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A post by Ian Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Education at York St John University, I.Wilson@yorksj.ac.uk, @iwilsonysjSupporting with Podcasting (video blog)
I’m a great believer in pushing boundaries and trying new things. Being heavily interested in technology, the world of live streaming and YouTube content are areas which I am constantly engaging with. The possibilities to support learning with these is well documented – however, when I was deciding how I was going to keep in touch and support the students during their placement, I left my comfortable area of live streaming in favour of podcasting!
In the beginning
Being an avid blogger, I had often produced an audio version of my blog posts, although the actual podcasting arena was new to me. I wanted the podcasts to be useful, informative and provide some element of humour/being human. I wanted the students to recognise my own personality within the podcasts, as well as the content being beneficial. I also wanted them to sound good, because I was aware from my own personal engagement with podcasts, that if the quality was poor the engagement would probably reflect this.
Equipment and Content
I wasn’t sure whether I would be making future podcasts and I guess I could have just started with using a microphone that I already had, and the free software called Audacity. However, I always feel better about things if I have some decent equipment so I invested in a Rode microphone and the RodeCaster Pro . I was impressed by the quality of both of these and I must say, they made me feel quite professional and the quality of the recordings were good.
As for content, initially this was blank page, but after a few emails to the students and some thinking on my walk to work, I came up with some segments that would be included in each episode.
Every Friday, I managed to sit down with my Google Docs and write the script for the episode. Not being on camera would allow me to read from the script and also, I didn’t really want to spend too much time editing afterwards. It was definitely going to be a one take podcast!Image by Tumisu on Pixabay
Recorded and Published
After I had written the script, I would record the podcast and get it published. Following an early email from a student, it appeared that some of them listened to the podcast on their journey home, so I was always keen to have it up and ready for about 16:00.
The RodeCaster Pro, recorded well to audacity and, since the buttons on it allowed me to play my jingles as the show progressed (yes, I had jingles!). I did have to do some limited editing after recording, but this was usually just a matter of some noise reduction and tidying up the start and beginning.
I didn’t have a proper ‘logo’ or anything, so I just decided to use images of cute animals from pixabay.com to make them more visually more appealing. I already had an account with Audioboom from when I recorded my blog posts, so I quickly added a playlist and for the five-week duration.
Impact and Feedback
It is always important to look back over a pilot idea and assess how well it had gone. Even after the first episode had gone live, a few students emailed me to say thank you and to provide questions for the next episode. It was from these first emails that further sections were added to the schedule.
Overall, the feedback was positive. I acknowledge from the listening figures, that the number of people listening went down throughout the placement, but I was confident that the podcast was supporting some learners. One student informed me that they have stored all the teaching ideas for future placements, and that it was really beneficial to have the questions answered.
Initially, the podcast was never meant to have positive impacts on the students’ grades. If anything, the focus was on supporting them and their well-being while away from university. From the analytics and positive emails, it was felt that this was achieved.
I did wonder whether I should do a similar podcast for the first years while they were on placement, but time and energy didn’t really allow for this. I still have the equipment ready for my next go at podcasting and I have already started to work on an idea for the start of the next academic year. Will I do the podcast for placement next year? Well I think I will, if time allows, then yes, I will.
You never know, I do a lot of live streaming in my ‘other career’ so I might even start to have a go at that. One thing I will continue to do is engage with new technology in order to support the students, especially when they are working away from the university or learning at a distance.
You can find an example of Ian’s podcasts here: https://www.wilsonwaffling.co.uk/se2-podcasts-2019/
Ian Wilson – Senior Lecturer in Education
York St John University
I.Wilson@yorksj.ac.uk @iwilsonysj https://www.wilsonwaffling.co.uk/
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There have now been two webinars and recordings from both session are now aavilable:
There is an increasing move in higher education to blend university courses to include a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). This article reports on the learner experiences of such a course, which incorporated a purposely designed MOOC as part of the blend, to teach Haskell functional programming. A survey revealed that students most valued the programming exercises, quizzes and instructional videos, while the follow-up focus group highlighted the flexibility of the MOOC, usefulness of the videos, drop-in sessions and programming exercises. The overall mix of activities was regarded as particularly useful. While discussions were not rated as highly in the survey, students in the focus group commented on their value, particularly for getting support from external learners. The perceived lack of face-to-face contact was the biggest issue; however, this reflected a lack of awareness of lab sessions which could have been better signposted. There was perceived to be a gap between the MOOC and the rest of the course in terms of level of difficulty and authenticity of learning tasks. These issues were positively addressed in subsequent runs of the course. The outcomes of this study are relevant to educators seeking to incorporate MOOCs into blended courses.
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On the 11th of June I attended the NHS Health Education England special TEL event at Northumbria University. This is a community of practitioners, academics and learning technologists working in the NHS on how to use technology to improve the education of health care professionals. This was a special themed event on the uses of virtual, augmented and mixed reality systems and I was asked to attend to see what technologies and approaches could be beneficial for the University of Sunderland’s new Medical School.
The morning was given over to presentations from universities and NHS services on their current practice, and in the afternoon we got to have hands on experience with many of the systems discussed.
South Wales Fire and Rescue talked about how they are using CenarioVR to create 360 degree images and video which can have hotspot interactions added to them, the results of which can be viewed in modern web browsers or more immersive virtual reality solutions such as Google Cardboard or any simple VR unit which allows you to insert and use your phone to provide the screen and processing power. CenarioVR has the additional benefit of being able to output SCORM compliant content for integration with virtual learning environments.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service demonstrated a 360 degree video of the inside of an ambulance, developed by Richard Grice, which allows paramedic students to virtually explore and interact with the contents of an ambulance, which can be extensive and overwhelming for new students.
Leeds Institute of Medical Education demonstrated an augmented reality application and t-shirt from Curiscope which allows you to see internal organs and structures on top of an actual person.Using Curiscope on a tablet (Image courtesy of Sonya McChristie | CC-BY-NC)
They also talked about their TiME – Technology in Medical Education programme – which aims to give clinicians and academics the development time needed to get to grips with technological developments.
Finally, there was a demonstration of a new system from Inovus Medical who have developed a rather unique and impressive mixed / augmented reality system to enhance the experience of training surgeons to perform laparoscopic surgery. Their conventional training simulator (a see-through box with the laparoscopic tools going into it) has been enhanced with cameras and a computer which gives students a display of the contents of the box, overlaid with any computer-generated imagery you could want. So, for example, you can simulate what would happen should you accidentally cut a blood vessel and suddenly the area where you are operating is flooded with blood.Inovus mixed/augmented reality system (Image courtesy of Sonya McChristie | CC-BY-NC)
I was impressed. This is a genuinely innovative use of AR / MR with clear benefits, and one of the things which I will be feeding back to our Medical School for further exploration.
Some new things I got to experience for the first time Google Glass, which didn’t impress. The quality of the projected screen was okay for video, but it’s very small, and any highlights or annotations you add, take up a lot of the available viewing area; text is barely legible. A much more impressive AR system was Microsoft’s Hololens, but I was surprised and disappointed by how narrow the field of view was. Step out of the margins of what you need to focus on and the augmented image is gone. I also found the user interface to be very unintuitive – you have to wave your finger to simulate a mouse click. It was the first generation system I used, and I believe the second generation unit offers an improved field of view. Finally there was the Oculus Go, which is very similar to Google Cardboard and other systems which use your phone, except it has the screen and processor built in. That was good, very polished interface and comfortable hardware – a good mid-range virtual reality system.‘Key learning points’ (Image courtesy of Sonya McChristie | CC-BY-NC)
The full event agenda and copies of presentations, where available, have been published on the Health Education England website.
Sonya McChristie, University of Sunderland, Sonya.McChristie@sunderland.ac.uk. Mastodon: @email@example.com
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