Tag: digital skills

hands-on digital skills

Hands-on digital skills. Image by ISG Interactive Content Team CC-BY

This blog is another about some more institutionally provided technologies. #openblog19

At University of Edinburgh we know that our people are our strength. This is a place of knowledge creation, and a place of knowledge sharing. It is a place in which we invest in the digital skills of our staff and students. It is true in any job that there is a need for learning and development and when you work in the digital sector the need is even more urgent in a rapidly changing environment.

As Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services I am lucky to have responsibility not only for the institutionally provided learning technology, but also the institutionally provided digital skills training provision.  You know me, I like to have a strategy or framework for such things.

Our strategic investment in Lynda.com  has been a huge success. The digital skills training team are excellent and they have invested the kind of time and effort in managing this service for the institution which has brought us return in terms of take-up and impact  which puts us at the forefront of the  UK HE sector.

All staff and student at University of Edinburgh are offered an account with Lynda.com. We’ve seen a steady increase over 3 years  to the current 15,000 users.

I am particularly pleased that uptake is highest in Information Services Group (87%), and is consistent across all three Colleges (23-28%). The service is most popular amongst taught postgraduate students with 47% having a Lynda.com account. Between 1,200 and 1,800 hours of video is viewed every month. ,

The vast majority of courses viewed are on digital skills topics. Programming courses are consistently the most popular (Programming Fundamentals, HTML, Python) but data skills courses have recently gained popularity.

Lynda.com has been heavily and proactively promoted by ISG.  We appointed a dedicated  Service Manager to get out and about around the university to encourage engagement.  We have reached out to users across the campuses and to our 3,000 distance learning students.  We use Lynda.com to to develop staff and student skills, to supplement curricular teaching and to increase operational efficiencies for the other training providers on campus.

Developing student skills

  • Providing extra-curricular learning to enhance the student experience, aligned to frameworks such as the Digital Skills Framework or the Researcher Development Framework.
  • Developing employability skills, both digital and business, through the Careers Service.
  • Increasing visibility of achievements by downloading course completion certificates or posting them to LinkedIn profiles.

Developing staff skills

  • Developing the digital skills and capabilities of our workforce, enabling staff to play an active role in digital transformation and keep up to date with new technology.
  • Helping managers to support staff development and reviews by signposting a broad range of Lynda.com courses for their staff through the Digital Skills Framework.
  • Encouraging career development by mapping courses to professional development frameworks.
  • Enhancing curricular teaching by supporting digital classroom technologies.

Use by training providers

  • Enabling training providers to offer resources across a wider subject range and provide an alternative to classroom-based delivery. Examples include the Effective Digital Communication (Web Publishing) course which was re-designed from a face-to-face to online course using Lynda.com materials; HR’s business skills toolkits (launched in summer 2018) and ISG’s digital skills toolkits (to launch in April 2019) both of which signpost Lynda.com resources.
  • Including links to Lynda.com resources in pre- and post- course emails on Digital Skills Programme courses for preparation and further skills development.
  • Providing immediate help to those on waiting lists
  • Assisting in software and systems rollouts including Office 365, Windows 10 and lecture recording.
  • Reducing spend on external training courses by offering a just-in-time online alternative.

Lynda.com will be upgraded to LinkedIn Learning in summer 2019 and will bring benefits of a more personalised learning experience, more courses, the facility to include University of Edinburgh resources, the power of worldwide member profiles for trend and market analysis, and improved learning analytics. As an organisation we can add our own learning content to LinkedIn such as guides, videos and links to University web pages and online resources for viewing by an internal audience. There is a new reporting dashboard providing more learning analytics and data on learner behaviour, including aggregated trend data from across the globe.

There’s no doubt that the resource has been a good investment in the staff and student experience at  University of Edinburgh.

“This type of resource is critical in underpinning a number of projects, both Digital Skills and Capabilities and Digital Scholarship.”

“I wanted to let you know how helpful I have found Lynda.com. I have not used SPSS for 20 years! So going back to do statistics has been daunting. The  SPSS videos have been brilliant and helped enormously with my thesis.”

“This year, in Residence Life as part of my annual training program, I made all 220 of our Resident Assistants sign up to Lynda and throughout the course of the year have assigned them all courses to complete; time management and developing your professional image as well as encouraging Line Managers to set annual review objectives relating to courses which has all been incredibly positive.”

You can keep up to date with our ‘Learning with Lynda.com at The University of Edinburgh’ e-newsletters. Six editions have been published, with over 5,000 views to date and our dedicated Lynda.com web pages at www.ed.ac.uk/is/lynda or follow @LyndaUoE on Twitter

See hear

A dragon from our University collections © The University of Edinburgh CC BY https://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/f9p45v

I have a long relationship with speech-to-text technology.

In 1998 we had a room in Student Services where students would go to talk to Dragon Dictate. The more they spoke, the less it understood, the more they would laugh, the more it would transcribe their laughing.  It was a very popular  service as a ‘pick-me-up’.

By 2012 I managed a large collection of contemporary educational oratory -the Oxford Podcasts collection, which includes some fine examples of inspirational rhetoric and clearly communicated ideas. Our interactions with voice recognition software, however, had been frustrating. During the project the team explored various solutions including both automatic translation and human transcription services. We began a project to explore how to best represent the content of our podcasts in text. By focusing on keywords generated by recognition software we were be able to give a searchable interface to users before they listen and represent the amount of relevant content within. Blog post April 2012

7 years later the challenge of making academic audio collections accessible continues to be one which is high in my mind as we roll out lecture recording across the campus at Edinburgh. We’ve been tailoring our Replay roll-out to support the university’s policy for Accessible and Inclusive Learning .

Some people have asked if we are going to have subtitles on our lecture recordings as default. The answer is no, but  we are exploring  creative ideas on how we could do it.

My experience is that automated speech to text although improving, is not fully there yet. And costs remain prohibitive, so transcripts or subtitles are not automated in the lecture recording system. Specialist language in lectures remain tricky and are often subtitled badly. It is also difficult for the transcription to discern whether the lecturer is quoting, reading, muttering or joking. The kind of ‘performance’ and content some of our colleagues deliver would need a highly nuanced translation. All UK HE struggles with this challenge and colleagues are anxious that their speech is not misrepresented by a poor quality subtitle which might be more confusing for learners. Blog post August 2017

The overarching objective of our new project for 2019  is to establish and evaluate an initial pilot Subtitles for Media service and make recommendations for future sustainability and resourcing.

The initial focus will be on designing and piloting a service which can scale and improve the usability/ accessibility of our front facing media content through the addition of subtitles and transcripts as appropriate. The service design will aim to include all users and will be primarily concerned with publicly available University media content hosted on Media Hopper Create, EdWeb or one of the University’s Virtual Learning Environments.

The project will have three strands:

  • Testing the feasibility, viability and cost of a student-led transcription service 

A 3-month pilot will allow us to understand what is needed to establish a sustainable programme of work to support our ambitions based on the outcomes of this pilot phase. The students will gain paid work experience and new digital skills. There is already a thriving market in the local region of students who offer proofreading, transcription, audio typing, subtitling and translation services in their spare time and from home. We will work with academic colleagues in the School of Sociology (Dr Karen Gregory) to research the emerging ‘gig economy’ to understand how best to establish an ethical model for piecework in this area.

  • Research and Development

The project will strike a balance between evaluating and costing a model for a growing service, and Research and Development to ensure we keep sight of technology trends in this area and understand how they might influence service development over time. We will run a series of events to engage with other organisations and our own technology leaders in this field to ensure we understand and are able to take advantage of technology developments and opportunities for funding or partnerships.

  • Improving digital skills and promoting culture change

We aim to move towards a culture where subtitling our media is standard practice at the point of creation, not only because of changing legislation but because it promotes engagement with our media for the benefit of our whole audience, and at the same time promotes digital literacy and digital skills.

In order to achieve all this, the Subtitling for Media Project will:-

  • Establish and evaluate an initial pilot service of a student-led subtitling service
  • Develop a costed plan for an ongoing service including support and service management
  • Make recommendations for future sustainability and resourcing
  • Ensure students are trained to deliver a pilot subtitling service
  • Create an ethical model for student piecework in this area
  • Deliver training and guidance to enable best practice in media creation
  • Develop an understanding of current and future technology to support accessibility and ensure our developing service remains in broad alignment

As part of the ISG vision for the University of Edinburgh we aim to support all digital educators in making informed choices about their digital materials. Through this project to establish a new service, staff and students will develop digital skills in creating and using accessible digital materials.   Benefits will include supporting staff and students to understand how and why to make learning materials accessible, and development of digital skills in support of wide scale engagement with digital education. The Subtitling for Media Project will establish and evaluate an initial pilot service and make recommendations for future sustainability and resourcing.