ALT Module

ALT Presentation Day.

Just completed my ALT presentation and was generally happy with the way things went. Watching other participant’s presentations also helped to reveal things that I feel that I may have missed and must not miss should I present this project again. The slides can be found here: Below I have produced a checklist to build into the remainder of my project in the run-up to hand-in.

Extract quantitative data from Blackboard, though I fear Blackboard has a problem giving reliable data.

Emphasise how many students did the questionnaire and discuss the first questions to set scene. For instance of the 20 respondants 17 said they had watched the movies.

A panel member asked how much extra work is created by using these movie captures. The answer is 10 minutes to set up the technology to capture the full lecture then 30 minutes to capture the key concepts post lecture. So a total of 40 minutes.

A panel member asked do I foresee them being used the year after the answer is yes this will free up time to create movies addressing other skills sets.

Explain my area of teaching and that I teach 3D computer modelling which is challenging software to learn.

My presentation challenged some current research that appears to promote the use of full lecture capture being a success. I feel this is because Universities have invested  large amounts of money in technology and training of staff. I feel and some research indicates that full lecture capture doesn’t work very well and Universities should not invest. A panel member agreed with this.

Emphasise my test with smart phones so students can watch on the go.

Would have been nice to explain the technology I used some more and show a sample of the outputs. Could I run an example if time?

I also must ask myself the question, Is there any evidence to suggest that my process actually worked. This at the moment appears difficult to do.

Adding Questions and discussion to Lecture+.

Yesterday I attended the University of Salford’s  2nd lecture of their master-class series by Michael Kerrison who is the Director of Academic Development for International programmes  at The University of London.  His session entitled “Developing flexible learning and setting the University compass. A case of knowing your products; your markets; your customers and your pedagogy” indicated to the staff at the University the strategic direction and considerations that are needed to create a successful International Flexible series of courses. I summarise some of the things I have taken from his excellent presentation. The UKs greatest serving markets were from that of the commonwealth with Nigeria being one of the biggest users of UK courses whilst burgeoning nations such as India, China and Brazil are proving difficult to create without working with partners to help with the cultural and language barriers but working with these partners creates a whole new set of problems. A UK institution who have successfully created partnerships are University of Nottingham and Ningbo University in China. Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh and The University of London are also active players. Access to reliable broadband is still a major problem to some of their key markets such as Sub-Saharan Africa so from a logistical standpoint student’s have choices of how the interact with the courses. They can do it remotely online and/or use locally staffed locations to meet with tutors that speak the language and understand the cultural issues they can also use physical books if their broadband connection is not sufficient. They could also do it at the University of course. So there are multiple models of delivery from traditional to online. The presentation concentrated on some fascinating figures of the rising popularity of flexible courses around the world and also how the leaders in online Mooc’s such as Coursera and Khan academy are now beginning to tie up deals with University’s such as the recent news story between Heriot Watt and Cousera, University’s are using these tie-ups to act as a promotion for their University courses as the Mooc’s are traditionally only short 10 weeks blocks which the University’s will then hope that the students on the Mooc’s will sign up for the full degree. More interestingly to my project, when Michael was talking about the forms of delivery he mentioned that they discovered that 50 minute lectures just didn’t work for the tutors and ten minute lectures exploring key concepts worked much better. He added that the tutors encourage a network of questioning and discussion through forums and the like. This is surely my next step could I create an atmosphere of questions and discussions through Blackboard, or on the Vimeo site where the short movies are located. CouId we use a twitter hashtag? Food for thought!

The Rise of the Mini-Lecture

The further I progress my ALT journey. I realise there seems to be reducing reasons to keep capturing full length lectures. Research seems undecided in its analysis as to whether it is successful or not, some of my previous blog posts have discussed both sides of the story.  A conclusion that keeps surfacing is that students lose interest quickly and can’t be bothered watching the full length! My own investigations into lecture capture seem to be confirming this lack of engagement. My changing scope for the project now has me posing questions of what are the ingredients needed to make such material of use to more students.  I have begun to create short (10mins) key concept movies which aim to keep the learners attention. Young (2008) writes about a Professor, Dalton Kehoe who says “I had to sit to down and look at these lectures and realize that when you’re looking at someone online as a talking head and shoulders in video, you just want to kill yourself after about 20 minutes,” he says with a laugh. Mr Kehoe also suggests that this realisation has changed his practice and he even breaks up his face to face classroom activities into 15 minute slots punctuated with 3 minute breaks. In that three minutes he plays comedy clips from you tube in which he includes the students in the selection process. “when they move back to listening to me, they’re concentrating in a way they weren’t before”.  The students call it the laugh break. Young (2008) continues with an opposing opinion of Marian C. Diamond who worries that everybody is trying to simplify education.  There is a part of me that agrees with this, arguable students should have the discipline and attention span to sit through longer lectures. Though I do feel there is a happy medium somewhere in between. My worst lecture nightmare would be sitting through a lecture on something like government health and safety legislation and I think I would drift if the deliverer was monotone and uninteresting in delivery, at this point I would be crying out for some sort of innovative, creative, and fun input into the session and certainly a break now and then.  Educators should be self-critical enough of oneself and ones subject to be able to make valued judgement on the level of successful engagement and level of educational quality of their session then make necessary and informed adjustments. Or is this up to higher management to watch us more closely then respond accordingly, this could be highly contentious as this is what happens in the UK school system and appears to make teachers unhappy to have to pander to all the stringent restrictions that are enforced from above arguable obstruct creativity and personal judgement.

Young, J. (2008) Short and Sweet: Technology Shrinks the Lecture, The Chronicle of Higher Education. [See on-line version:   last accessed 10 November 2012]

Digital Inclusion

This week we had an ALT session on Digital Inclusion and how this is an important consideration when designing learning material. Discussions developed around the themes of financial and cultural restrictions of students as well as disabilities which restrict access to learning material. This got me thinking about how the introduction of a webcam image to my short key concept movies could actually enhance the experience for deaf students using lip reading, is this possible or is it a naive thought. Seeing a talking head of me on the session may prove off putting to the task for good of hearing students but this does offer a choice. I would though need to be more static in my presentation and clear in my speech. We also looked at some national figures to do with internet access for the UK population and there were some surprising results, 70% of people in social housing do not have access online. This therefore has to be considered when expecting students to access learning remotely. This has got me thinking a the proliferation of smartphone ownership within the population, a quick internet search suggest that within 18 months 90% of all mobile users will have no choice  but to own smartphones ( another search suggests that in May 2012, 50% of 16-24 year olds own a smart phone ( I hope these figures would suggest that the students I teach at the University of Salford either have home internet access or mobile access, but that is not known for sure. This web link will help me do this but it does not seem to work as I wish ( So below I have captured a video clip of a smartphone.

In my Friday session this week I asked the students who had smartphones. Six students out of thirty did not own a smartphone and relied on older phones. That represents about 20% non ownership for my class of 18-22 year olds.

This weeks session re-enforces the importance of educators considering there users financial and cultural restrictions and this is something I hope I pride myself in doing.

Mugshot addition into Screen-cast

In my Screen-casts this week I have introduced an active mugshot of me speaking through the session. This addition is an attempt to make the Screen-casts and lecture capture less robotic to the viewer and add a touch of personality. I wonder if the students will like the addition or just get sick of me:). A link can be found here: ( I also wish to express my thanks to my ex-colleague David Wingate for his help in creating this session.


Review of technology being used for Lecture Capture +.

Prior to the ALT Project I ambitiously concocted a set of technological ingredients which I would need to work together if the project was to set off in the right direction. Blackboard Collaborate would be central but used in a slightly different way. Collaborate would be used as a means to record my teaching sessions then be available for the students to watch again via a link to the session on Blackboard. The screen capture feature in Collaborate would capture desktop movements during the session. A Logitech C525 ( webcam would capture the visual aspects of the presenter (me) both close up facial expressions and wider field body language. A Plantronics Voyager Pro HD Bluetooth headset ( to wirelessly transmit voice capture ensuring a freedom to roam. And a laptop. To my amazement when these technologies were brought together they functioned very well and so I went ahead and began to lecture capture full sessions that I was conducting with Level 4 Product Design students. An example of one of these sessions can be found here and they are of about 2 hours in length. Java must be installed to view this.

As the project progresses there is a developing need to question the effectiveness of full session lecture capture. This has prompted me to experiment with shorter ‘threshold concept’ movies that are on average ten minutes long, I have hosted these on Vimeo and the learners can link from Blackboard. An example can be found here, This particular example uses a free web software called Screencastomatic which allows 15 minute screen captures to be recorded.

I have also conducted a number of sketch sessions which I again have condensed into a shorter movie these were conducted using a Flip HD video camera mounted on a tripod then the files compressed and uploaded to vimeo, an example can be viewed here,


More thoughts on Lecture Capture +

As I continue to think and read around the subject of Lecture Capture and Augmentation I continue to explore current pro’s and con’s and the future benefits. Some research suggests that when students are confident that their lecture will be digitally captured they can relax in the actual physical lecture and absorb it without minor disruptions such as note-taking as they are confident that by reviewing the digital copy after they can then take notes at a slower pace safe in the knowledge that they can pause and rewind the digitally captured lecture at any time according to Dickson et al (cited in Purcel and Hong-Ning, 2011:5) and Owston et al (2011). However this positivity toward lecture capture conflicts with the opinion of Smithers (2011), in his blog where he suggests that digital duplicates of a lecture don’t enhance the students educational experience and money should not be wasted by institutions. In addition, as traditional lectures are usually of long length as to fit in with timetabling constraints of the buildings they are conducted in and these traditional lecture habits should not permeate into digital lecture capture with there excessive length. He also suggest that shorter flexible recordings would provide richer content including screen captures as these are less passive and more engaging and would fit in more with the students lifestyle patterns. I feel it could also be added that a traditional lecture is expected to be of a long length by both students and staff due to our preconceived and mental expectation of what a traditional lecture is. I think the word flexible is important here as this suggests an opportunity to make the material suit an individuals educational needs and not a one size fits all model which is currently being pursued.

The above suggests that students are impatient with long lectures and wish to efficiently extract the threshold concepts of the lecture that they feel they may have missed, this would suggest a benefit of shorter movies, capturing the threshold concepts with a hope of them using on home and mobile devices on the move. Threshold concepts was a term first used by Meyer and Land (2003) and is best described as ‘something distinct within what university teachers would typically describe as ‘core concepts’’.

I feel at this stage it is in the projects interest to cover both bases by supplying a full recording of the lecture (which only minimally adds to current workload) and also a shorter key concepts which adds 30 minutes preparation time. I also wish to pursue the idea of moving up the Bloom’s Taxonomy triangle by exploring flexibiltiy of digital content. A comment to my previous post from Rebecca Jackson suggested my recordings could be used as an Open Educational Resource (OER), I think this is something I should consider. I suppose my material to date has been ‘open’ as lots has been posted to Vimeo for all to see but only a few have been viewed by outside people. As I increase in personal confidence, my digital content and my digital networking expands I feel I will need to consider that my material maybe increasing recognised as an open resourse. Barba (2012) suggests that as digital material becomes ‘open’ it enriches the experience of the on-campus students due to increased participation in the on-line forum. Barba (2012) also advocates the use of the ‘flipped classroom’ when using digital screencast’s as part of the learning experience.

Barba, L. A. (2012) Open Education, Flipped Instruction & Social Learning, NEA, FOEE Symposium Application 2012, Boston University. [On-line at:]

Meyer, J.H.F. & Land, R. (2003) Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: linkages to ways of thinking and practising, ETL Project Universities of Edinburgh, Coventry, and Durham 2003. [See also for an on-line version: Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses, ETL Project, Occasional Report 4, May 2003   last accessed 25 October 2012]

Owston, R., Lupshenyuk, D., & Widemann, H. (2011) Lecture Capture in Large Undergraduate Classes: What is the Impact on the Teaching and Learning Environment? Institute for Research on Learning Technologies, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Pursel, B. & Hong-Ning, F. (2011) Lecture Capture: Current Research and Future Directions, The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. [See also for an on-line version:    last accessed 25 October 2012]

Smithers, M. (2011) ‘Is lecture capture the worst educational technology. Learning and Educational Technology in Higher Education [Blog] [accessed 27 October 2012]

Lecture Capture +. (Project Post)

Prior to the beginning of the ALT module I was organised, energised and ready for what the module had in store. Sadly in the early weeks of the module my Father passed away and so it took my organisation, energy and readiness and mashed it up quite substantially. I now ready myself for the remainder of the project with a view to making it a success. My project area of ‘Lecture Capture’ is one that I have explored for a number of years. After the hurdles of getting the technology to work in a productive way I then found that from a pedagogic standpoint that the long lecture captures were of little use and few if any students used them as part of their educational journey. So I now ask the question, How much pedagogic value does straight lecture capture give the educator and the learner?. Owston, Lupshenyuk & Wideman (2011) discuss the issue of whether an institution is wise to invest in technology, training and support of its staff to provide this facility. They conclude that low achievers are more likely to interact and benefit from this facility whilst high achievers tend to fast forward and view certain sections only once and therefore is likely to benefit low achievers more.  Also in Stasko and Caron (2010), cited in Purcel and Hong-Ning (2011), the average time spent by a student watching a recorded lecture is 4 minutes. I sense there is more we can do to enhance the online offer to students to make educators material more engaging. I recently took part in a webinar as part of a JISC funded project REC:all, The Pedagogy Framework ( Young (2012) uses Bloom’s Taxonomy to describe how as educators we can progress up the Taxonomy triangle to words such as apply, analyse, evaluate and create rather than just playing around at the bottom of the triangle by remembering and understanding which is what simple lecture capture is actually doing. Young (2012) also says ‘The project is looking towards how we can exploit lecture capture to see if we can think more deeply about pedagogical issues and practices we can adopt using these systems’ this is further communicated by the use of the word ‘augmenting’ which means make something greater by adding to it.

Owston, R., Lupshenyuk, D., & Widemann, H. (2011) Lecture Capture in Large Undergraduate Classes: What is the Impact on the Teaching and Learning Environment? Institute for Research on Learning Technologies, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Moes, S., Young, C. (2012) The Pedagogy Framework.

Pursel, B. & Hong-Ning, F. (2011) Lecture Capture: Current Research and Future Directions, The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. [See also for an on-line version:    last accessed 25 October 2012]

Ready for ALT!

Just about to begin the Application of Learning Technologies (ALT) module here at the University of Salford and am about to set out on my first task. Since completeing my first teaching module I have become interested in the use of technology with teaching and learning within the Higher Educational environment. My main learning goal is to explore the capturing of teaching activities through video and other technical means that will make the generated material engaging and immersive beyond that of simply capturing and publishing the lecture material, as I have previously explored ( Areas of ‘flipping the classroom’ and analysis of other possible technologies which could mesh with video will have to be researched. I recently took part in a webinar titled “The Pedagogy Framework” held on 4 september last week ( which is acting as a catalyst for my area stated above.  I hope to post my opinions and thoughts on the webinar soon.


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