Screen Captured Video Feedback to Enhance Engagement with Laboratory Practical Work #HEASTEM14

I recently took part in the Higher Education Academy STEM conference on 30th April 2014 in Edinburgh. Here is a screencast of the Pecha Kucha presentation I have on the day on screencast video feedback to students.

Printing PDF Documents: More Than One Page Per Sheet!

I was recently asked about how to print an A4 PDF document so that there are multiple pages on one sheet.  This reduces the amount of paper required.  The embedded video below shows how this is done.  Another tip to make life easy!

Event: Student Engagement, Flexible Learning and Attendance

Student Engagement, Flexible Learning and Attendance

Date: 8 Mar 2013

Start Time: 10:00 am

Location/venue: Room 8K14 (Boardroom) Jordanstown Campus University of Ulster

This event is being hosted as part of the Higher Education Academy’s Workshop and Seminar Series 2012/2013
The use of information and communication technologies is increasingly adapted to support flexible learning in Higher Education institutions. The adaptation of more sophisticated technologies offers a broad range of facilities for communication and resource sharing, thereby creating a flexible learning environment that facilitates and even encourages students not to physically attend classes. However this emerging trend seems to contradict class attendance requirements within Universities, inevitably leading to a dilemma between amending traditional regulations and creating new policies for the higher education institutions.

This workshop will bring together educators, researchers and practitioners from the academic society to present the latest advances on technology enhanced learning and new methodologies of measuring student engagement in a technology enhanced learning environment.

It provides participants with a forum to discuss the impact of new technologies on flexible learning and debate the major issues arising from linking flexible learning with class attendance and attainments.
The workshop will contribute to understanding the impact of flexible leaning on attendance and attainments and provide quantitative evidence for determining regulation amendment and development of new policies in addition to addressing practical challenges in the wider deployment of new technology to support flexible learning.

There is no charge to attend the seminar, but a place must be reserved.

To Register please email

30 places available on first-come, first-served basis.

Full details on the HEA Website. The text above is taken directly from the website linked above.

Provision programme is available here.

Changing the Learning Landscape – The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology Teaching and Learning

cll-web-bannerChanging the Learning Landscape – The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology Teaching and Learning.
Date: 13 Mar 2013
Start Time: 09:30 am
Location/venue: The Royal Society of Chemistry Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, , W1J 0BA

Changing the Learning Landscape (CLL) involves a series of activities to enable those involved in higher education to embed learning technologies in their learning and teaching practice.

One strand of activity involves discipline-focused workshops aimed at lecturers, module leaders and programme leads who are either new to, or have some knowledge of, learning technologies and would like to find out more.

‘The Use of Social Media in Science & Technology’ workshop offers an opportunity for those involved in teaching, or directly managing degree programmes, to find out more about the role social media can play in enhancing the student and tutor experience. Through a series of presentations, activities and discussions, led by academics from the science and technology disciplines, participants will be introduced to new social media approaches and see discipline-focused exemplars of social media applied in practice.

Topics will cover:

  • an introduction to teaching with social media;
  • encouraging student social networking in laboratory practical sessions;
  • enhancing fieldwork learning through social media technologies;
  • social media and lecture capture;
  • accessibility aspects of social media;
  • student perspectives on the use of social media in science and technology teaching and learning.
  • These topics will be delivered by practitioners from the science and technology disciplines.

    There is no charge for the workshop but places are limited and you are advised to apply early using the booking form.

    Please note that a similar workshop ‘The Use of Social Media in Engineering & Mathematics’ will be held on 22 May 2013 at a venue in Manchester. Details of, and registration for, this workshop will follow in due course.
    For general enquiries about this workshop please email Alex Fenlon;

    More details are available from this website.

    HEA STEM Biosciences Forum

    On 11th and 12th Spetember 2012 I was at the HEA STEM Biosciences Forum at the University of Leicester. This event was modelled on the highly successful HEA UK Centre for Bioscience Representatives Forum which took place on a yearly basis before the demise of the Centre. As expected the event attracted colleagues from a number of bioscience departments throughout the UK. Alan Cann from Leicester has provided an excellent overview of the meeting on the @leBioscience site. Once again the event provided opportunities for discussion on topics relevant to teaching in HE and it was great to hear examples of practice from colleagues working at the chalk face.

    HEA Annual Conference 2012 – Archive of Tweets & Top Tweeters!


    I attended the HEA Annual Conference from 3rd – 4th July 2012, presenting a poster on MP3 audio feedback to students.  I enjoyed a number of sessions and also participated via Twitter using the conference hashtag #HEAConf12.

    Using Martin Hawksey’s excellent twitter archive tool I include here a link to all of the tweets posted using the conference hashtag.  Click the image above to go there, or this link!

    The tool also provides some nice summary data such as the top tweeters.  List below. Hope you find this useful.

    JaneChandler 109 Number of links 367
    HEA_SocSci 84 Number of RTs 476
    DebbieHolley1 50 Number of Tweets 1520
    HEAPsychology 49 Unique tweets 1520
    sgwarnog 44 First Tweet in Archive 03/07/2012 09:47:03
    WarwickLanguage 41 Last Tweet in Archive 05/07/2012 08:02:44
    HEASTEM 39
    UoEChangeAgents 37
    HEA_Sociology 35
    ESTSASS 35
    Tim10101 34
    lisparcell 33
    HEA_Events 32
    larshyland 27
    goze01 22
    saltechdis 21
    policyreviewtv 21
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    Offering Sound Advice: Audio Feedback to Students

    Over the past year myself and three colleagues in the School of Biomedical Sciences at Ulster (Alison Gallagher, Kay Hack and Paul Hagan) have been exploring the use of audio feedback to students. We used a number of methods to record and deliver audio feedback to students and the findings of the project will be disseminated at:

    1. University of Ulster Centre for Higher Education Practice (project funders) 3rd Annual Festival of Innovative Practice, Universtiy of Ulster, Coleraine; Friday 15th June 2012.

    2. Higher Education Academy 8th Annual Conference at the University of Manchester; 3rd – 4th July 2012.

    At both events we plan to disseminate our project using the poster embedded below.

    A Pecha Kucha presentation was delivered at the Ulster event. A screencast video of this is posted below:

    The project investigated various modes of recording audio files such as desk-based microphones, headsets, and hand-held voice recorders and interfacing with software such as Audacity.

    Modes of delivery of MP3 files were also investigated such as feedback podcasts, emailing audio files or delivery via the institutional VLE. A feedback podcast was developed for a large (n=140) year one module to provide comments on student performance in a laboratory context. This utilised Feedburner to manage the podcast and to track usage. The feedback provided was generic in nature and summarised comments provided to students verbally in class.

    In their evaluation a number of students stated that they preferred to receive verbal feedback in class or to receive written feedback. Some students commented that they did not use iTunes (or similar software) and were not familiar with subscribing to podcasts despite being given a brief instruction on how to do this. This therefore represents a technological hurdle that needs to be addressed if this technology is to be used in the future. Finally both staff and student perceptions of using this mode of feedback alongside more traditional modes of feedback such as written comments on student work or verbal feedback provided in class were explored.

    Getting Started

    We have found one of the most straightforward ways to get started with audio feedback is to use the Wimba Voice Tools available within our own VLE, Blackboard Learn. This requires that the user have a headset and microphone, but all other aspects from recording the audio to delivery via email is taken care of. One downside is that emails are sent off immediately and cannot be queued up for delivery in a batch. If individual students are receiving feedback it will reach them at different times. There is also limited opportunity to edit the files before they are sent out. However, these are only a minor drawbacks considering how straightforward the tools are to use. In addition, the files are archived within Blackboard learn for accessing at a later time.

    Other Recording Tools

    In a previous post I mentioned that for a while now I have been sending feedback on some student work as MP3 audio files. I have used the free program Audacity which gives a greater level of flexibility in recording, editing and outputting the finalised audio file. A short article in the Bioscience Education E-Journal describes how we have configured Audacity to work for us.

    Some colleagues had been asking about the process of providing feedback in this manner and so I have prepared a short screenr video on how to use Audacity.

    Recorded Delivery

    Once captured the files need to be sent to students. If you are not using the Wimba Voice Tools on the VLE then you will probably send these by email. This is no major problem if you are sending files to a handful of students or generic feedback to a large group; but what if you have recoded individual files for a large group of students? For that you will need to use mail-merged email that allows you to attach the individual file for the relevant student. This can be done using Pegasus Mail and a full tutorial is provided here: An alternative approach is to use Microsoft Office running macros and a tutorials is available here: Both scenarios do require some time spent in configuring the system.

    Sounding Off

    Colleagues offered various perspectives as evidenced in the poster above. Some brief conclusions are: Individualised and formative feedback by this mode can be very effective. It may be extended to offer ‘whole group’ feedback for large classes, though this does not seem to be very effective in all cases. Colleagues agree that audio feedback does not necessarily mean that it will take a shorter time than written feedback, but that in most cases it has a greater impact with students.