LectureTools in use

Chris Szejnmann LectureToolsI’ve previously posted about LectureTools, an online alternative to electronic voting systems such as Turning Point which use dedicated ‘clickers’. We currently have a site licence for LectureTools on a trial basis. The company, spun out of the University of Michigan, is now owned by Echo360 which provides the hardware and software behind our ReVIEW lecture capture service.

There are now several academics actively using LectureTools, including Andy Bayley (School of Business and Enterprise) and Prof Chris Szejnmann (Politics, History and International Relations – pictured here). Chris was, with his colleague Dr Marcus Collins, one of the pioneers of lecture capture at Loughborough back in 2009, on the same ‘Modern Europe’ module where he has now started using LectureTools.

The system, which is now integrated into Learn (our Moodle installation), allows Chris to upload his lecture Powerpoint presentation, add question slides of various types, and link it to the module page on Learn.

Students bring their laptops and tablets into the lecture theatre, log into Learn, follow the link to the presentation, and can then respond to questions as and when appropriate – using their own devices rather than University-owned clickers. This is potentially more convenient for all concerned, but in addition it makes it possible to ask students to submit text responses. They can even indicate privately to the lecturer if they find a slide confusing. They can also make, save and print out their notes online next to the appropriate slide.

The feedback so far from Chris and Andy, and from students themselves, has been positive, although there have been one or two technical issues which we’d hope to iron out as we build up experience of using the system.

Chris’ comment to me after his first lecture (which I sat in on) was that “this is a gamechanger”. I agree – especially when it is integrated into the Echo360 lecture capture system, as the company are planning for next year. Students will then be able to view their notes after the lecture against the appropriate segment of the captured lecture.


ReVIEW usage doubles

Polymerisation Revision ReVIEW screenshotWe know that students want to see more use of the ReVIEW lecture capture system campus-wide – this message is coming back loud and clear from the LSU Executive and surveys such as the Facilities Management teaching and learning space survey back in May.

The demand is being reflected in increasing take-up by academic colleagues. So far this semester we’ve been capturing roughly double the quantity of lectures compared with the same period last year, and in fact IT Services colleagues have had to ‘beef up’ the processing power available to the back-end system in order to speed up the queue of captured lectures waiting to be processed.

A lecture capture working group is now being set up, comprising senior academic staff from across the campus, and this will be making recommendations on the next steps in the development of an institutional strategy in this area.

New lecture capture checklist for tutors

jisclegalAs the University considers a step-change in its strategy around lecture capture, the Jisc Legal service have very helpfully published a new checklist aimed at tutors covering the questions you consider around copyright and othe IPR issues before embarking on recording your lectures.

We’ll adapt this and build this into the support resources we give to academic colleagues.

ReVIEW reaches 2000 capture milestone

Celebration ClipartThree years after it was first piloted, our ReVIEW campus lecture capture service has reached the milestone of 2000 captured lectures on the system, equating to over 4000 hours of content.

My thanks go to colleagues in Teaching Support and IT Services for the great effort they have put into implementing and supporting this technically complex service. The fact that it is being adopted by an increasing number of presenters (from both academic departments and support services) is testament to the way this complexity is hidden from end-users, for whom the process of capturing, editing, publishing and viewing lectures (and other sessions) has been made as easy as possible.

Later in the summer we should be able to announce some significant additions to the features offered by ReVIEW, particularly around in-class engagement.


ReVIEW usage this semester

Jon Binner ReVIEW screenshot

The ReVIEW lecture capture installations and server have been whirring away trying to keep up with demand over the last few weeks. Since the start of the semester, 308 new sessions(mostly lectures) have been captured, and there has been very postive feedback from students in areas that have just started using the system, such as the Department of Materials who are using it to support distance learners on two MSc programmes.

One student commented: “The video tutorials are excellent and allows “us” distance learning students to be in the classroom from afar.”

Another student added: “The videos work well, it’s really nice to have that as well as the slides, I was a bit worried before I started that I would only have the slides to work from.  The way you have them set up as ‘scenes’ is really useful, I can easily go back and check something on one slide rather than having to try and remember the time in the video it was on.”

To enquire about using the system, please get in touch with review [at] lboro.ac.uk .

Recording student presentations using ReVIEW

Dave Elder-VassDr Dave Elder-Vass is a Lecturer in Sociology and a recent user of the ReVIEW automated lecture capture system. Here he describes his experiences and those of his students.

This semester I’ve been running a module for second and third year undergraduates in the social sciences called Debating Society. I say ‘running’ rather than ‘teaching’ because after the first couple of sessions the students have been doing virtually all the talking. Each week took the form of a debate between two teams of students on a controversial argument advanced in a prominent recent book.

As the students’ contributions to these debates were the prime focus of the assessment regime, I was concerned about how some provision could be made for reliability of marking. While I was doing the primary assessment on the basis of notes made in class, I was concerned about how to check my own recollections, about how my marks could be moderated by an internal moderator, and about how we could demonstrate the integrity of the process to our external examiner. The answer: record the students’ presentations. The e-Learning team and Teaching Support set it all up for me, and after that I only had to ‘top and tail’ the recordings so that only the student presentations were included.

Having done the first couple, though, I had a lightbulb moment: one of the most powerful ways for my students to learn how to present more effectively would be to look at these recordings themselves! A few clicks later, and the students could click on a link on LEARN and review their own performance. For anyone who has ever gone through this process, it’s a humbling experience: all those little faults you didn’t realise you had become glaringly apparent. And that, of course, is the first step towards correcting them. From student feedback, it’s clear that many of them have taken advantage of this opportunity, and indeed, from being an incidental opportunity, this has become the main use of these ReView recordings.

101 Uses for Lecture Capture: #57 Pre-Arrival Advice

Pre-Departure Advice for International Students - ReVIEW screenshot
As the availability of the ReVIEW automated lecture capture service increases to cover the whole campus, new applications are being found, by support services as well as academic colleagues.

The International Office have started to use ReVIEW (and the Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing service) in interesting ways, supporting their network of agents as well as prospective and pre-arrival students.

If you click on the screenshot, you can watch Caroline Wade giving some valuable advice to international students before they leave home for the airport.

The students can also access an iPhone / iPod / iPad friendly version of the same presentation at http://tinyurl.com/lboro-predeparture-mobile. Ideal for when students are en route to Loughborough!

Lecture capture at Loughborough in 2011/12

ReVIEW logoAfter a successful first full pilot year of operation, the ReVIEW automated lecture capture service will be back in 2011/12, underpinned as before by the Echo 360 system.

Last year over 500 ‘sessions’ were captured – not just lectures to students, but also inaugural lectures, staff development workshops, meetings, conferences, and a variety of other events. These sessions were captured in 10 ‘fixed’ lecture capture installations, and also using a mobile version of the system called ‘Personal Capture’. We’ve had almost uniformly postive feedback from users, with every respondent to a survey of registered presenters in early April indicating that they intended to continue using the service.

In 2011/12 we hope to have expanded availability, with scheduled (automated) lecture capture potentially available in every teaching room with a built-in PC. I’ll be posting again with an update on this in early August.

Academic colleagues wishing to have lectures captured in semester one should flag this up to their department / school administrator as part of the room booking / allocation process, specifying whether you would like the captures to be audio + computer or video + computer. Even if you cannot be accommodated in one of the teaching rooms with ‘fixed’ ReVIEW installations, we will do our best to meet your requirements using the software-only versions of ReVIEW / Echo 360.

For queries or ‘non-academic’ bookings, please contact review [at] lboro.ac.uk .