X Close

Digital Education team blog

Home

Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team

Menu

Archive for the 'Lecturecast' Category

Teaching videos: which platform should I choose?

Eliot Hoving12 June 2020

Decorative.

As you prepare your Moodle course for next term, in addition to vital asynchronous activities, you will likely want to add a few videos of yourself or a screen recording of your lecture. By now you’re probably aware that UCL has a plethora of technologies. This is partly a necessity, as UCL teaching practices vary so no single tool will get the job done for everyone, but sometimes it’s a little unclear which to use.

 

To help you decide, Digital Education with help from the Digital Media team and IT for SLASH team has put together this comparison table of the three centrally supported media platforms: Lecturecast, Mediacentral and Microsoft Stream.

 

The table hopes to clarify some of the common questions; e.g.

  • Does the platform allow students to download recordings?
  • Can I upload a pre-recorded video e.g. a video recorded in PowerPoint?
  • Can I restrict who views the video?
  • Can I see analytics on whose watched the video?

 

If you need further advice on creating and sharing video, please contact digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

 

Writing when teaching remotely

Steve Rowett22 April 2020

We start this blog post with a short exercise for the reader: search Google Images or an image library for the word teacher.

I hope that you see a range of diverse people in the pictures. But I bet that most of them will have a pen or chalk in their hand, and a board or surface at their side. The act of writing and talking as a form of instruction is perhaps the most commonly perceived characteristic of who a teacher is and what they do.

The move to remote teaching has made writing as a form of teaching more difficult. A mouse may be great for controlling a computer, but it’s hard to use it to write smoothly on screen.

So in this post, we will look at how we might continue to use writing as a form of teaching, even from home.

Before we start, a note on accessibility. Whilst we teach remotely, so of the facilities that our students might have relied upon (like captions, transcripts, note-takers or signers) might not be available, so we may need to make alternative accommodations. Please do think about this before you plan your teaching and contact Digital Education if you would like advice.

Using a visualiser at home

In the classroom or lecture hall, many rooms will have a visualiser (also called a document camera) for showing writing and objects. These are typically hooked up to a projection screen through the AV system and are also captured by lecture capture. UCL uses a mix of table-top visualisers and ceiling mounted visualisers from a company called Wolfvision.

You can also buy more consumer-level products in this category. At home I use an IPEZO VZ-R camera, which costs about £200.

The IPEVO VZ-R visualiser - a sturdy base with a webcam mounted on a flexible hinge.

IPEVO VZ-R Visualiser (source: ipevo.com)

The camera connects via USB and can be used in two ways:

Either method works well, but I’d recommend the latter as webcam video is often heavily compressed. This method works well with all our supported platforms, including Lecturecast (Echo 360) Universal Capture Personal, Blackboard Collaborate and Microsoft Teams.

The camera is compact but sturdy. It has an in-built light, and facilities such as zoom and autofocus, and can capture a surface slightly less than A3. It also has an inbuilt microphone which is likely to be closer to you when you are speaking than one in a laptop.

Control buttons on the IPEVO VZ-R including power, zoom and focus

Control buttons on the IPEVO VZ-R (source: ipevo.com)

The software can control the features of the camera, and can make recordings that you could upload to Lecturecast, for example. The controls neatly get out of the way when they aren’t being used, so that you can focus on the content. The image below shows the auto-focus in operation, clearly capturing a book cover.

IPEVO Visualizer software showing controls and a picture of a book under the camera

IPEVO Visualizer software showing controls

The Visualizer application can easily be shared in a Blackboard Collaborate room, and you can then move the window out of the way and focus on the participants. The image below shows me writing some simple maths on a notepad, captured by the camera, using the screen sharing feature of Collaborate to show this to other participants.

Writing equations which are shared within a Blackboard Collaborate room

Writing equations which are shared within a Blackboard Collaborate room.

IPEVO offer another model, the V4K, for £100, which has a lower resolution sensor (but still good) and no light. Of course other companies are available, and I’ve heard recommendations of Genee and Aver models. These types of visualisers are often used in secondary schools, so any teachers you know may be able to give suitable advice.

One thing I particularly like about the IPEVO models is the design. The one I have folds fairly flat, so is easy to store away, so my living room doesn’t have to look like a lecture theatre. Here’s a comparison of its size when folded compared to a bottle of wine. And yes, it does fit in a wine rack.

An IPEVO VZ-R is about the size of a bottle of wine when folded

The IPEVO VZ-R folds down to the size of a bottle of wine.

Writing on an iPad or other tablet

Using an Apple Pencil on an iPad or a stylus for other devices, you can use a notes or sketch app to write on an iPad. This works fine as a standalone process, but you can also use software such as Reflector or Airserver to mirror your device to your PC or Mac and screen share it as part of a call using Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom etc., or to record it from your screen using Lecturecast Personal Capture. If you have a Mac, you can also plug in your USB to Lightning cable and use Quicktime to mirror your screen by selecting your iPad as the camera source (thanks to Dr Steven Schofield from UCL Physics and Astronomy for that tip).

The short clip below shows Steven leading a revision lecture with his students. He reports that “I gave a two hour live revision lecture today; I was able to use the screen mirroring software to share my iPad Mini screen with the class via Blackboard Collaborate. It went really well and I had good feedback from the students. I think the overall experience is so much better than just talking to prepared slides. ”

Using a webcam

If you have a webcam that isn’t built in to your computer, you can use this too. We’ve tried a couple of webcams and it can work well, but may not have the full controls or handy features like the light that the VZ-R has.

Using a mobile phone

You may have seen tweets where inventive teachers have rigged up their phones to use as cameras. But how do you do this?

Well, IPEVO provide an app for that too. To make this work, you need three things:

  • An Apple or Android phone on the same network as your computer (PC, Mac, Chromebook and Linux supported)
  • An installation of IPEVO iDocCam on your phone
  • An installation of IPEVO Visualizer on your computer

Launch the app on your phone, and then the Visualizer software on your computer, and your phone will appear in the list of available cameras.

The phone can be selected from the list of cameras available in the IPEVO Visualizer software

Your phone shows as a camera in the IPEVO Visualizer software

And here is an example of it in use, with my old IPhone SE acting as the camera:

The final bit is to rig the phone up in a secure way, about 40cm above your desk. You might use a desk mount, or a pile of books, or some blu tack and string, but I’m afraid that is up to you.

Lecturecast: Viewed and understood?

Samantha Ahern16 April 2020

For many staff and students Lecturecast is a regular feature of their teaching and learning experience. With the transition to remote provision, it has become one of the core tools. Either via new captures using Lecturecast Universal Capture Personal or the release of previous captures to current cohorts.

How are students interacting with these captures and what could this tell us about their understanding?

The Active Learning Platform (ALP)

Lecturecast is UCL’s internal branding of Echo 360, the service that we use for lecture capture. The Echo 360 Active Learning Platform, ALP, provides a range of features, not just the hosting of lecture recordings.

The interactive features of the platform include:

Recently a number of UCL academic colleagues, Prof Andrea Townsend-Nicholson, Prof John Mitchell and Dr Parama Chaudhury, took part in the webinar Live Panel Discussion: Is it Time for the University Lecture to Evolve?. During the discussion the system’s interactive features are touched upon.

These features can help students manage their learning, but can also provide you with an insight into your students’ understanding. Most of these features can be used for re-released and personally captured content, they do not neccesarily rely on a live teaching event.

More information is available in the ALP Resource Centre.

Analytics Reports

The Active Learning Platform, much like Moodle, collects a lot of data about interactions with the platform. There are a number of analytics reports available to you as the course instructor.

These are:

Video analytics

Screenshot showing the video analytics and overlaid heatmap for an example video

Example: Video analytics and heat map

Particularly useful information is the unique number of views, average view time and the heatmap overlay. The heatmap identifies the most commonly viewed segments of the video.

Course analytics – Classes data

Screenshot of Course analytics - Class for an example course

Example: Course analytics – Classes data

This gives an overall view of video and slide deck views, student interactions and confusion flags enabled. The confusion flags are particularly useful as it allows you to gain an insight into what students are potentially not understanding. You are also able to review students’ performance in embedded polling activity. These could then be used to inform future sessions or the provision of additional resources.

Course analytics – Student data

The same information as for the class, but for individual students.

Screensot showing Class Analytics - Students for an example course

Example: Course analytics – Student data

Insight?

All of these data will enable you gain an insight into how your students are interacting with resources and potentially identify any sticky topics. However, as always they only tell part of the story and should be used with caution. For more guidance on using these analytics please review Digital Education’s Lecturecast Data Analytics Guides.

 

Learning Design in an Emergency Part 1

Clive Young2 April 2020

Our teachers are being forced into moving their teaching online very quickly. The initial focus for academics is inevitably be on access, getting themselves and their students online and doing what they can immediately with the institutional tools provided. For most teachers this will be far from full, integrated ‘online learning’ but more an initial digitisation of their existing face-to-face methods.

UCL is mainly focusing on Moodle (already used for resource distribution and to a lesser extent communication), Blackboard Collaborate (for online ‘tutorials’) and Lecturecast (Echo) Universal Personal Capture (short video recordings to replace lectures). The term we use at UCL is Teaching Continuity, emphasising the ‘business as usual’ elements for both teachers and students. Similarly, current assessment plans largely focus on digitising existing time-limited exam practices, although finding alternatives is always recommended.

We might consider this a ‘first stage’ in moving online, the analogy being with the well-known JISC model of stages in development of digital literacies (see image on right). In this model, academics may soon move on from issues of access to tools and simple how-to skills guides. The next stage is likely to how to enhance their online teaching and learning practice and towards attributes such as their role as online teachers. In parallel, our students and staff may soon demand a more sophisticated ‘next stage’ learning experience.

As we progress, learning design becomes especially important. In order to develop true ‘online learning’ in even a simple form, courses will have to be redesigned around online activities. This is likely to be an opportunity to create richer learning designs, and for academics to consider a wider range of practices. Although academics may now have a motivation (albeit external) and focus, colleagues will still be stressed and time-limited, so any (re)design will require very simple workflows, step-by-step guides, checklists and so on.

At UCL and across the HE sector, the ABC ’sprint’ method of learning design has proved a well-evaluated, simple, engaging and productive practical framework to guide academic colleagues this process. The method is built around a collaborative and quite intensive 90’ workshop in which modules teams work together to produce a paper-based storyboard describing the student journey. The key pedagogical core of ABC is an operationalisation the six Learning Types framework of Prof Diana Laurillard (UCL Institute of Education). Using Learning Types has proved a remarkably robust and accessible route into teaching and learning discussion and reflection and shows how pedagogically-informed rapid development learning design is achievable.

The main issue is that ABC was designed as a social, face to face, group-based activity, so we have to rethink how the pedagogic ideas might be presented. The UCL ABC team, working with our ABCtoVLE Erasmus+ project partners are currently investigating online alternatives, with an aim to producing a Toolkit that institutions can localise and use in their own context. Some practicalities will be discussed in the next blog post, but from our experience in the European project we believe ABC should be considered not in isolation but as part of a process of institutional engagement. The full toolkit will most likely comprise three parts,

Pedagogy – Present the Learning Types to academic colleagues as a common language. As we can’t do this as a workshop, we are working on different approaches (see next post).

Technology – What tools are available to teachers? The Tool Wheel is a quick visual approach, linking pedagogy to technology. There are two stages for institutional support teams that can be can be done in either order,

  • Sketch a ‘snapshot’ of supported technologies, comprising the VLE, videoconferencing/virtual classroom, media tools etc. using the App wheel template, the ‘wheel of opportunities’.
  • Make a list of the tools identified and link to local support documentation (videos, web sites, tool guides, ‘how-to’s etc) – can also link to external guides from Canvas, Moodle etc.

Practice – What is effective pedagogic practice using these tools? We want to make use of the guides etc produced by the domain. We are redeveloping the Erasmus+ project site to represent good practice in the six learning types. The project team will list any resources we find that address each of the types. The first stage is to curate, we may be able to write something more definitive in the final report. More information to follow.

Video resources for teaching online

Steve Rowett16 March 2020

As part of our work on education planning for 2020/21, we are making a series of videos and screencasts to help you complete common tasks for teaching online. These will be linked from individual web pages for the relevant section, but we thought it might be useful to also pull them together on a single page.

We are making captions available for all of these videos, along with transcripts, but these may appear a day or two after the video is first released without them. This information will be given with each video below. Further videos will be posted here in the coming days.

More detailed guidance on the tools below is given in the Moodle Resource Centre, the Lecturecast Resource Centre and the Blackboard Collaborate Resource Centre.

Finally, this of course a difficult and anxious time for us all. Please use the communication tools within Moodle to provide reassurance and support to each other as best we can.


Simple tips for teaching online

This video (32 minutes) provides a practical guide to teaching online and gives useful advice for teachers and students. Thanks for Dr Zachary Walker from UCL Institute of Education for making and sharing this video.

This video has captions and a transcript.


Moodle

This video (5 minutes) gives five tips for adding extra content and activities to your Moodle course.

This video has captions and a transcript.
This video shows the process for setting up a Moodle Quiz for formative assessments.

This video has captions and a transcript


Lecturecast Universal Capture Personal

This video (10 minutes) takes you through the process of recording lectures or content using your own computer and the Lecturecast Universal Capture software. Thanks to Ian Calder, UCL School of Management, for giving us permission to use this video.

This video has captions and a transcript.


Blackboard Collaborate

This video (17 minutes) shows how to set up a Blackboard Collaborate room within Moodle and use it for a live seminar or teaching event. Thanks to Ian Calder, UCL School of Management, for giving us permission to use this video.

This video has captions and a transcript.

How to use Blackboard Collaborate in your teaching and learning practice

This video (26 minutes) from Lauren Clark, UCL Institute of Education, discusses how the MA in Education programme uses Collaborate to teaching both local and distance students. Lauren offers some ideas for teaching practice and hints and tips for running successful teaching events .

This video has captions and a transcript


Making a video from a PowerPoint with audio

This video (11 minutes) shows you how to take an existing PowerPoint presentation and record an audio narration on each slide. This can then be exported as a video file, which can be imported into Moodle, Lecturecast or Media Central.

This video has captions and a transcript.

Compressing video files using Handbrake

This video (7 minutes) demonstrates how to compress video files using the open-source software Handbrake. This can be used with all videos, but is particularly useful where making narrated PowerPoint videos (see above) produces large file sizes. Such videos can often be compressed to around a quarter of their original size with minimal loss of quality.

This video has captions and a transcript.


Recording your iPad screen for Lecturecast

This video (11 minutes) takes you through the process of using your iPad to record on-screen content and uploading it to Lecturecast. Thanks to Ian Calder, UCL School of Management, for giving us permission to use this video.

This video has captions and a transcript.


Remote working

ISD has produced this video which explains a number of tools available for remote working. This includes Microsoft Office365 tools such as email, calendar, OneDrive and Teams and use of the virtual private network (VPN) and Desktop@UCL Anywhere for accessing central systems and software.

This video has captions.


Blogging with Reflect

Samantha Ahern from UCL Digital Education has created a series of video tutorials on using Reflect, UCL’s service for blogging in teaching and learning.

Moving activities online – as easy as ABC?

Clive Young10 March 2020

ABC and learning types

As we focus on Teaching continuity, UCL’s ABC method of learning design can help us consider how to move learning activities online. 

Many colleagues will already be familiar with the ABC sprint workshops for programme and module (re) design. During the high-energy 90’ workshop, academic teams work together to create a visual ‘storyboard’ showing the type and sequence learning activities required to meet the module’s learning outcomes and also how these will be assessed. Over 1000 UCL colleagues have now participated in ABC workshops since we started in 2015 and report it is particularly useful for new programmes or those moving to an online or more blended format.

The storyboard represents the learner journey and is constructed from pre-printed cards representing six types of learning.

The learning types are derived from the highly respected ‘Conversational Framework’ model of adult learning developed by Prof Diana Laurillard of the Institute of Education, UCL.

Video: Prof Laurillard introduces the Conversational Framework (Only the title is in Italian!)

The ABC cards list ‘conventional’ and digital examples activity associated with each of Prof Laurillard’s learning types, but teams are able and encouraged to add their own activities to the cards. Extensive testing at UCL and elsewhere has showed the creative hands-on, analogue format of the workshop stimulates a wide-ranging discussion. This includes the purpose of the course or programme, teaching methods, alternative technologies and assessment methods and above all the student experience. Even if you are not able to organise a ‘full’ ABC learning design event for your team, the cards themselves can help you identify digital alternatives to current activities.

Image: Example activities from the ABC cards.

Video: Prof Laurillard introduces the six learning types (2′) Note: ‘Inquiry’ is used here instead of ‘Investigation’.

How can the  six learning types guide us to consider digital alternatives to ‘conventional’ teaching and learning?


Acquisition

What learners do when they read books and articles, listen to lectures and podcasts, watch demos or videos. In this way learners acquire new concepts, models, vocabulary, models, and methodologies. Acquisition should be reflective as learners align new ideas to their existing knowledge. Conventional methods often include face-to-face presentations, demos and master classes.

Moving acquisition online: reading multimedia, websites, digital documents and resources listening to podcasts, webcasts watching animations, videos. Online quizzes can be used to check learner progress.

Key UCL tools:


Investigation

Encourages the learner to take an active and exploratory approach to learning, to search for and evaluate a range of new information and ideas. Students are guided to analyse, compare and critique the texts, data, documents and resources within the concepts and ideas being taught.

Moving investigation online: in many disciplines using digital resources and analytical tools are already part of students’ activities.

Key UCL tools:


Practice

Enables knowledge to be applied in context. The learner modifies actions according to the task and uses feedback to improve. Feedback may come from self-reflection, peers, the teacher, or from the activity outcomes. Practice often includes significant face-to-face components including labs, field trips, placements, practice-based projects and face-to-face role-play and groupwork.

Moving practice online: The most challenging of the six activity types, some activities are hard to substitute without losing important learning outcomes. Videos of methods, simulations, models, sample data sets, image and video banks, online role-play and case studies may be used to address some of the learning aims. Online quizzes can be used to test application and understanding.

Key UCL tools:


Discussion

Requires the learner to articulate their ideas and questions, and to challenge and respond to the ideas and questions from the teacher, and/or from their peers. Conventionally this is achieved through face-to-face tutorials, seminars and class discussion.

Moving discussion online: There are a number of good online options, including Moodle discussion forums which can be real-time (synchronous) or run over an extended period (asynchronous). Online forums can be even more productive than conventional tutorials as more students may contribute. For a richer discussion, Blackboard Collaborate can be run as a synchronous session.

Key UCL tools:


Collaboration

Requires students to work together in small groups to achieve a common project goal. Building on investigations and acquisition it is about taking part in the process of knowledge building itself. Learning through collaboration therefore includes elements of discussion, practice, and production.

Moving collaboration online: Some parts of group and project working lend themselves to digital communication to help discussion and planning of project outputs. The practical elements depend on the discipline but in some areas it will be possible to build a joint digital output and complete the task entirely online.

Key UCL tools:


Production

How the teacher motivates the learner to consolidate what they have learned by articulating their current conceptual understanding and reflect how they used it in practice. Production is usually associated with formative and summative assessment and can cover a wide range of items; essays, reports, designs, performances, articles, models etc.

Moving production online: In some disciplines, digital representations are already common such as presentations, videos, slideshows, blogs and e-portfolios.

Key UCL tools:

Assessment

During the ABC workshop, assessment is usually addressed as a part of the (re) design process. Online formative assessment can be included in the learner experience using many of the tools and approaches listed above, such as Moodle Forum and Moodle Quiz. Online summative assessment is more complex and separate guidance is being prepared.