Digital Education team blog
  • We support Staff and Students using technology to enhance education at UCL.

    Here you'll find updates on institutional developments, projects we're involved in, updates on educational technology, events, case studies and personal experiences (or views!).

    Subscribe to our elearning newsletters.

  • Subscribe to this blog

  • Meta

  • Tags

  • A A A

    A new academic year, an upgraded Lecturecast Service (students)

    By Janice Kiugu, on 5 October 2017

    Lecturecast is UCL’s automated lecture recording system with over 115 rooms across the University enabled with more being added through the year.

    The system is designed for course tutors/administrators to electively choose to record their lectures as supplemental resources and share them with their students via the respective Moodle course.Lecturecast is not a replacement for lecture attendance and is provided to complement lectures and provide an additional resource to support student learning.

    There are multiple benefits of Lecturecasting content, including the ability for you to revisit complex material and to engage in discussions outside of the classroom.

    Over the summer, the UCL Lecturecast system was upgraded to a more user-friendly and interactive interface, providing students with more tools to support their learning. When viewing a recording, you can now:

    • Make notes and download them for reference
    • Post questions
    • Bookmark content- this allows students to revisit a particular slide or scene and any notes that have been made
    • Flag content that may be confusing – flagged content is highlighted to the Tutor(s) associated with the course
    • Engage in discussions relating to the lecture with other students on the course

    Further changes have been made to enhance learning and teaching and to make learning more interactive and engaging for students. Staff can now:

    • Use the Lecturecast system to upload supplementary resources created elsewhere in various file formats
    • Create interactive slides that contain question slides
    • View analytics –   to better understand what students find most useful or to help improve future lecture delivery
    • Respond to questions students have posed as well as posting questions to students

    More information about using Lecturecast can be found here:  Lecturecast – Student Guide

    A step-by-step guide to viewing Lecturecast recordings and making use of the additional functionality is available here – Lecturecast Student Guide Learning the Basics

    For information on UCL Data Protection Policy, UCL Computer Regulations (Acceptable use Policy) and  how your data is being used, please refer to our  Lecturecast Information student wiki page.

    Support

    For information on how Lecturecast is being used on your course, please contact the relevant Tutor.

    For technical support on using the system,  please contact the ISD Service Desk: Tel: 020 7676 5000, 25000 (internal) Email: servicedesk@ucl.ac.uk

    UCL’s new Lecturecast system is live

    By Janice Kiugu, on 28 September 2017

    This summer the Lecturecast service received a significant upgrade when we moved from our previous lecture capture solution to the latest offering from our supplier Echo360.

    For those who have used Lecturecast in the past, you will be pleased to know that the new system offers a more streamlined and user-friendly service that allows you to schedule recordings for your lectures, link your recordings to a Moodle course and manage and edit recordings through the Lecturecast Active Learning Platform (ALP) interface. In addition to upgrading the system, we also have more rooms that are Lecturecast Enabled. Currently, over 110 rooms are online with more being added within the next few weeks.

    We believe that the new system will make it much easier for you to schedule recordings and share them with students. There are benefits to be had for both staff and students in ‘Lecturecasting’ events. In a recent survey of UCL students and their use of technology, the most frequent request was for Lecturecast to be more widely available.

    The new Lecturecast system comprises three elements:

    • The Lecturecast Scheduler: this allows you to schedule recordings for confirmed CMIS (i.e. UCL’s online timetabling and room booking system) booked events.
    • The Lecturecast Connector block – available on every Moodle course when you ‘Turn editing on’. This allows you to link your Moodle Course to a section in Lecturecast that contains the recordings for your course.
    • Lecturecast Active Learning Platform (ALP) – This is where recordings are hosted. The ALP interface provides functionality that goes beyond just hosting recordings and allows you to create and add resources that include interactive slides and view learner analytics. For students, it allows them to flag and bookmark content as well as take notes, participate in discussions and respond to interactive slides.

    We have developed new training resources including video and step-by-step guides to get you started using the new system, and are currently developing more advanced guides which will be available soon. These are available via the Lecturecast Resource Centre

    Training and guidance on using the additional functionality will be phased in over the next 12 months.

    If you are looking for inspiration and on how you might incorporate the use of Lecturecast into your teaching, have a look at some of the case studies from institutions around the world using Echo360 (the developers) behind Lecturecast.

    Below are a host of links to get you started in using the new Lecturecast system at UCL.

    If you have any queries or need support, please email lecturecast@ucl.ac.uk

    Talking heads – How much are they really needed?

    By Matt Jenner, on 13 March 2013

    This is me, climbing up a tree in Buxton, UK.

    This is me, climbing a tree.

    What are you looking at?

    Earlier today I was reminded of a topic I’ve wanted to explore more ever since I worked with Carl Gombrich from UCL’s BASc Arts and Sciences programme. In conversation about his flipped classroom model he mentioned, in passing, that people ‘can close the talking head’ and watch the other video feed, make notes, browse the web or simply walk around and listen. This instantly raised several questions:

    • What’s the value of the talking head?
    • Why do they close the talking head?
    • Is there something happening here we have not explored enough?
    • Why did Matt put his picture on this blog post?

    I was reminded of this today, in a meeting with an external group I noticed most of the people around the room starred into the conference phone. Most did it when they were talking, others for listening – those who looked to be thinking of complex mathematical formulas and the science of life (or lunch) gave a mixed set of data. Without any research backing whatsoever (hold tight), Carl is right. When watching a recorded lecture, people can close that talking head at their discretion. For lecture capture we’re talking about a camera fixed to the back of the room, a pixellated academic  who goes in and out of shot but does have their best tie on. The other thing to consider is that  focusing on the captured display device might be a preference anyway – as it’s showing the projected content but this is a bigger video, centered to the screen – it’s more dominant.

    So what is the value of the talking head?

    Value (y) of talking head over time (x)

    Value (y) of talking head over time (x)

    As indicated by my very technical graph made from assumptions alone (yikes) I’d expect to see it starts really high, peaks around a muddy spot, point of clarification or unexpected event and then finally towards the end. Otherwise I’d expect it drops to very low levels the rest of the time. What does this head add? Perhaps initially we want to see who’s talking to us, but I’d expect most people may know the speaker and instead want to know other questions. Previously these have ranged from:

    • When studying from non-class/campus locations I like to see who’s talking to me
    • I’m a social being, I like to see others
    • Checking the speaker isn’t doing it in their pants from home
    • And so on.

    I am sure there’s better reasons, but ultimately we’re generally a social animal and perhaps it’s as simple as ‘I like to see them, at least for a bit’.

    Why do people close the talking head?

    Perhaps once we’ve confirmed how nice their office / home is and checked weather they are indeed wearing clothes we’re less attracted by this face and we close it off. A real study here would be fascinating. Imaging the same recording to thousands of people and all your measuring is when the talking head is closed/opened. With large classes or a MOOC this is easy or longitudinally over the same service and many, many different videos and viewers  (i.e. Lecturecast) it’s also easy and the data should show measurable results.

    Is there something happening here we have not explored enough?

    I think so. If anyone out there has done more on this it would be interesting to see it. There’s something in here about clearly highlighting the level of human to human face-exposure. It’s higher than zero but I’d expect lower than 100%. But where does it sit? If anyone’s got more research/data do let me know. For distance learning or massive online courses, I think this information could be very interesting.

    What did you look at at the beginning of the post?

    Answers below please 🙂

    Guardian Article on Lecture Capture

    By Jason 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?

    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.