Tag Archives: Audio

Chatting about eBooks, QR Codes, and Learning Technology with @zakmensah

Last week I was interviewed by Zak Mensah (@zakmensah) on the subject of eBooks, QR Codes, and the wider subject and community of Learning Technology.

Listen to Zak’s recording on his website or the embedded audio Soundcloud below:

Show notes:

Research in Learning Technology

Reading: “Students and recorded lectures: survey on current use and demands for higher education”

Research in Learning TechnologyI’ve been interested for quite a while now in the use of recorded ‘lectures’ (for want of a better word) in learning materials for distance learners. Do these kinds of recording help students ‘learn’? This paper, from the Research in Learning Technology journal should be of interest to anyone who is also looking into lecture capture.

The research that accompanies this is paper based on student surveys in two Universities in the Netherlands whose goal was to investigate and understand how the students used the recorded material (downloadable versions of the recordings were not available for consumption offline).

There is good data here from the students that ought to be considered by anyone contemplating the introduction of any system that would enable recording of lecture materials and it’s provision and supply to students. If anything, look at the data about why students did not watch or use them (figures from one of the participating University’s: Eindhoven University of Technology – TU/e):

  • Did not know they were available: 7.2%
  • Went to class (didn’t need the recording): 57%
  • Technical difficulties: 6.3%
  • Didn’t miss anything important enough to consider reviewing the recording: 21.7%
  • Didn’t have time for it: 19.3%
  • Do not like watching recorded lectures: 5.1%
  • Recording quality (which meant they must have tried it to know they didn’t want to watch it?): 6.5%
The paper acknowledges that the majority of the technical issues encountered (which is always an important consideration) were due to students accessing the resources off-site (home, work etc.) which is a shame as, for distance learners, this is an essential consideration. Perhaps this is a limitation of the specific systems or their implementation at these institutions rather than the general technology of ‘lecture capture’?

I do not agree with one aspect of the study though, that the students were given full-length (40-45 minute) recordings. While this may be the “most frequent” type of recordings (and easiest to capture)  it is not the most effective or comfortable way to watch a lecture. I prefer smaller chunks, typically 10-15 minutes (according to the topic/subject structure), that are more easily digested either sat in front of a PC or on a mobile  device (MP3 or other audiobook format). This is how I produced recorded material for the distance learning students at Bournemouth University and, where we only had the longer, fuller, recording, we received negative comments that were solely down to length of recording. Perhaps if they had not had or known the advantages of the shorter versions they would not have responded this way?

The full reference for the paper is:

GORISSEN, P., VAN BRUGGEN, J., JOCHEMS, W.. Students and recorded lectures: survey on current use and demands for higher education. Research in Learning Technology, North America, 20, sep. 2012. Available at: http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/17299. Date accessed: 11 Nov. 2012.

Top 5 Turnitin Features #eAssessment

Turnitin Comment
What are the ‘top 5′ features or functions of Turnitin? Do you agree with this list produced by the Learning Technologies blog? I have added my own little extra after a choice quote from the post, to highlight why I agree (or disagree) with it:

  1. Audio feedback – “This cheeky little addition to GradeMark has given us the ability to add up to 3 minutes … to assignment submissions in GradeMark, which students can then access via the GradeMark report.” What this gives us is the ability to record (and provided in written format as well – let’s keep thinking about accessibility here!) a three minute overview to the submitted assignment as a whole, whilst giving instructions to the student that they ought to re-read their assignment in connection with the overview and more detailed comments contained in the GradeMark report.
  2. Quickmark & general comments – “Turnitin has a standard set of QuickMarks in GradeMark that include: Awk(awkward), C/S(Comma splice), Citation (improper and needed) and P/V (Passive voice). There is also a ‘comment’ QuickMark which allows you to type in your own free text comment. All of these QuickMarks can be drag and dropped onto the student submission.” Not easy to try this out unless you have live submissions to play with but worth the effort it takes to create your own set of ‘common’ comments – create them and leave them open to change once placed in the students’ work so you can personalise with their name.
  3. PeerMark – “When you set up the Peermark assignment you decide what criteria students will use to perform their evaluation. The criteria can be created in the form of free response questions, Likert scales (1-5), or questions from libraries already in PeerMark (you can also create your own).” I have not heard of anyone using this and I think it is an overlooked part of the Turnitin package – enabling students to take a
  4. Rubrics – “Both Percentage and Custom Rubrics are interactive. This means that when you come to mark a piece of work in GradeMark your Rubric can be used to calculate and input the resulting grade.” Not something I have much experience of at the moment but everyone I speak to is really keen on using it so I know this will change.
  5. Blackboard (VLE) integration – “Grades posted in GradeMark will feed through to the Grade Centre automatically  in Blackboard.” There are many benefits to having Turnitin talk to your VLE and/or student management system but one of the more noticeable is the ability to have marks transferred quickly and automatically as well as links to the Originality Report and GradeMark comments. Comments I have heard so far name this as one of the biggest reasons students like Turnitin and GradeMark.

What would I have added to the list? I would have added the Originality Report (OR) – it’s still of huge use and beneficial when reading the students’ work (best looked at after you’ve read the work on it’s own first). If you decide to let the students see their own OR then be sure to provide adequate (and detailed) instructions on how they should read them – it’s not only about the percentage match but what each match is, why it’s been matched, and what the student can do to improve their work to (legitimately) reduce the matched ‘score’. Remember, help the students to help themselves.

Music or Audio for your Presentation

Fichier MP3 BoxWhile there are many websites you can go to for royalty free images, is there anything for those of us who might want to have some background music … say, if you’re creating a video presentation as opposed to a PowerPoint one?

Why, yes there is, and here are a few;

These websites offer downloadable, royalty free audio files (often MP3). Please check out each website and their respective T&Cs before using anything you download; you may breach their T&Cs without realising it – licenses for commercial or educational use may be different for each website.

What if you just want to play something in the background in the classroom? There are a few big players you can go to, the biggest are;

and one I found this afternoon;

If you have any other resources you’d like to share, please do so by leaving a comment below for others.