Alternatives to Lecture Capture: Developing Curated ‘Micro’ Video Lectures.


Summary

Dr Harry Venables is a Senior Lecturer in Maths and Statistics from The York Management School. Harry has been using the Panopto At-Desk Recorder to develop curated video resources for the Second Year Undergraduate module Advanced Quantitative Methods, and the Postgraduate module Quantitative Methods and Data Analysis.

Keywords: Flipped Classroom, Video, Blended Learning,

Aims and Objectives

Harry’s journey began when he considered ways in which he could liberate more of his class time. Harry’s teaching involved practical usage of the IBM SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software, but he found that he was frequently repeating himself in regards to explaining basic software functionality. Harry identified that if students failed to grasp the basic functionality of the software, then they may struggle with threshold concepts, and that this could pose a risk to their progression. Furthermore, he identified the additional risk to his own teaching, in that such knowledge shortfalls would need be addressed later on, which would further eat away at contact time that he had already allocated for core course delivery.

In addition, with respect to his Postgraduate Module – which contained a number of students who spoke English as a second language, he identified that to adequately support learners who may need more time to digest his explanations, it would be beneficial to explore the provision of an on-demand solution that allowed for repeated, self-paced reenactment. As such, Harry began to develop on-demand instructional videos for his students that addressed the most common problems that they were experiencing.

Overview

Micro Video Lecture, York Management School

Micro Video Lecture, York Management School

Video can be considered to be an expressive medium, which can be powerful at communicating practical demonstrations and bringing content ‘to life’. In addition, when looking to strike a continuum between face-to-face and online learning in a blended course, curated audio narration can be an effective means of capturing an educator’s presentation style. With specific regards to Harry’s software demonstrations, for the purposes of remaining consistent with in-class explanations, recordings of his voice would serve to add an element of personalisation to help familiarise non-native English speakers with his spoken delivery.

Whilst Harry began by developing instructional video for his software demonstrations, over time, he began to consider ways in which the approach could be extended. As such, his video production then evolved to cover more theoretical syllabus content.

Methodology

Harry used the Panopto At-Desk Recorder to create his Screencast videos. He found that the software was readily accessible and easy to use, and allowed him to record videos directly from his laptop. All videos were recorded using an inexpensive headset microphone at his home, as he required a recording environment that was relatively free of background noise and distractions.

Whilst remaining aware of ‘cognitive load’ when making lengthy recordings, Harry did not impose specific time limits upon himself when developing videos, but instead attempted to break down the content of each lecture into key components, resulting in ‘mini lectures’. These small videos were then published to his students via VLE. Due to the number of videos being recorded, Harry was mindful about not wanting to overwhelm his students, and thus looked to signpost recordings and avoid presenting lists of back-to-back videos. To achieve this, instead of directing the students towards a media repository or a list of recordings, videos were presented within ‘packages’ to represent each lecture. Videos were embedded within VLE ‘Content Areas’ and interleaved with written instructions, supplementary material, and points of reference.

This approach represents one alternative to Lecture Capture.

When first publishing video content, Harry consulted statistics tracking tools within Panopto in order to track engagement. Over time, however, as his practice developed, he began to place more emphasis on the nature of the interactions that he had with students as a means of gleaning whether videos had been watched, and, crucially, understood. Where student questions referred to material that had been covered in one of his videos, Harry would either signpost them towards the content – had they yet to engage with it – or reflect on the content, to consider if his explanations were lacking or incomplete.

Reflections

  • Having reflected on the intervention, Harry now plans to move towards using his videos to facilitate the flipped classroom
  • Harry felt that the student feedback to the intervention was ‘generally pretty good’ – noting that a Student/Staff Committee surfaced one particularly glowing remark, that it was ‘one of the best-supported modules that he’d ever taken.’
  • Harry acknowledged that the time required to become fluent with the recording software, and the heavy ‘front-ending’ involved in creating content, may be considered to be drawbacks for new adopters.
  • On the other hand, Harry felt that as his fluency with developing videos grew, the time impact lessened
  • Harry recognised that the intervention may not have resulted in a time-saving (as far as he was concerned) within the first year, but will pay dividends for future occurrences, where his recordings will be ‘bottled’ resource, which can be front loaded.

Transferable lessons learned

  • Design of video content, basic recording techniques, developing fluency with creating screencasts
  • Considering his one’s own teaching more holistically by breaking lectures down into smaller concepts

Next steps

Case Study last updated: June 2018.