X Close

Digital Education team blog


Ideas and reflections from UCL's Digital Education team


Could you repeat that please? – Lecturecast at UCL

By Rod Digges, on 30 March 2011

Lecture_theatre - L. de Voltolina, 1350s (Wikimedia)

Two terms into the Lecturecast trials at UCL and we already have well over a two thousand hours of recorded lectures  available to students from a range of subject areas and disciplines including, Marketing, Genetics, Computer Science, Biosciences,Chemistry, Economics, Physics and Astronomy, Electronic Engineering and others.

A recent survey of students that included questions about the use of IT in teaching and learning gave Lecturecast an overwhelming ‘thumbs up’ with comments like –

“It would be useful to have all the lectures recorded as a matter of course.”

“The recording of lectures could be more widespread.”

“More videos of lectures should be uploaded to Moodle.”

“I would like to see more videos of lectures on Moodle, as this will be very useful come revision in March and April.”

Figures of 21,000 views for Biosciences alone suggest that these are not idle comments and a large number of students are actively engaging with Lecturecast recordings.

But we’re not resting on our laurels. Plans for upgrades to the system this year mean that users can  look forward to a host of improvements – look out for a new player coming to a browser near you in April.

You can find more general information about Lecturecast at UCL on this page: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lecturecast

If you want to see an example of a Lecturecast stream, click here – with the kind permission of Professor Steve Jones (UCL userID/pw required)


Video and pedagogy – what questions should we be asking now ?

By Clive Young, on 10 March 2011

The third ViTAL webinar on video in education took place on 9 March 2011, attracting 42 attendees and generating a lively discussion.

It was presented by Clive Young, LTSS and chaired by John Conway, Imperial.

The slides are here:

The Adobe Connect recording can be found at the following link

Video and pedagogy – what questions should we be asking now ?

The wonder of webinars

By Clive Young, on 15 February 2011

Last weekScreenshot of Webinar the LTSS team ran our first webinar as part of the ViTAL project, using the Adobe Connect sysyem. ViTAL is an academic community funded by ALT and HEA to address the growing interest in using digital video and media in tertiary education in the UK and beyond. It is led by UCL, Imperial College and Lancaster University. We are keen to establish an active community but in the current financial climate it is difficult to find funding for live seminars and workshops. ViTAL is therefore supported using the Ning social networking software and now, for the first time, webinars hosted by Lancaster University.

During  the one-hour session LTSS experts Rod Digges and Jason Norton intitially gave a short Powerpoint presentation on how UCL has rolled out the Echo 360 lecture capture system. Clive Young acted as the moderator, supported by Imperial College and Lancaster University colleagues.  The audience, some 30 individuals from all over the UK, asked questions using a chat window and also in the Q&A section by audio. Everything worked very well technically, the sound was clear and the chat window acted as an interesting ‘back channel’ to pick up the concerns of the audience.  We also had ‘snap polls’ throughout the session and the response was very positive.

The whole session was also recorded and can be found here. We felt this method would work very well for short seminars, presentations, distance learning and ad hoc training. It was easy to set up, very interactive and great fun to do!

Guardian Article on Lecture Capture

By Jason R Norton, on 18 January 2011

I saw this article “Will video kill the lecturing star?” by Jon Wolff about the use of Lecture recording in higher education. What makes this one different is that it isn’t about how good or bad lecture recording is, but is about how the academic experienced the system, his reaction to seeing himself in playback. What made this even more of an interest is that when I reached the end of the article I saw that he is a UCL academic. So as a follow up I have emailed him to find out if his experiences relate to Lecturecast or another system.

Will video kill the lecturing star?

Media and Learning 2010

By Clive Young, on 29 November 2010

I was at the Media and Learning conference in Brussels last week. The conference is a new spin off of the MEDEA Awards, a competition now in its third year that recognises and rewards excellence in video and media in education. The conference attracted over 250 delegates with a good representation from the UK. JISC Digital Media and JISC Legal were there talking about UK video collections and the legal aspects of lecture capture (known in the rest of Europe as ‘weblectures’).  Blogger Helen Keegan of the University of Salford gave an inspiring keynote on ‘learning ecosystems’, the transformation of ‘passive’ video into a medium for active communication and creation. This was certainly a theme of the conference and other keynotes including Ozge Karaoglu from Turkey (pictured) showcased some stunning work achieved by primary and secondary children across Europe. The main MEDEA award was fittingly won by BBC News for their BBC News School Report which gives 11-14 year-old students in the UK the chance to make their own news reports for a real audience.

A different way to connect.

By Rod Digges, on 15 November 2010

Over breakfast at a recent conference on the use of the Echo360 (Lecturecast) system, I found myself talking to an LTA (Learning Technology Advisor) from a small US community college. He had recently been working with teachers from the Math School at the college, helping them transform their existing paper-based courses for online delivery.
One of the last, and most reluctant, members of staff to go online was a senior member of the school’s teaching staff, who met with the LTA regularly to discuss ideas for the new course. As the course’s live date approached, the LTA suggested that an online discussion forum be included; a place where students could share ideas, or give feedback about the course – the LTA also advised that it was good practice to prime a forum with one or more initial posts to ‘get the ball rolling’. The Maths teacher doubted the value of ‘this kind of thing’ but said that he’d think about it.
The new term began, the course was made live but it was a couple of weeks before the LTA and the Maths teacher had a chance to meet and review how things were going. When they did finally meet the LTA was pleased to hear that the course had been well received and asked his colleague what he had found most useful.
The Maths teacher said that he had taken up the suggestion of including a discussion forum and to get the ball rolling had posted the question for all students – ‘What does Maths mean to you in your life?’. This was a question. that over his years of teaching, he always asked every group of students at their first lecture – observing sadly that he rarely got much of a response.
The teacher said that asking the same question in an online forum had made a big difference, the LTA told me that there were tears in his colleagues eyes as he talked about the many messages in the forum and how a number of students had talked about the beauty and elegance of mathematics, describing a passion for the subject that matched his own – he said the replies had inspired him and that his teaching with this group had an energy and enthusiasm he hadn’t felt for years.

The Lecturecast conference covered many interesting uses of this very impressive technology, but a few months later, trying to think of subject for this blog, it’s the story of the Maths teacher and his students that sticks in my mind and how the use of a much simpler technology gave them a different way to connect.