By Clive Young, on 15 March 2013
Over the last few weeks we have been surveying UCL’s E-learning Champions to find out what their priority interests were for the next year or so. We had a very high engagement, over 60 responses, which is encouraging in itself. We invited Champions to select from a mix of concepts, tools and practices . In the graph top scored priorities are given as percentages.
The highest interest was around the use of video e.g. lecture capture, ‘flipping’, developing short clips and demonstrations. This is perhaps not so surprising, in our discussions with departments and Champions, the issue of how we can use video more effectively has come up repeatedly and from all parts of UCL. There are probably quite a few reasons for this; YouTube, MOOCs and video-lecture portals like the Khan Academy have shown how even fairly low-fi video can be used in learning. Moreover Lecturecast has proved to be an extraordinarily popular technology at UCL with both students and staff. Although the use so far has been relatively conservative so far colleagues are bginning to experiement with EchoCapture ‘personal capture’, that is using screen recordings to create short narrated video clips and then using these to provide additional resources, preparation for labs, fieldwork and tutorials and even feedback on assessments. See the UCL Lecturecast wiki for more information.
I lead a video project called REC:all (recording and augmenting lectures for learning) which is looking at how we use lecture capture in educationally interesting ways. We are compiling a quick review of how video is being used to support students learning at UCL, in order to identify good examples. If you are currently using video – including screen-capture, use of mobile devices, animation etc, even more use of Lecturecast such as ‘flipping’ – please let us know with a few details and we will follow up with you.
Perhaps unsurprisingly electronic forms of assessment and feedback were next and taken together the highest collective priority. UCL has seen very rapid growth in the use of Turnitin, diagnostic and formative Moodle quizzes and Moodle-based e-exams. Champions were very interested in using Grademark comments and rubrics and providing diagnostic feedback through Moodle quizzes and lessons.
ELE colleagues are currently redeveloping our support for Moodle quizzes and we are closely involved in an interesting new project looking at the value of early diagnostic quizzes in a range of SLMS Masters programmes. CALT has also developed some excellent online resources available form their Assessment and feedback page.
Third was collaborative and group work in and outside the classroom, including the use of blogs and wikis and classroom technologies such as clickers. At about the same level of interest was audio, for example to provide podcasts and audio feedback to students. Audio is rightly seen as ‘simpler’ to use than video and even Grademark has a basic audio feedback feature.
Despite the drawbacks (mainly low returns and possibly skewed responses) of using online methods such as Moodle or Opinio for getting programme feedback remain of much interest.
Online discussion (forums, instant messaging and the Blackboard virtual classroom) was almost as popular, as was the growing field of fully online learning for distance learning, short courses and CPD, another area ELE are developing new support resources for. Classroom technologies such as clickers, but also maybe new ways of presenting, using tablets, online voting and so also rated highly.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this survey was actually how wide the Champions’ interests were, this provides some challenges if we want to provide support, but is very positive in that colleagues are willing to explore and experiment with a remarkable range of new ideas and technologies. In addition to the suggestions in the survey, coleagues expressed interest in for example iPads, virtual machines, cloud-based services and automated maths marking. We are now looking into ways of further supporting Champions in all these areas and welcome your ideas.