I was invited by Simon Ball from JISC TechDis to present our HEAT 3 project (YouTestTube.com) at the Higher Education Academy Conference in Manchester in July 2009. This entailed a brief oral presentation at the JISC TechDis stand at the exhibition during one of the refreshment breaks and a poster presentation during a session entitled “The curriculum crunch: meeting strategic challenges and supporting practitioners through innovative solutions.”
This particular session drew together a number of projects form the JISC TechDis HEAT scheme and the Academy/JISC Collaboration and the Curriculium Design and Delivery programme. It was organised in such a manner as to give project holders opportunity to present their poster to small groups of participants. The format was excellent allowing for discussion with interested colleagues. The organisation of the event also allowed presenters themselves attend other presentations so no-one missed out.
During my poster presentation (please see below) I outlined our reflective video sharing project for year one chemistry laboratory classes, YouTestTube.com. JISC TechDIS HEAT3 supplied video cameras and a laptop for this project which was trialled for the first time in the 2008/09 academic year.
The main questions that arose at the session were:
Q. Will you be rolling out this idea across other modules?
A. We hope to do so. The technology is now in place and we hope that with internal dissemination there may be other colleagues who wish to avail of the site.
Q. Are there any “how to” guides either written or in video?
A. Not at the present time. We hope as part of the dissemination to provide a short overview video of the project that may include screenshots etc.
Q. Will you model the reflection next year?
A. We are looking into the possibility of using last year’s videos as guides for next year’s cohorts. This would direct new students in how to complete the practical and the type of reflection expected.
Q. Are you encouraging students to use their own mobile technologies?
A. Yes. We identified one weakness of the project as being the lack of available cameras. However, as many mobile phones now have relatively good quality video cameras this may be explored as a way forward.
Q. Do you know what students’ prior knowledge / skills in video editing are? They could teach each other / tutors!
A. We plan next academic year to give students greater ownership of their video material and to allow them to do some editing if they wish. It is possible that they could engage in some peer learning if accomplished video editors were present in the group.
Q. How easy is [the software to create the site] to use?
A. There are a number of ways that the video sharing aspect of a project like this could be carried out. It may be possible for low numbers of students to create a private group on You Tube and to therefore avail of an existing video sharing site.
There are also various “You Tube clone” scripts available on the web. Two of these are phpmotion and Vidiscript and both are available free of charge for the most basic package. In our project we used the latter, however we also plan to fully evaluate phpmotion as it seems to have some advantages. Installation of the script required the skills of a computing officer and also required some space on a webserver hosted within the University. This should be borne in mind when planning projects.
One other option, again for low numbers of students would be to post videos on the module website on the Institution VLE.
The HEAT3 projects are all listed on the JISC TechDis website.
The presentations as part of the HEAT3 scheme were excellent and showed the impact that could be made on the learning environment with relatively small amounts of money (average funding per project was £1250).
There were various other highlights throughout the rest of the conference and overall the event was very useful. Colleagues who had attended previous Annual Conferences noted that there were fewer academics in attendance this year. This is something that should be remedied in future years so that those closest to the interface with the student body can make the greatest impact.