Distance learning

Reflect provides an easy way to make recordings for distance learning students, whether this is a recording of a whole lecture or a shorter recording covering a key topic. Feedback from students at Leicester and from other institutions shows that distance learning students find it particularly helpful to be able to see and hear their tutors and lecturers speak, rather than just being provided with written materials (Woo et al. 2008).

 

How have others done this?

There are some courses at the University of Leicester where DL students take a module where most of the content is the same as the campus-based course. The lectures for the campus-based students are recorded and also shared with the DL students. This has been a big selling point to encourage staff to use lecture capture, since it creates DL materials with no extra work for them. It has also increased the satisfaction ratings of the DL students, who previously struggled to understand the content from just the slides.

For example, see the talk by Stephan Reiff-Marganiec, Department of Computer Science, at the Reflect launch day on 13 April 2016.

Other case studies have reported editing a lecture into ten minute chunks for DL students interspersed with activities and discussions, rather than expecting students to watch a whole one hour lecture in one go.

 

How can I do it?

If you are sharing recordings of campus-based teaching with distance learners then you can just record your lectures and share them in the usual way. You may need to make the recordings available to more than one module in Blackboard. It might also be a good idea to save copies of your recordings and edit them into shorter chunks.

You could consider making short recordings for your distance learning students at your desk. For example, this could be a welcome and introduction to the course to provide a human face to their studies. It may be an explanation of how they will be assessed or how they can get help. You may also want to record short explanations of key topics, to reinforce the students’ learning. You can install Panopto on your own computer and very simply make and share recordings.

Remember that your recordings don’t have to be perfect! Distance learners in particular will appreciate the chance to find out more about the course and the subject in an engaging and personal way. It is important to bear in mind that international distance learning students may have variable internet connections and speeds, so it can be helpful to provide an audio-only version of a lecture. This means it is much quicker to download than a video recording.

 

References

Woo, K., Gosper, M., McNeill, M., Preston, G., Green, D & Phillips, R. (2008). Web‐based lecture technologies: blurring the boundaries between face‐to‐face and distance learning. Alt-J, Research in Learning Technology, 16(2), pp.81–93. Available at: http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/10887 [Accessed August 4, 2015].

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