Tag: teaching

leading institutions to change

I am delighted that we are able to host the Echo360 conference in Edinburgh next week.

I’ll be speaking at the conference about how important it is for leading institutions to change.

The implementation of lecture recording at University of Edinburgh was an innovative project to equip up to 400 teaching spaces and automate the recording of lectures at scale. The University has targeted an improved student digital experience by investing several million pounds in a state-of-the-art lecture recording system that has covered all the campus lecture rooms. Our approach is based on being widely flexible and enabling choices of formats and pedagogy.

The demand for lecture recording at University of Edinburgh was designed to in response to student feedback. The ability to watch lectures again as an aid to revision is immensely popular with our students already, video and audio recordings of lectures supplement the rich set of online resources that already exist to support learning.

The project was managed by a well co-ordinated team and delivered to a high quality specification, on time and in budget. The team demonstrated an outstanding commitment to delivering a high quality service for the institution. Over the last 12 months the team have successfully handled complex academic development, policy implementation and technical challenges with considerable skill and sensitivity. All throughout this time they retained a core focus on supporting an excellent student experience, championing accessibility and inclusive practices.  This work has opened up critical conversations that go beyond technology to discuss the value of lectures, the value of recordings and why we teach the way we teach and has been accompanied by evaluative research into the impact and value at institutional level.

The team has been particularly effective at incorporating research findings to continually improve the service and respond to the needs of users. As an organisation we learned a huge amount from the process: academic insight, student satisfaction, new research, communications strategies, technical know-how and a field-tested working model of how to complete a project of this size and ambition.

The Lecture Recording Project at Edinburgh University is one of the largest upgrades of AV technology in teaching rooms to take place in an educational institution anywhere in the world and it was done across an historical and rapidly expanding estate.  We now have the capability to record close to 100% of lecture activity within the institution. We   offer a consistent experience for all students and support our diverse student community. Many of our students have complex lives and are balancing study alongside caring responsibilities, or the need to work to fund their studies. Recordings of lectures can lessen anxiety about keeping on top of study, and provide a safety net when life circumstances prevail.

The team delivered transformational aspects of lecture recording by:

  • Supporting a programme of evaluation and engagement activities which has opened up critical conversations about the role of the lecture and why we teach the way we do.
  • Running a pro-active communications campaign around opting-out of lecture recording, to be sensitive to concerns raise by academic colleagues.
  • Working with course organisers and professional staff to develop highly usable scheduling software based on timetabling information, to automate the recording of lectures at scale.
  • Equipping 400 teaching spaces, including our innovative camera and recording solution for capturing chalkboards in Maths and Physics.
  • Improving the use of microphones in lecture theatres and increasing awareness of accessibility and inclusion issues.
  • Integrating the new lecture recording service with the University’s VLEs offering safe and secure access to recordings.
  • Training 40 student helpers across the campuses during the first week of teaching in each Semester to provide immediate advice on use of the recording equipment.
  • Offering comprehensive training programme to support academic colleagues to prepare teaching materials for lecture recording.
  • Delivering a system designed to be as user-friendly as possible and to have minimal impact on the presentation and delivery of lectures.

There are many proven benefits to making recordings of lectures available including supporting students for whom English is not a first language and ensuring that our face to face lectures are available in an alternative format for students who require it. Not having to take notes at speed allows students to focus more on what is being said and use valuable contact time to ask questions, knowing that notes can be reviewed and improved later.

This work at Edinburgh has had a wider impact across the sector, we have involved commercial partners, external advisors, learning technologists, academic developers AV specialists, trainers, researchers and staff and students from across all disciplines to deliver one of the most successful large scale roll-outs of learning technology across a large institution with a challenging physical estate.

2018/19 Academic Year: Recordings made/scheduled: 24,000, Student views (year to date): 528,000. Hours watched (year to date): 527,000

We gratefully acknowledge all the colleagues and practitioners in other institutions who have shared their practice with us. Much of our project has been built upon the lessons learned by others. We believe that by considering the widest possible range of technical, academic, policy, and social factors around lecture recording, we have achieved a model for lecture recording, and indeed other learning technology implementations that others could copy. A large part of our ethos has been to work as openly as we possibly can, sharing and reflecting on our practice. With that in mind we have tried to make as many of our guides, training materials, research, evaluation, processes and planning as possible available openly online for the benefit of the wider sector.

teaching matters

Cool graphic designed by our cool LTW graphic design service

Teaching Matters is the University of Edinburgh’s website, blog and podcast about learning and teaching, for sharing ideas and approaches to teaching, and for showcasing our successes, including academic  and professional colleagues who are leading the way in delivering brilliant teaching.

ISG’s LTW staff are regular contributors. Here is a selection of our writings:

Networking around technology and teaching – assessment and feedback

co-curricular teaching for digital skills

I’m very pleased to say we now have more than 10,000 lynda.com subscribers  at the University of Edinburgh. Digital skills are in considerable demand as we know from the news and are also key to the capability within the institution for staff to be effective in their roles.
There’s only a small team in LTW but we augment that with a pool of 50 tutors from across ISG. This makes it possible to offer a broad programme drawing from experts in particular packages and technology areas. Because of this we are one of the largest training providers on campus, and key to ensuring that the University delivers on one of the elements of the people strategy: to ensure that staff and students have the digital skills that they need.
For students, the digital skills programme is co-curricular – it runs alongside the formal curriculum delivered in schools, and for many people it is an important part of the student experience- they can learn additional skills alongside and to help them with the subjects they study.
For staff it is available to all as centrally provided staff development  and we offer specialist schemes such as 23Things and  CMALT for particular key groups of professional staff.
We deliver a wide range of teaching  and learning and development,  Jenni and her team have been doing a lot this year to map our training on to the JISC digital skills framework  and to bring all the various skill training across ISG into one comprehensive programme. They have also delivered a huge training programme for the rollout of lecture recording.
Jenni has also been making plans to expand the programme by bringing students as tutors  into the team and developing a job description for  part time student trainers. For those students the job will provide an opportunity to get real work experience and teaching practice. The digital skills programme could not run without the contribution that colleagues make- it is a contribution to the staff and student experience, and a contribution of ISG in terms of the excellent services we provide. It’s also an important professional and personal development activity.
Being a good teacher is a skill- not everyone can do it and not everyone should. But for those who are good at it and do enjoy it is an opportunity to learn your subject inside out- to understand users, to engage with learners and to develop confident communication skills. If you feel you have something to contribute to the ISG Digital Skills programme, let me know.

teachers do nothing in August

Picture taken by me in the street in Mons, Belgium. No rights reserved by me.
Picture taken by me in the street in Mons, Belgium. No rights reserved by me.

If you are an experienced teaching or training manager, and you do one thing this August, please make it looking at this job advert. We need you.

Head of Digital Skills & Training
University of Edinburgh £48,743 to £54,841 per annum (pay award pending)

Which digital skills do you think teachers, learners, researchers and managers need? What staff and student development programmes will give our organisation an edge?

We are looking for an experienced training or teaching manager to lead our Digital Skills Training Service. The University of Edinburgh is a centre of academic excellence, committed to the development of digital skills throughout the organisation. You will lead the service, directing and developing its team, strategy and contribution to the University’s digital skills and IT training offering. You will strive to promote best practice in the delivery of training services and meeting of user expectations.

With proven experience of running IT training services in a large and complex organisation, you will have a talent for designing engaging training programmes, and the management experience to deliver high quality services with planned budgets and resources.

This is a full time open ended position.

space and time

map400
http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/information-services/students/study-space/interactive-study-space-map

Blended learning is all about breaking free of the restraints of space and time. You can do it any time, any place, any pace.  Providing an technology enhanced campus is all about mastering space and time: what can you do in the space and when?

The  distinction between IT and AV is becoming increasingly blurred- it’s all digital now.  For many colleagues it is the technology context; the technology available in the teaching rooms,  which  influences their choice whether to use cameras, microphones, audio, video, images, visualisations, Google-earth fly throughs,  clips from movies, recorded TV programmes,  who-wants-to-be-a-millionaire-style voting, virtual worlds, touch screens, simulations, animations, infographics and datasets in their presentations.

For many colleagues it is their fear ( or prior experience)  that the technology will not work in the room which exacerbates the stress of presenting. For many colleagues it is a complete mystery as to why the local IT staff who support the presentation machine do not support the data projector too. This situation is not unique to Edinburgh.

The layout of the room (and the number of power sockets) shapes choices with regard to students using laptops, cameras and phones to create learning materials for themselves. The strength of the wireless broadband determines whether video can be watched, shared and downloaded by many students at the same time. The comfiness of the seats, the ability to come and go and the proximity to coffee influences whether student choose to remain in this place while they learn.

When colleagues are asked to show innovation in ‘front of house’ teaching it behooves the colleges and schools to invest well in technology enhanced space for an excellent student experience.

The Learning Spaces Technology Section team work to ensure that teachers  and students have the best possible, quality and consistent,  choices of technology in centrally managed classrooms and study spaces. Jim and his team ensure that equal access to learning is offered via hearing loops, large projection and recordings for revision or transcription.  When the festival comes they take our AV kit out, when the festival goes they put our AV kit back in. They turn around fast and they work to ensure that the kit will work when you poke it with your digit to turn it on. They will also train you how to use it.

If you are interested in knowing more about the kit in the classrooms, or having a practice to become confident in the digital skills needed to master it, do contact us.