We are committed at the University of Leeds to providing an excellent, varied and inspirational learning and development experience for students. The opportunity for students to spend time with staff is an important part of that experience. However, staff time is also a very precious resource and so efforts should be made to ensure that the staff time allocated to be spent with students is used to enrich their learning experience to the greatest extent.
The advent of easy to use technologies that allow desktop recording and the recording of lectures provide an opportunity to present students with the material they would have previously been exposed to in a lecture, in a variety of online formats, at a time and place of their choosing. This then also offers the opportunity to take a new look at how best to use the time allocated to be spent with students.
Approaches that use self directed learning activities (reading, watching videos etc) to introduce new topics and information in advance of time spent with teaching staff are commonly referred to as the flipped or inverted classroom (Brame 2013).
There are a number of approaches that you can take to make the most of your class time with students:
- Provide pre-class materials such as podcasts, videos of lectures, reading materials etc.
- Encourage students to prepare in advance of class by setting assignments for delivery in class such as a quiz, presentation preparation or the submission of short written assignments. These can be assigned a small percentage of overall module marks.
- Design class activities that provide feedback on student progress. This feedback can be built into the activity outcomes, or delivered by an instructor and their peers.
- Set tasks that provide opportunities to apply theories and techniques presented online to complex demanding problems. These tasks can be tackled in small groups to encourage peer support and feedback.
- Aspire to communicate directly with students in small groups or as individuals, in particular providing personalised feedback and direction.
- With large numbers of students the use of mass participation technologies such as electronic voting can encourage engagement and facilitate feedback.
- Use group discussions, debates and presentations to encourage active communication and reflection.
How – Consider editing (if necessary) and reusing a recording of a previous lecture by making it available for students to view in the VLE. Add a short audio or text commentary to update the content as needed. Use activities in class to review and build on an understanding of the lecture content (e.g. a short quiz, student presentation on the topic etc).
Why – previously recorded lectures provide reusable resources ideal for self directed learning activities. Classroom activities can then focus on higher order tasks such as application, analysis and evaluation of the related subject matter.
Case study – Chris was able to use his time more efficiently, be more flexible and responsive to his student and explore student understanding by using previously recorded lectures.
- using class activities that check understanding of materials presented in the recorded lectures
How – use the Mediasite Desktop Recorder to record a narrated screen capture or a video presentation. Share this recording with your students via Minerva so they can view it before the related teaching session.
Why – recording at your desk provides a quick and easy method to develop a reusable teaching resource that can easily be shared with students.
Case study – James Pickering developed a series of ten short screencasts describing various complex structures of human anatomy. These are offered as the Access Anatomy podcast on iTunesU.
- planning your recording in advance by writing a script or series of points to cover
- keeping the video short and focused to help the viewer remain engaged
- make several recordings to practice your presentation techniques
How – gather appropriate existing resources into a structured set of activities to be completed prior to the scheduled class time. These resources can be discovered from a variety of sources e.g. iTunesU and HEA. Record a brief introduction to these activities at your desk using a webcam and make them available via Minerva.
Why – using a variety existing resources avoids the need to develop your own and also introduces the students to the skills required to draw on different resource types in the process of learning.
- using a variety of different resource types (e.g. journal articles, book chapters, blog posts, videos etc)
How – use an electronic voting system to present questions to the class and analyse their responses. An electronic voting system is available from Facilities Support Services (0113 343 5555) on request. The University is currently exploring an institutional mobile response system and a pilot will run from September 2018.
Why – electronic voting encourages engagement with subject matter and the responses demonstrate actual levels of understanding which can then be immediately addressed with appropriate feedback.
Case study – David Lewis used electronic voting to support his teaching in biomedical sciences.
- developing questions that explore common misunderstandings of the subject