from students in India, the Philippines and so on were genuinely moving. The idea that MOOCs encourage a superficial form of learning is misplaced, at least in this case. Participants had evidently reflected, sometimes quite deeply, on the sometimes challenging material.

    psychology03Engagement and interaction In neither course did I especially follow the discussion threads, they were too fragmented. Social Psychology for example had 200,000 enrolments, 7000 forum posts in the first week and about 8000 students still active at the end. How can you have a ‘conversation’ in that environment? It made me wonder if ‘interaction’ our much-vaunted goal of many online courses is slightly overrated. Much more motivating to me as student was the strength of the narrative, the storyline, a bit like reading a good book in fact. Video proved an excellent way of getting that narrative across and the assignments in both made sure I assimilated at least some of the content and provided an important time frame to ensure I ‘kept up’. This ‘interaction light’ approach seemed to be in contrast with the Open University courses I have done, and indeed tutor on. These are deliberately designed around a series of regular interactions with fellow students and tutors and, being written by a teaching team, have a far less imposing narrative personality. Maybe in the MOOC environment, where ‘classical’ online interaction is necessarily weaker, design may necessarily focus not simply on interaction but engagement and that strong personal narrative may often be a key element. Just ‘dipping into’ a MOOC may completely miss this most important aspect.


    Just how good is your online course?

    By Clive Young, on 25 September 2013

    bbrubricOne of the perennial problems for both academic colleagues and learning technologists is trying to judge the educational value of online courses. Especially in blended learning the online ‘course’ is often just a component of a broader learner experience, and its role really can only be understood in the context of how it supports or extends ‘live’ activities. Thus what looks to a learning technologist like an unsophisticated ‘list of links’ in Moodle may actually support a rich classroom-led enquiry-based learning activity. It is hard to tell without speaking to the lecturer (or students) involved.

    Nevertheless for modules which are wholly online or have a high use of technology a consensus has emerged as to what components are necessary to enable a ‘good’ course. One very practical example of this is the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Rubric, which has gradually developed as a kind of sector standard since it was established in 2000, back then under the WebCT flag. The eight page rubric actually supports Blackboard’s Catalyst course competition (only open to Blackboard users, of course!) but the document can also be read as a platform-neutral checklist of good design, as applicable to Moodle as it is to Blackboard. Using the rubric course designers can evaluate how well their own course conforms to ‘best practices’ in four areas; Course Design, Interaction and Collaboration, Assessment and Learner Support. Each area is broken down into separate areas, with a checklist of ‘incomplete’ to ‘exemplary’ examples.

    • Course Design covers how clear the course goals and objectives are, the way the content is presented and any use of media, how learning design encourages students to be engaged in ‘higher order’ thinking and generally how the VLE is used to help student engagement.
    • Interaction and Collaboration includes communication strategies (an aspect so important we are considering including in the UCL Moodle baseline), how a sense of learner community is developed and ‘logistics’ i.e. quality and expectations of interaction.
    • Assessment is essentially about how assessment design aligns with the learning outcomes, the expectations on students and any opportunities for self assessment.
    • Learner support highlights the importance of orientation to the course and the VLE, clarity around the instructor role, links to institutional policies, accessibility and the role of feedback.

    In short this is really a very useful checklist for people already running or currently designing programmes with a high online component and well worth a look. Using a checklist does not guarantee an ‘exemplary’ student experience but is simply a way to ensure that what are nowadays commonly regarded as critical components of success are fully considered in the course design and planning. Some of the sections may need some ‘interpretation’ or localisation and that is hopefully where E-Learning Environments can help!

    Mind, Brain and Education Science meets lecture flipping

    By Mira Vogel, on 8 July 2013

    Have you ever wondered what to make of an assertion about human ability to learn? That somebody has or hasn’t got a ‘maths brain’, for example, or that human ability to acquire a new language is limited by age? Research in neuroscience and psychology is growing fast – and yet when findings surface in the media, most educators outside those fields find it hard to judge their validity, make sense of them in relation to other often conflicting findings, or extrapolate from them into practice.  Educators and educationalists are in need of a field dedicated to this task of synthesis. Thankfully such a field now exists and is known as Mind, Brain and Education Science.

    Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa and Mind, Brain and Education Science

    Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa at UCL

    Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa

    Mind, Brain and Education Science (MBE) has been gathering ground in recent years and has become an established course of study at several institutions across the world – at Harvard  it is available as undergraduate module, Masters programme and doctoral concentration. The field has a dedicated journal, Mind, Brain and Education, and a professional body with the admittedly inauspicious name of IMBES.

    This summer UCL explored the intersection of MBE and lecture flipping – the latter a practice which, pioneered by Carl Gombrich with ELE (E-Learning Environments)  and CALT (Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning) is rapidly establishing itself at UCL. One of Ecuador’s leaders in MBE, Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa  (Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Harvard), visited for a fortnight as an incoming UCL International Teaching Excellence Bursary recipient.

    An early and major contribution to MBE during her doctoral research, Tracey convened an international expert panel to reach a consensus on the tenets of the new field. Out of these delphi rounds an important discovery emerged: some research findings which the panel agreed were unreliable or untrue persist as myths in education today, including damaging assumptions about the effects of age, socio-economic status, and other individual differences on the ability to learn. A good introduction to MBE is this presentation by Tracey which we recorded at UCL in July.

    Flipping as an inclusive practice

    During her time at UCL Tracey carried out a number of engagements, including an Engineering Learning Lunch, a seminar with Brain Sciences, a visit to UCL’s academy, and a public lecture on MBE tenets across the human lifespan – but the focal point of her visit was a workshop titled ‘The Flipped Classroom’. Here Tracey brought her MBE disciplinary knowledge into play with the flipping initiative already underway at UCL, encouraging participants to examine the workings of flipping and make informed decisions about teaching.

    Over two days 16 participants familiarised ourselves with the most important principles of flipping, put them into practice, exchanged experiences, and considered each others’ work. The first section of the workshop was dedicated to principles of learning, drawing on MBE research and posed as a series of provoking questions. We discussed backwards design (which UK educationalists such as Biggs refer to as ‘constructive alignment’) of activities and assessment, always based on learning objectives which do not change. We then discussed the need for inclusive teaching practices which arises from these unchanging objectives, and how flipping can, if well-conceived, enable students with individual differences to reach the levels of knowledge they need to progress and succeed in that discipline. Based on MBE principles, we expect flipping to work in some key ways. Where flipping allows students the time to familiarise themselves with core concepts and pursue their own questions before the lecture (which we should perhaps start calling a ‘plenary’), they are more confident asking questions – as a learning activity, asking questions is more demanding than reproducing knowledge from memory because good questions depend on bringing prior knowledge into play and building from it. A flipped lecture can set out the boundaries of what is expected of a cohort at a certain level, and it can act as a reference.

    You might ask, doesn’t this actually boil down to the age-old problem of student motivation to read their set texts? If students won’t do the work, then why should they expect to succeed? Tracey responds that teaching is best judged by the success of those students who are least likely to succeed, rather than most likely. Flipping doesn’t present itself as an alternative to the texts and so poses no obstacles to engaging with them; rather it exploits newly available verbal and non-verbal forms of academic communication, and recognises that many students experience particular barriers to ‘the work’ when ‘the work’ is reading. MBE science indicates that students benefit from signposts, encouragement and other ways in. Tracey discussed the expressive power of video (and I had a side discussion with my neighbour Anne about the Gutenberg parenthesis) and its ability to engage by introducing change, texture and emphasis. She expanded on the MBE basis for variation in teaching: the human brain is alert for and pays particular attention to change. She acknowledged that many lecturers have taken measures to introduce the variety into their presentations and that recordings which don’t exploit that medium can be equally flat and homogenous – perhaps more so. Flipping isn’t a religion, she points out, but a tool.

    You might also question the need for interactivity and participation during the lecture – isn’t it sometimes the case that students simply want to know what the academic knows? You might point out that the lecture itself is a way in, preparing students to contribute to their seminars or tutorials.  Tracey emphasises that the person who does the work does the learning – in their prevailing form lectures make it easy for everybody to relax except for the sweating lecturer. Accordingly, the best flipping practices make students work hard. Another factor is contact time – it’s debatable whether an event at which people sit together in silence, watching and listening to a presentation in which they are unlikely to intervene, can accurately be called ‘contact’. This observation isn’t restricted to higher education – at a recent HEA event, Power in Your Pocket, Mary Oliver (Head of the Performance Research Centre at the University of Salford) introduced us to the work of Jacques Rancière. In his 2009 dialectic The Emancipated Spectator, Rancière advances a radical view of the theatre not as a site for spectacle, but for community participation. While I’m convinced that the vast majority of students and academics would (even if pragmatically) defend the current separation of academic and student role, I also think most would subscribe to this view of learning (p11):

    ‘The distance the ignoramus [Rancière's term for somebody who knows little] has to cover is not the distance between her ignorance and the schoolmaster’s knowledge. It is simply the path from what she knows to what she does not yet know, but which she can learn just as she learnt the rest; which she can learn not to occupy the position of scholar, but so as better to practise the art of translating, of putting her experience into words and her words to the test; of translating her intellectual adventures for others and counter-translating the translations of their own adventures which they present to her.”

    What is best to flip?

    Since recording and uploading a lecture is different from flipping, we then tackled the question of what to flip – or to put it a better way “What is the best use of my face-to-face time with students?” Some activities such as practice, inquiry, or experimentation work particularly well when they are face-to-face but are squeezed for time in the curriculum. With that in mind, there’s a strong case for putting delivery of material into pre-session activities including (though not limited to) recordings. Noting that all learning depends on memory and attention, Tracey suggested principles for identifying material from existing lectures which would work better in pre-session videos. To summarise, flipping is most useful where there is a huge variance in prior knowledge, for concepts which students struggle to understand, or key concepts without which students cannot progress.

    How do we recognise a good video?

    This question exercised us for some time, and yielded a list of attributes of a successful flipped video, which Tracey digested into an evaluation framework, or ‘rubric’, by which to recognise – and so create – a successful video. UCL staff and students can access this on the Flipping the Classroom – Resources Moodle area. To give a flavour of the rubric included the qualities of ambition, sustainability, engagement, quality and orientation.

    Next, during the three intervening days, each participant created their own short video intended to enable their lecture to become a dynamic plenary.

    Like students, teachers have different needs

    Few Flipped Classroom participants had experience of recording themselves in this way – they faced different constraints and used a variety of different audio-visual recording devices and platforms. Unless they had other preferences, we encouraged them to use UCL’s EchoCapture Personal service to both record and host their video. This allowed them to capture camera, voice and screen from their personal computer. For those who preferred to create and edit outside Lecturecast, we enabled Media Import within Lecturecast as a way of sharing externally-produced video with selected others. Using UCL-hosted software resolves issues of accessibility, service continuity and contingencies and intellectual property, and also provides an optional discussion thread and finer-grained statistics on use than third-party service providers.

    As each participant showed their video it became clear that inexperience and relatively low-end technologies were not a barrier to a high standard of video – this was an exciting and motivating discovery. Understandably, not everybody is prepared for their first attempts to be shown and, unless you hear otherwise from their author, those which have been shared need to be approached as proofs-of-concept rather than fully honed learning resources.

    Here’s Anne Welsh (Department of Information Studies) on Nox: an Artist’s Book by a Poet:

    Here’s Graham Roberts (Department of Computer Science) on Classes and Types:

    If you have a UCL account, you can log into Lecturecast to watch Malcolm Galloway (Medical School) introduce astrocytic tumours.

    We’ll collect others on the aforementioned Moodle area.

    Some of your practical and technical questions answered

    How to compose a video recording of yourself.

    ‘Frame yourself’ by Dr Mike Howarth

    CALT is active in supporting and promoting flipping and recently held a two-day workshop titled The Media Savvy Academic – Paul Walker summarises the event on UCL’s Teaching and Learning Portal, including some very effective hand-drawn slides – one of which is pictured here – on preparing teaching videos by one of the course leaders, Dr Mike Howarth.

    As mentioned above UCL staff can either create video within Lecturecast – UCL’s own service  – using EchoCapture Personal, or create externally and upload it to Lecturecast. Why choose Lecturecast? Lecturecast compares well to third-party hosting options – like most it allows commenting and different levels of quality, but in addition it offers finer-grained reporting including hotspots (the parts of a video people are looking at most), and enables you to meet responsibilities and needs related to privacy, security, making sure students can access your recordings, and intellectual property. And not least, ELE knows how to support you using it.  If you decide to do the video-making outside Lecturecast, there are a number of freely-available editors available. For Linux OpenShot has been well-received, MovieMaker is Microsoft’s basic and straightforward editor, Apple has the very popular iMovie, and Clive lists a number of tools particularly for narrating and displaying what’s happening on your screen. That’s just a few of the many authoring and editing tools available. If your video has been created outside Lecturecast you just need to contact ele@ucl.ac.uk and ask for Media Import to be enabled on your account.

    To do the recording you can use your computer’s inbuilt video and microphone or (if you need a conferencing mic to record an encounter, for example) buy them separately for a modest outlay. It’s not currently possible to directly upload from your mobile phone – but it’s just a few extra steps to download from phone to personal filespace and (assuming you’ve asked for Media Import to be enabled as mentioned above) upload it to Lecturecast from there.

    You’ll probably want to edit your video. Originally oriented towards lectures, Lecturecast allows for minimal editing – cutting, basically – for 30 days after upload. In the case of flipping, it may work better for you to create your video outside Lecturecast so you can work on the original editable files when you need to. Alternatives include exporting your video from Lecturecast and incorporating it into other material.

    If you’re just recording your screen, do you also need to record your talking face? If you’re really uncomfortable with this, don’t worry – it’s not critical – but some studies indicate (pdf) that the speaker’s visual presence does have a positive effect on students’ attention and affect. Can Lecturecast and Personal Capture stream my video at a sufficiently high quality? Yes, you should be able to get high quality video stream – experiment with the menu to see if it satisfies the level of detail you need.

    You’re bound to have other questions – and in any case, things change. So make your first port of call the Lecturecast Resource Centre on UCL’s Wiki, and do get in touch with us (details below).

    Find out even more

    Tracey has provided some resources including rationale, examples, bibliography, which you can access via the Flipping the Classroom – Resources area on Moodle. There you will also find the evaluation framework (or rubric) for videos which we developed together. If you’re teaching at UCL and interested in experimenting with flipping, E-Learning Environments will be delighted to work with you. Contact us at ele@ucl.ac.uk,  020 3549 5678 (extension 65678). Alternatively drop in for a chat – we are located in the The Podium building (1 Eversholt Street, in front of Euston Station, nearest entrance is on the west side).

    During Tracey’s visit we reviewed the evidence supporting flipping. Another aspect of ‘finding out more’ is the much-needed research into flipping. CALT and ELE would love to work with you on evaluating your flipping initiatives – ELE has a dedicated Evaluation Specialist, Dr Vicki Dale, who is waiting to hear from you.

    Lastly, we’ve concentrated on video here – audio-only has some distinct benefits – contact ELE to discuss these.

    Thanks Tracey!

    As things stand, Tracey is now somebody who now knows more about flipping hopes, fears, opportunities and barriers at UCL than practically anybody else. She will be passing this knowledge back to us over the coming weeks and we will disseminate it. We’re very grateful to Tracey for a stimulating, invigorating – and for many, transformative – visit. Her influence at UCL will certainly outlast this brief fortnight.