Mark Wilcock (Learning Technology Development Officer) has, over the last few years, been working with the Faculty of Education’s MaST Team, providing support and guidance with the introduction of a number of key technologies including:
- iSpring (a rapid learning authoring toolkit for developing professional e-learning courses in Powerpoint.
- Blackboard Collaborate (browser-based web conferencing solution).
- Panopto (lecture capture software).
In this case study, Mark tells us about his work with the MaST Team and explains how and why they began to explore the available technologies, the benefits to the department and the students on the courses here at Edge Hill University.
This is what Mark says about the project and working with the MaST team to introduce these technologies;
“For many years now I have worked with the MaST team. I’ve delivered various staff development sessions and raised awareness and confidence in using technology in teaching and learning. More recently I have worked alongside them in the adoption of new learning technologies such as iSpring and Blackboard Collaborate. As a Technologist I’ve always recognised the need to respond to the changing demands of the student expectation and of course the opportunity to collaborate with staff towards enhancing the learning experience overall with the use of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Starting back in 2014, MaST explored the use of iSpring as a tool to develop and enhance their current online induction resource for students. Here they created an accessible and interactive course induction resource that included a variety of multimedia (audio narration, video guides, information & social media links and supplementary attachments) to give students the best start to the course and to accommodate for all the diverse range of learning styles of the online students. This project enabled me to not only reach out to academics, but to also understand and build even stronger relationships with the team and the course the MaST programme itself. It also demonstrated the benefits that the iSpring as a technology brought to the online student experience, highlighting the student rewards and usability for staff.
Moving into 2015 and 2016, the MaST team introduced Blackboard Collaborate and Panopto into their programme. The team required a platform to support online lecture streaming and video capture. Prior to the institution having Panopto (lecture capture) at its disposal, the only tool that could deliver such an ability was Blackboard Collaborate. For those new to Collaborate, it is a real-time video conferencing tool that lets you replicate the physical classroom into a virtual one with the option to share applications and a whiteboard. Though Collaborate was not actually a dedicated lecture capture product and more of a online classroom tool, it did however provide a short term fix to live streaming for the MaST Conference days until Panopto was introduced in 2016. However, the benefits of the team using Collaborate prior to Panopto, actually worked in their favour for their future endeavours as they had already obtained an initial understanding of this tool it is now currently being considered as a communication platform for online group and one to one meetings with students.
I strongly believe that the benefits of our collaboration has supported this application of technology into the online elements of their programme, which has enabled them to replicate the traditional teaching and learning activities for blended and distance learning, meeting the modern day expectations of the online student. For me personally, the ability to transfer knowledge and key understanding to academic staff working together with the technologies provided can only improve the student learning experience by improving teaching and learning within Edge Hill University is extremely rewarding. Overall my view is that Staff who develop good digital capabilities in technology enhanced learning can offer new opportunities for their students through improved access to resources, increased interaction between staff and students, changes to learning and teaching styles and more flexibility in their choice of place and time.”
You can here from Mark in this short video about his work with the MaST Team;
…this is what Andrea Taylor (Senior Lecturer MaST) said;
“MaST have been working with Learning Services’ Mark Wilcock for a couple of years on ways to develop and deliver blended learning session for our students, some of whom are based on campus with others at locations across the country. Initial trials with Blackboard Collaborate were very promising, this allowed us to offer face to face sessions whilst students in Birmingham were able to join the session remotely from a device or their computer. Working with Mark was also important in developing a number of iSpring packages which allowed us to create interactive multimedia e-earning content. As we grew in confidence, in terms of using the technology, we were made aware of lecture capture software.
The MaST Team approached Mark again to find out more about this new resource called ‘Panopto’ to see what it offered as an alternative.
It was important the technology is easy to use and allowed us to capture the lecture electronically and live screen to the second venue without any issues, and to create accessible recording we can upload quickly to the VLE so that students have almost immediate access to this resource. Panopto allows our students to view the keynote address after the face to face day to follow up on their learning and to encourage further reflection. We would recommend that other departments incorporate this technology into their courses. The support for its use had been fabulous and although we have used it at a very basic level, we look forward to utilising many of the other features that are available through Panopto”
The MaST Team;
Mary McAteer, Andrea Taylor, Victoria Grinyer, Ann Barker, Philip Rowe, Stephen Williams
If you feel inspired by Mark, the MaST Team and want to use these and/or other technologies to help enhance and support your own teaching, please get in-touch with the Learning Technology Team in Learning Services. We will be very happy to work with you.
(Learning Technology Development Officer)