Dr Jacco Thijssen from the Department of Economics used the Echo 360 Personal Capture* tool to expand on areas addressed in lectures in the Statistics 1 module for first year undergraduates. This allowed for more spontaneous and student-led activities in face to face sessions, as well as answering questions about more difficult concepts raised in the lecture which students could then refer to in their own time.
Keywords: video, lecture capture, teaching methods
*You can create recordings like these using Replay Panopto ‘At-Desk’ Recorder which replaced Echo 360 as the UoY’s video capture software in 2016.
Aims and Objectives
Statistics 1 is a core module in the Department of Economics with a large student cohort who come to the module from A level with a range of skills and experience in this subject. It is important that all students are supported to meet the learning outcomes which will underpin many subsequent areas of the curriculum. Large group teaching in lectures can be effective at providing an overview of the fundamental concepts and mathematical techniques required for this subject, but is not always sufficient to provide detailed explanations.
While this can be sufficient for the more adept or experienced students, additional support is often required by weaker students or those who are new to this area. It is also recognised that large group teaching approaches are not always appropriate for students to learn detailed mathematical processes. This initiative aimed to:
- Provide on demand support for students in key concepts and processes
- Expand on areas addressed in lectures, without using limited face to face time
- Allow for more spontaneity and student-led activities in face to face sessions
- Respond to areas of difficulty for students as highlighted in lectures
- Address perceptions of isolation in large group teaching through online “personal” contact with module tutors, while reducing reliance on direct e-mail contact to address common issues that can be anticipated
- Underpin later abstracted content with core understanding.
The initiative provided video “walkthrough” explanations and detailed demonstrations of core material which underpins learning through the module. Two types of video content were produced;
- Pre-recorded videos addressing the core weekly mathematical formulae and concepts. Students can access this material prior to lectures which will address briefly but also contextualise the material covered in the videos. Students are also able to access recordings after lectures to recap and get more detailed explanations than can be provided in class time.
- Videos produced in response to student requests and questions raised in lectures which cannot be addressed in detail in face to face time. These videos are often produced quickly after lecture sessions and made available to students as soon as possible while the lecture content and issues raised are still fresh.
In both instances students are encouraged to control how they access the videos, pausing, seeking to key parts and actively mirroring the teacher activity in the videos by working through the problems themselves.
Different production approaches were taken to producing the two types of video. Both approaches used were intended to be able to produce video content quickly with the minimum of technical barriers to save staff time and resource and enable the rapid production of video content in response to student requirements.
- Pre-recorded videos using the ‘At-Desk’ Recorder*, provided by the University’s Replay lecture capture service. This allowed recordings to be made using two webcams; one showing a pen and paper as the equation is developed, the other showing a talking-head of the lecturer. Recordings are published directly to the VLE and accessed by students through a common area along with other videos in this series. Videos can be viewed online, a rudimentary table of contents allows students to skip to key parts and student access and use can be tracked to inform the teacher which videos are viewed and which parts within them were accessed most frequently.
- Responsive videos using simple webcam recordings using software bundled with the webcam. The webcam records pen and paper only. Videos are saved and uploaded directly to the VLE and made available to students as links that allow them to download the videos and view locally.
Example ‘At-Desk’ capture (imported from old system; our new Replay allows HD quality).
- Impact on student performance was most noticeable amongst median performers with less impact on higher and lower performers (who generally either do not need or do not access the resources)
- Student engagement has been high, with 136 unique viewers (353 cumulative views) in the first week after launch. Following this initial peak, engagement has dipped but remains high. Engagement through the summer assessment period will be tracked to assess students’ use of resources for revision purposes
- Student feedback to this provision has been very positive, indicated in overall module evaluation
- This initiative has resulted in a noticeable drop off in “the same old questions” about core content in person and through e-mail
- Responsive follow up materials has both helped address areas of student concern and allows for more flexibility and freedom in face to face teaching on the understanding that detailed explanations will be provided later
- Student engagement in lectures has changed with less focus on detailed note taking, allowing students to actively engage with lecture content
- Statistics have been useful for highlighting the most popular content, indicating areas for future development
- This type of resource is most useful for “core underpinning” content, with less utility for higher levels of learning.
Transferable lessons learned
- Rapid video production approaches allow these teaching materials to be produced without significantly impacting on teacher workload
- Students respond well to authenticity of seeing pen and paper for maths equations rather than a digital simulation
- Allowing students to request additional materials increases engagement with the module as a whole
- Providing detailed explanation that expands on lecture content allows for more freedom and interactivity in face to face teaching.
- If you would like to set up a test area for screencasting or would like a demonstration prior to using these tools with students, please contact the ELDT.
- Find out more about the Replay service for ‘at-desk’ and lecture capture.
- Read our related blog posts:
- Flipped Classroom Design and Creating Video Resources.
- Software for creating screencasts (three recommendations).
- You can learn more about the topics discussed here in our TEL Handbook:
- Contact the E-Learning Development Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about using ‘at-desk’ capture or recording video content.
- Visit our Development Opportunities page to view upcoming webinars on a range of TEL topics and to access recordings of past ones.
- Follow us on Twitter for TEL-related news and tips.
Case Study last updated: November 2016.