Juliet Jain is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management teaching on the Masters level module, Transport Policy and Finance.
Seeking to make her students’ time on campus more engaging, Juliet used Panopto to make a pre-session video resource, enabling her to allocate more class time to active learning. Below, she tells us about her process and reflects on the results.
What did you aim to achieve by making a desktop recording?
I have a 1hr 15 min slot for a session on Gender Equality and Transport. I felt I needed to do something different to engage the students more actively as I really want them to critically evaluate the issue I’m teaching. For me, just standing up and delivering a lecture was too passive.
I had already changed this session to have more workshop content by giving the students individual readings and a group exercise but there was still not enough time to do both a mini-lecture and a workshop. Recording a mini-lecture for them to watch, or listen to, in advance, therefore, would support the individual reading task, and enable the students to be prepared to start discussing gender equality and transport straight away.
Ultimately, this meant the students could utilize the workshop more effectively with plenty of time for questions and discussion.
How did you go about making a desktop recording?
I had used Panopto in the classroom to record live sessions, and I had conference presentations recorded professionally but I wasn’t sure what the best way to record a lecture in advance would be. I spoke with the Learning Innovation Unit (LIU) and they were able to provide advice on how to make desktop recordings using Panopto on my work laptop.
The LIU’s guidance was invaluable. We did a practice session, where they talked through the steps, and also tried some different microphones. They also gave me some tips about introducing myself with a photo as I was only recording my slides and my voice. This gave me the confidence to have a go on my own.
Recording is fairly straightforward once you know how, but I did do a couple of takes because I got muddled with my words on the first go. The main challenge is finding a quiet room, and I did mine at home in the end.
What was the result?
The video I made was just right for the purpose (using Panopto had meant that I could even include copyright friendly clips from YouTube), although I might consider writing myself a script next time to reduce hesitations and refine the timings.
As this was the first time I’d run the session in this way, I collected feedback from the students in the form of a short questionnaire. Many commented that they really enjoyed the opportunity to work with others in the class, something that would have been missing if I’d have used the contact time to deliver a lecture.
When asked to describe what they enjoyed about the workshop, students commented:
“Working with the other students and sharing knowledge.”
“The interaction with colleagues made it easier for me to understand better the issues around gender inequality in transport.”
“Variety of session made it stimulating and thought-provoking. [It] was interesting to hear other students’ points of view.”
What are your next steps?
The feedback for the Gender Equality and Transport session was very positive so I will re-run the session next semester in the same way. I have also made one other recording for another module too. I haven’t asked for feedback from the students on the second module yet, but it certainly freed up time and enabled the session to include a practical element (and gave a variation from the normal “listen to me talk” session).
Given the student feedback and the way it enabled me to engage the students in active learning, it is something I will probably do more with in the future, especially for teaching research methods. I think this type of pre-recorded mini-lecture would work well where students have to prepare for off campus activities like field trips or site visits too.
Help from the LIU
If, like Juliet, you would like to make video resources for your students, talk to the LIU. We can explore your ideas, advise on best practice and support you to use the relevant tools. Contact us face to face in 3Q64, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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