UCiSA – Beyond Lecture Capture event

On the 14th June Neil Davey – Teaching, Learning and Collaboration Spaces Team Manager, and I attended the UCiSA Beyond Lecture Capture event. This event focused on how lecture recording has impacted both student learning and enhanced their experience.

Session topics include:

  • Research on the student learning experience with lecture capture
  • Student feedback panel session
  • Analysis on usage of lecture recordings compared to grades
  • Moving from the traditional lecture to the flipped

Many of the talks expanded on what we have seen at Bristol and the supporting research –

  • Students love lecture capture
  • They use it primarily for revision and enhancing their notes
  • Audio quality is key
  • Good Data is paramount – students do not like lectures with no point of reference in the title
  • Incomplete coverage of rooms is frustrating for them
  • Impact on attendance is a concern of academics
  • Induction for students is needed at a point they are most receptive – ideally contextualised by academics rather than delivered in the abstract

I did hear a couple of things that surprised me, for example both the University of Sheffield and York had high percentages of students that watch the recordings all the way through circa 40%. How do we test what we think we know and what questions should we be asking of the data both quantitative and qualitative we have already gathered to see if our assumptions are correct.

While not an exhaustive list –

How many of our students watch the whole recording?

How are closed caption units used – does this differ from other recordings?

Is there a positive impact on student well being e.g. reduced anxiety when lectures are recorded?

How do we quantify any affect on attainment?



Mediasite European Summit

On the 26th May I attended the European user summit hosted by Leeds University and the Sonic Foundry Team. The conference provides Mediasite users a chance to talk to each other and hear from the Sonic Team on their plans for the product in the upcoming releases.

The day was kicked off by Neil Morris, Director of Digital Learning talking about the current developments at Leeds. For me the two interesting points he talked about where the launch of the first credit bearing MOOC on the Future Learn platform and the redesign of their teaching spaces to encourage digital learning and move away from the traditional Lecture theatre.

Sonic Foundry talked through their roadmap and the changing video landscape throughout the day – they covered a lot of ground and I feel the top five for me where –

  • Mediasite Catch – a software version of the capture solution designed to be deployed to presentation PCs extending the reach of Mediasite using the desktop audio rather than the room installation. This includes user interface improvements which will be rolled out to the Desktop Recorder. Hopefully we will get a look at the beta version later in the summer.
  • Media submission workflow – although in very early stages of development Sonic are working on a workflow that will allow students to submit work while retaining a copy for themselves.
  • Course level analytics – enhancement to the current analytic offering allowing instructors to look at a course as a whole rather than just individual recordings.
  • Changing video landscape – looking at the work Sonic developers do to horizon scan trends in online video streaming including the rise of mpeg dash to replace .mp4 as the web standard.
  • Auto Presentation management – (apologies this one may not appeal to all!) the ability to manage the content lifecycle automatically from surfacing content to recycling and deletion.

We also heard presentations from other institutions from around Europe on how they and their students use Mediasite – again my top picks where –

  • Student Production – allowing students to use the Desk Top Recorder and post to the institution public Showcase* channel.
  • Website feedback – using the desktop recorder to record users journeys through web pages.
  • Recording practice – a couple of examples for this one from a PGCE course recording trainee teachers for reflection and one from a Law course using the technology to record pleas.
  • Practical Physics – students recording themselves working through problems and talking through their thought process.
  • Laboratory sessions – students being provided with a no audio film and recording a voice over commentary.

I think the key theme running through these presentations is students want to be involved and not just passive consumers of media content.

Of course I should not forget Bristols own Lee Mills, Implementation Officer for the Mediasite project who co presented with Jim Bird, Application Support Specialist from Leeds University on their own experiences of implementing a large scale automated Lecture Capture project.



Lee in action.


*Showcase is the Mediasite public channel for Media content.

TeachMeet Bristol



On the 15th March, Martin and I where kindly invited by Subject Librarian Angela Joyce to attend and present at the South West Librarians TeachMeet. This event took place over one day and focussed on the sharing of practice amongst the library community on their teaching.

Angela had arranged a rich program of talks with each presenter only having 10 minutes which gave the day a great feel and pace. From a non Librarian perspective it was interesting to see the same themes weaving through the talks – pressure from increasing student numbers, how to engage with students, embedding information skills within the core curriculum and giving students the skills they need in a Digital age to name a few. From a TEL perspective it was amazing to see the innovative and creative use of Technology to address these problems.

We were treated to great uses of online tutorials, Media resources, Audience response systems, approaches to engaging students in a timely and coherent way and making the most out Lecture slots.

The openness and willingness to share ideas and practice amongst all of the attendees made for a very enjoyable day and real credit to Angela and her colleagues for a great event – Thank you again for inviting us!



i-Docs 2016

i-Docs_LOGO2Hosted by the Watershed and produced by the Digital Cultures Research Centre and UWE Bristol this conference is in its fourth iteration promoting dialogue around the fast developing world of interactive documentary.

Before moving on to why this is important for education a quick definition of what is an i-Doc would help those who are not familiar. Broadly an i-Doc is the documenting of a subject using interactive digital technology. This combination means that the audience becomes an agent, in that their interactions and/or contributions make the work unfold in a non-linear way and can include an element of gamification. (definition adapted from the about sections of the i-Docs webpages)

In addition to the Keynote speakers the symposium was divided in to three themes – Evolving Practice / Uses of Immersion / Tools for thought

Educational Applications –

While a large number of the projects where either made or curated by experienced film makers using tools that required a knowledge of editing and/or programming the applications of interactive media has great potential to transform teaching, student projects and research (both presentation of and data gathering).  Presenting interactive media, in particular video content, allows for teaching materials to become non linear and add an active experience for students. From embedding quizzes, branches to further resources or a completely non linear pathway from start to finish gives the students the options to engage with resources in the way that suits them and at a depth that their understanding of the subject requires.

For student and research projects the potential is greatest beyond the individual project in allowing collaborations between experts in their fields to work together, to design user interfaces and to present findings of others research. This practice again is not new to education and an increasing number of institutions are investing in areas of practice such as the Digital Humanities.

The projects below where presented at the event, not all would be achievable without considerable skills and or resource but, they present a great resource for thinking about what is possible. Due to the nature of some of the material in the projects a couple of them contain challenging content.

Projects –


1979 Iranian Revolution (Game Trailer)

Pirate Fishing (interactive Journalism – warning this is very addictive!)

WebDocs –

17,000 Islands  ( interactive documentary experiment, the audience, are invited to build new islands by stealing clips for your own film, using an innovative custom-built web video editor. As you steal their clips, the original film will be destroyed and the archipelago will gradually disintegrate, making way for a new living map.)

On Hamburger Square (multimedia documentary tour of down town Greensboro)

The Quipu Project (272,000 women and 21,000 men were sterilised in the 90’s in Peru. Thousands have claimed this happened without their consent, but until now they have been repeatedly silenced and denied justice.)

Copa Para Quem (interactive documentary looking at the negative affect of the world cup in Fortaleza, Northern Brazil)

Filming Revolution (A meta documentary of films created in Egypt since the revolution that invites you to explore defined pathways between films or create and share your own)

Virtual Reality –

Utopia 1.0 (Virtual Reality Project documenting the desertion of Second Life)

Tools –

Korsakow ( rule based editing tool)
Klynt (non Linear editing tool)

Media in Teaching – Student Media Projects


On the 20th January, the TEL&ED Team in collaboration with the School of Modern Languages (SML) ran the first in a monthly series of community of practice events, showcasing the different ways that Media* resources can be used as part of teaching and assessment. This first event focused on the work of Modern Languages and Medical Science in supporting and assessing student-produced films and media-rich teaching packages.

Prior to the main event, we were very lucky to have Nick Bartram (Modern Languages Learning Technologist and Centre Manager) give a tour of the facilities found within the Multimedia Centre. The centre is a purpose-built six-room facility for the school, including Teaching and Study Spaces, a Film Library, a Recording Studio and a Cinema.

The aim of the event was to highlight what students learn by producing media resources, how others at the institution are approaching this, and assessing the results.

Presentation number one was led by Gloria Visintini and David Perkins de Oliveira from SML; they talked about the projects within the school where students produce videos as an alternative to written work, and how the school has developed assessment criteria to mark their work. More information can be found on our case studies page.

The second pair of presenters was Dominic Alder, from the eLearning team in the Medical School, and Will Fotherby, a fourth year Medical Student. Dominic talked first about the Student Selected Components program and the summer project to create Media Rich Learning Materials (more information can be found on our case studies page). Will then talked through his project ‘Get exercise confident‘, covering how he approached the project, the support he had received from Jonathan Williams (his supervisor), Dominic, and friends, and the skills he had built up by completing the project.

*In this context we use “Media” to describe video or audio content used as part of a teaching and learning activity.



Technology and the social experience of learning.

On Wednesday 2nd December members of the TELED team attended an event at the Graduate School of Education – Technology and the social experience of learning. Led by Professor Charles Crook, Director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute and Professor of Education at The University of Nottingham. Charles is by trade a Psychologist and his research centres around the role that technology plays in teaching and learning.

The main part of Charles talk centred around central practices in the Educational Landscape – all based on the way technology can mediate exchanges between people.

– Conversations – Collaborations using technology
– Assessment – As a social business and what role technology plays
– Exposition – Presenting as a social experience
– Congregating – gathering of people where knowledge can be generated

Finally the Darkside – not something I will touch on here but Charles views on this can be found in this article –  Cheating with essay mills: an extension of students asking each other for help? (link accessed 8/12/2o15)

Charles discourse on the main themes centred around an aspect that is core to the approach taken by the TELED Team in that technology should be used to support Education and not for the sake of using it. There is a fine line between providing students with all the information they need and the sparks to allow them to research and discover for themselves.

Charles highlighted two cautionary aspects of the Education Landscape where technology has had an impact, the Assessment Cycle and the Lecture. He warned about the over technological approach to the assessment of written work weakening the link between the student as author and the Lecturer as marker. While I do not think this is a new idea the increased role of technology while increasing efficiency on one hand which is wanted by students could be impacting the close relationship with the Tutor.

He also highlighted the presence of technology in the Lecture theatre as marginalising the teacher where they become a side note to a series of bullet points on an enormous display.

I found Charles talk very thought provoking and gave me a good nudge towards a more questioning approach to using technology and refocussed my mind to thinking Education and Pedagogy first and technology second.


Pervasive Media Studios

The studios are a collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and West of England managed by the Watershed. Walking in to the studio in the loft space of the Watershed you are instantly struck by what an amazing space they occupy. The studio is a community centred around technology consisting of artists, academics, creative companies and technologists.

Working in the studio comes with an ethos and I think this is the one that should be taken on much more widely (and having a making corner!). Everyone working there is interuptable (professionally speaking) to help and answer questions from the community and in return you can ask the questions you have in mind. This simple measure changes an environment which could be very introspective in to one that encourages inquisitive creative learning.

Each Friday afternoon as an extension to the lunch time talks the studio is ‘open’ to visitors to come and chat and share ideas and experiences. The afternoon starts with a short tour of the studio which involves lots of interruptions of the people working there at the time. From Dancing cranes to neurogastronomy experiences an hour felt like we had only scratched the surface of the work being undertaken there.

The most interesting project for me was an app which allows users to synchronise filming from a number of mobile phones using one phone to rule them all. This app has been used on a project funded by the Arts Council and led by the University of Lincoln to mark the anniversary of the Magna Carter called Time for Rights.