Tag Archives: technology

Use of video: thinking outside the lecture

Claire Cornock & Mike Robinson

Parallel session 4, CoLab 4.4

Short Abstract
Various staff in the Engineering and Mathematics department have been using videos to enhance their practice. This session will include discussion, demonstration and hands-on experience of different technologies that can be used to create videos along with several case studies of how they are being used in teaching.

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Detailed Outline
In this session, we aim to give staff enough knowledge, experience and confidence to start producing their own videos to enhance their teaching practice. To this end, the session will include:

• outline of the advantages and disadvantages of using videos in teaching brief case studies based on current use within the department, including how technology has been used to address particular problems

• presentation of the available technologies for producing videos, to include desktop PCs, tablet PCs, Android tablets, iPads, and more traditional whiteboard and cameras
• hands-on practice with a selection of the available technology.

The opportunity for colleagues to use the technology to start producing their own videos is the key part of this workshop, along with the opportunity to establish links between staff with shared interests. It is hoped that one outcome from this session will be an ongoing common-interest group for staff interested in using videos.

Several case studies will be presented within the session. These include:

• Addressing the problem of trying to teach how to use technology within a lecture room by creating short video examples. This was within a first year module that centred around the use of excel. Physical constraints of having a large group within a lecture room meant that students were struggling to carry out tasks shown in lectures. Now students make use of the short video examples in their own independent study time and more of the students are attempting the more technical tasks in assignments. The students often make unprompted comments on the usefulness of the videos.

• Videos of mathematical processes. Doing mathematics is a process which often requires correction, modification, and thought, and yet the finished product is typically concise and static, and much of the thinking is hidden (this is particularly true of any attempts which do not lead to a solution). In lectures the process of doing maths can be demonstrated, typically with speech describing the thought process, and writing recording the finished product. Students understandably struggle to keep notes on this without losing some important details. Videos offer an opportunity to provide students with a reference source in which both the thought process and the final product are recorded.

• Providing video feedback to students. Typical feedback on mathematical problems might include a set of model answers, but as with the mathematical processes above, these often lack detail about the thought processes behind the approach. Producing model solutions using screencasting can provide students with an audio commentary alongside the concise formal solution and has proved effective at engaging students.

Within these examples, several different types of technology have been used. These include PCs, tablet PCs, Android tablets and the traditional whiteboard and camera. We will discuss and demonstrate how some of these can be used.

Using immersive virtual reality to enhance anatomical understanding

Dr Robert Appleyard & Dr Heidi Probst
@R_M_Appleyard / @HeidiProbst

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.9

Listen to the presentation (opens in new window)

Short Abstract

Anatomy is usually taught via a multimedia experience. This study developed a virtual, interactive, model of the brain and investigated whether engagement with it in an immersive virtual environment offered advantages over plastic anatomical models in enhancing students’ spatial anatomical knowledge. We also investigated how students’ develop this knowledge.

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Detailed Outline
The study aimed to investigate the potential of an immersive virtual environment (IVE) for enhancing students’ spatial anatomical cognition of the brain and establish a coherent explanatory framework for how this spatial cognition is developed.

A convergent parallel mixed methods design was used. A pre and post-test, pragmatic, randomised controlled trial assessed the impact of virtual reality (VR) technology on the extent to which spatial cognition of anatomy could be enhanced compared with the use of plastic anatomical models. Constructivist grounded theory was used to develop a theoretical model of how students develop spatial cognition. A triangulation protocol was used to establish a coherent explanatory framework for the development of spatial anatomical cognition in an IVE.

Engagement with the VR model of the brain in an IVE resulted in statistically significantly greater enhancement in spatial anatomical cognition compared to engagement with an equivalent plastic model of the brain (p = 0.003). The effect size (8%, 95%CI: 2.3 – 13.2%, d = 0.59) is potentially valuable in practical terms. Students exploit individual traits, prior vocational experiences and features of the model in order to apply personal learning strategies within a constructivist framework to enhance spatial cognition. A more positive learning experience and the additional interaction afforded by the IVE are the most likely explanation for the difference in effect.

Engagement with virtual models in an immersive virtual environment can substantially amplify students’ potential to develop spatial knowledge of anatomy. Vocational stimuli are key in influencing how students exploit the design features of a virtual anatomical model to develop spatial understanding. This work provides evidence that will contribute to the development of pedagogy for using immersive virtual reality for the teaching and learning of anatomy.

Reflections from an alternative chalkface: Evaluating the Enhancing Prostate Cancer Care MOOC

David Eddy

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.3

Short Abstract
Following completion of the evaluation of the EPCCMOOC, this presentation will share and disseminate key findings in terms of lessons learned, impact on existing provision, implications for future delivery and considerations for the institution.

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Detailed Outline
Following a detailed evaluation of design, planning and delivery of the Enhancing Prostate Cancer Care MOOC , this presentation will share and disseminate key findings from the 1st MOOC delivered by SHU in collaboration with the Prostate Cancer UK charity and PebblePad.
This was a powerful learning experience for the EPCC MOOC course team, who embarked upon this with a number of objectives:

  • To help raise awareness of and engagement with issues around Prostate Cancer and the patient pathway
  • To determine whether our pedagogical approach to online DL delivery could remain effective at scale
  • To ascertain the affordances presented by utilising PebblePad’s personal learning space to deliver a MOOC
  • To raise awareness of the SHU portfolio of online DL and CPD Anywhere provision
  • To test a range of approaches to delivery and (new to us) software and tools and explore their potential for our ‘business as usual’ delivery
  • To explore the potential for aggregating CPD activity to allow participants to submit APEL claims from EPCCMOOC for credit.

During the presentation I will share key findings in terms of lessons learned, impact on existing provision, implications for future delivery and considerations for the institution.

Enhancing student engagement using a classroom response system (CRS) (2014)

Jeff Waldock, Hannah Bartholomew, Xinjun Cui, Sue Forder, David Greenfield, Wodu Majin, John Metcalfe and Mike Robinson

Student engagement with course material can be variable. Lectures are often didactic, information being transmitted by the lecturer with student interaction  occurring rarely if at all. Such lectures do not normally require students to actively engage with the taught material, concentrating rather on copying down what is said and not thinking about it for themselves.  A different problem occurs in group tutorials where it is often difficult to get everyone to make productive use of the time.

In-class response systems can provide a solution, promoting cooperative learning with “students becoming active participants in their learning” (Beatty, 2006). The purpose of including these systems in the classroom has multiple benefits – principally to introduce an element of dialogue and team working into the session, but also to maintain engagement and stimulate interest.  Beatty explains the process as involving six stages:

  1. Provision of a question for discussion
  2. Small peer group discussion – probably just for a minute or two
  3. Provision of a peer group response
  4. Class discussion
  5. General tutor observations, possibly presented as a micro-lecture
  6. Closure – summarising the topic, then moving on.

An example of a suitable tool of this kind is ‘Socrative‘, which allows a lecturer to present ad-hoc or prepared quizzes (multiple choice or short-answer) to students in class.  We have used Socrative in many ways within ACES during the last year, and will share our experiences and student feedback, discussing with participants how this approach could be of benefit to them.  Participants will also be invited to join a Socrative Special Interest Group.

If you plan to attend, and own a smartphone or tablet device, please download and install the free ‘Socrative Student’ and ‘Socrative Teacher’ apps first.  If you don’t have a device you will be able to pair up with another participant.

Beatty, I.D et. al., “Designing Effective Questions for Classroom Response System Teaching”, Am. J Phys., 74, pp31-39, 2006.


Stuart Hepplestone & Ian Glover 

1.1 TeachingApproachesWorkshop_LTConference2014
Teaching approaches menu
Reflection and action planning worksheet
Top trump cards
Case studies

The Changing the Learning Landscape Programme is an initiative from the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. It encourages universities to change their culture and to increase the use of educational technologies. Sheffield Hallam University’s engagement in this initiative focusses on increasing, and enhancing, the use of existing tools and technologies.

This workshop is an opportunity for you to begin engaging with the ‘Changing the Learning Landscape Menu’ that has been developed in consultation with academic colleagues at SHU.  The ‘Menu’ is a framework that will assist academic staff in identifying different teaching strategies and the technologies that can support and facilitate these strategies, enhancing existing provision or as part of designing and developing new courses.

Activities presented, and resources available, within this session will support and encourage participants to work together:

  • reflect on their current teaching approaches
  • consider the use of technology to enhance teaching approaches
  • explore the balance of teaching approaches and use of technology across modules
  • develop an action plan of how they will enhance their teaching approaches.

Beyond the session, individual participants will be encouraged to follow up on their action plan. The session facilitators will retain copies of action plans produced to assist participants in continuing to work on their next steps.  Due to the nature of the session, the outcomes will likely enhance teaching approaches at an individual module level. Participants, therefore, will be strongly encouraged to take this initiative back to their teaching teams so that they consider enhancing

2012 The use of a mobile virtual immersive tool (VERT) to encourage student engagement and apply theory to practice in the classroom

Sarah Smith and Robert Appleyard


The Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training (VERT) suite (at collegiate crescent campus) is specially designed to offer a 3 dimensional immersive experience for students and is currently used in the core study of anatomy and technical practise of radiotherapy as well as being used in a number of ways by other subject groups across the faculty. The interactive and visual elements of this tool are especially suited to the demonstration of complex interaction and comprehension. However a mobile (laptop based) version has enabled wider and different applications to be explored.

The traditional staged approach of learning the underpinning anatomy and physiology of a body system. Followed by the theoretical, lecture based, learning of oncology and radiotherapy technique; with actual application having to wait until practice placements; can now be challenged.

Through practical demonstration in the classroom it was possible to integrate these key stages of learning and provide an engaging experience for students. This applied learning approach also encouraged student’s to discuss differing approaches to practice they had experienced in placement learning, facilitating a problem based learning approach, drawing on their own experience as well as the supporting evidence base. Peer review of this revised approach to the teaching of the Head & Neck Region identified a number of positive aspects including positive student reaction, enhanced engagement and apparent comprehension of complex information.

A thunderstorm session would allow for visual screen cast style demonstration of the tool itself and key parts of the planning, structure and delivery of a learning package. A ‘top tips’ approach with evaluation from peer review and student feedback.

A7 – (EN26, EN17, EN27, EN29) 11.00

2012 The Digital Frontier: a look at tools beyond the VLE to support learning and teaching

Robin Gissing and Juliun Ryan

Whilst blackboard contains a robust set of tools for learning and teaching, you may be aware that in addition to these there are a vast number of ‘third party’ tools and services available online that offer potential to enhance the learning experience.

This hands-on workshop aims to introduce staff to some of these free and easy to use tools and explore how they can be used to offer new and innovative opportunities to enhance practice through the use of technology.

The workshop’s facilitators argue incorporating such tools constitutes a meaningful opportunity to develop students’ experience, knowledge and understanding of the wider digital landscape. This so-called ‘digital literacy’ is a vital graduate attribute, enabling students to live, learn and work in the 21st century. Its development is something both students and employers alike are increasingly keen to see universities address. Coinciding with the changes to the funding arrangements for students post-2012 we are embarking in an increasingly market driven learning economy. (JISC 2011) and some of these approaches may go some way to enhancing student experience and authenticity.

So, with that in mind, the workshop will provide ideas and specific examples of not only how these tools might be used, but also how one or more of them might be dynamically combined to create new configurations and thus new opportunities for facilitating learning and teaching. An example combination might be; an online interactive presentation tool and combined with a screencasting tool. This might create a video presentation with a more dynamic feel than that of a recorded powerpoint. 

The session will aim to create a social and creative environment for both the presenters and participants, which due to the nature of the session should be accessible to people of all levels of technical skill.

The facilitators will introduce the topics and tools as well as the themes and aims of the session. Attendees will then work together in groups, actively engaging in hands-on exploration of the tools functionalities to inform base pedagogic rationales for the use of those tools.  Attendees are then expected to feed-back to the wider group what they have discovered about the tools.

Attendees will then re-assemble into smaller teams to develop specific examples of how two or more tools can be used in combination in a “building block” approach to essentially develop a new tool which is the combination of 2 or more tools. Feedback of these new tools will then be expressed over a variety of media forms by attendees and the facilitators.


JISC. [online]. 2011. Last accessed 8 March 2012 at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/developingdigitalliteracies

D4 – (EN19) 15.30

2012 iPhone feedback to develop student employability in sandwich engineering degrees

Anne Nortcliffe

Work based and placement learning opportunities have been recognised as a critical importance for future graduate employment, as a third of graduate posts are filled with students who have already worked for the organization, Highfliers (2011).    Placements have been a feature of the curriculum design for engineering courses for a number of Higher Education institutions since the 1960s, (Osbourne-Moss, 1968;Silver, 2007) .   However, the number of students undertaking placements are declining, Wilson (2012).  Equally modern recruitment processes require students to provide evidence of key competencies, though students do successfully develop these key competencies whilst on placement, Hall et al (2009), however in our experience at Sheffield Hallam University in the placement team; large employers are increasingly using techniques similar or the same as their graduate recruitment processes to filter the applications.    The employers require the engineering students to demonstrate in their placement applications a level of competency in key technical and employability skills.  Therefore any student employability development and feedback in engineering courses needs to provide appropriate support that continues to empower students to self identify, reflect, and articulate their relevant technical and employability skills for placement and graduate roles.   Is audio feedback via iPhone the solution to the problem and if yes, how effective is such approach?   What is the longitudinal effect of the feedback?  Do students continue to use the feedback in their final year?  This paper will present an example of an embedding iPhone feedback into computing and engineering courses and will provide critical analysis of the evidence from the qualitative and quantitive studies of the student reflections as to their perceptions of the impact of the audio feedback upon their employability and whether it has had a positive contributing factor in assisting them to secure a placement/graduate opportunity.

B8 – (FU09, EN25) 11.50

2012 Promoting distance learner engagement with formative coursework

Diarmuid Verrier

 This ‘thunderstorm’ session outlines an on-going attempt to promote distance-learner engagement with formative coursework via the introduction of Twitter as a task medium.  Study guides used in distance-learning modules often ask students to complete tasks that aren’t summatively assessed, for example, tasks in which students respond to each others contributions critically and positively.  If engagement wanes, fewer students will post and students may be reluctant to go back to check discussion boards after posting, negating the potential for a true discussion developing.  Without the powerful motivator of grades, it’s essential that we make these tasks as user-friendly and engaging as possible.  One possible barrier to student engagement is the sometimes cumbersome nature of virtual learning environment user interfaces.  Twitter’s raison d’ être is to facilitate interaction between individuals.  Unsurprisingly, then, tweeting is a far easier task (quicker and more efficient) than navigating through SHUspace.  The instantaneous nature of tweeting should make it more likely that authentic and spontaneous discussion will break out amongst the student group.  The process of integrating Twitter into coursework, as well as unforeseen challenges that have emerged, will be discussed.

Link to presentation:  Promoting distance learner engagement with formative coursework

B5 – (EN07, EN02, EN14) 11.50

2012 What happens when you don’t have time for Blackboard? Engaging busy professional Post Graduates using mobile learning technology

Alison Hramiak

The technological advantages provided by mobile technology are currently being explored in Higher Education with institutions investigating and implementing new ways of reaching students through their mobile devices (Rose, 2008). This paper describes a pilot study that was intended to capitalise on the culture of exploration in this exciting area, and also to try and capture good practice in doing so. It describes a small study that examined how ‘SmartPhones’ could be used with trainee teachers on placement in schools, to communicate with them, and to disseminate course information to them.

After setting up a BlackBoard© (BB) site for the trainees a review at a university session revealed that they did not find accessing the site convenient either from home or school but all had and used SmartPhones on a daily basis. A decision was then taken to utilise their mobile phones to replace the functions that would have been covered by the BB site. For the remainder of their course, the tutor used text and email to communicate with the trainees rather than posting announcements and resources on the BB site.

Trainees were questioned about the use of these mobile devices using surveys and a group interview at the end of the course. An initial quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis of this data using suggests that trainees strongly prefer being able to access course information and communicate with their tutor via their phone rather than through a VLE. The mobile technology provided a more convenient and accessible means to gain the information they needed, and because they could access course information when they wanted, rather than having to find a PC or laptop from which to log onto the VLE, they felt much more connected with their tutor and the other trainees who were placed in other schools geographically separated from them. 

Rose, (2008) Switch that phone on! Extending higher education opportunities for the iPod generation at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/search/search?qt=mobile+learning&sb=relevance

C6 – (EN03 and EN34) 14.20

Presentation:  It’s easier to use my phone’