Monday, 30 January 2012

Case study - Student video for communication, community and reflection


Using video for student communication within a distance learning Masters program in deaf education. Students are encouraged to use British Sign Language (first language for some on the module) to communicate with other members of the group. This has been successful in creating a sense of community amongst learners and promises to lead to enriched opportunities for learning networking and scaffolding within the cohort.


To facilitate accessible opportunities for student communication.
To use video to introduce group members, create community, provide opportunities for reflection and increase opportunities for support and information exchange within the group.


Basic training and information provided to students on how to create video using their own equipment (webcams, digital cameras, etc.). Videos are uploaded to LUTube for conversion to formats appropriate for online delivery and then embedded by students in areas that they can edit within the VLE (e.g. wikis, blogs etc.).
Following the initial introduction and socialisation stage, students will be encouraged to engage with tasks more oriented towards learning, such as information exchanges and collaborative problem solving.


Students were able to start using equipment and online delivery fairly easily although support was provided where required. This approach has made communication within this group more accessible and has provided a viable and in many way superior alternative to written forms of communication. Video also allows students to refelct in more informal and, at the same time, deeper ways.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Case study - Audio Feedback

Worked with Dr Nick Robinson, School of Polities and International Studies, University of Leeds looking the best way for him to provide his student feedback with audio recordings.


Provided digital audio recordings as feedback on students' essay drafts. This was made available through the VLE.

  • To be able to produce detailed feedback for lots of students in a short space of time (save me time)
  • To improve the experience of giving feedback
  • To improve the quality of feedback for students and increase student engagement with the feedback.


Notes were made on student work which formed the basis of the feedback to be recorded. Feedback was recorded on available personal equipment (iPhone). Audio files were transferred to a computer via iTunes which integrates seamlessly with the iPhone, renamed to the name of the students and then uploaded to a folder within the VLE labelled student feedbcak. The need did not arrise to access control the feedback and no students raised an issue with their feedback being available to others. Students accessed their feedback from the VLE and either listened to feedback online or downloaded the files for offline use.


Student feedback was universally positive with a great deal of enthusiasm being shown for the process to continue. The process saved Nick a great deal of time and made the task of giving feedback more stimulating and less stressful. Students commented that they appreciated the more personal nature of the feedback and the depth of meaning that is conveyed by a spoken voice. Nick will definately be continuing with this approach to giving feedback and am looking to expand it to providing summative feedback on assignments this summer.

Other info. / Links / Comments

JISC funded project on providing audio feedback:
Learning technologies @ Leeds podcast By Simon Davis Cast 01 (View in iTunes)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Case study - E-learning in deaf education

I have been working with Dr Ruth Swanwick at the School of Education, University of Leeds  helping her using Virtual Learning Environments to enhance her students experience.


This is the range of things I have tried out:
  • Use of personal blogs for reflection on module material
  • Use of tutor blog to give feedback to the whole group
  • Use of discussion board for sharing responses to module reading amongst the group as well as general networking
  • Use of wiki for shared comments on assignments and also for some admin purposes (signing up for tutorials)
  • Use of Module Folders for providing module materials and also for setting up links to other resources (e.g. library, Deaf Ed. websites)
  • Use of chat room for tutorial but changed to pilot WIMBA for this to allow for visual contact with deaf students
  • Use of links to LUTube to give some information in BSL and to allow students to give and share feedback in BSL.
  • Using the WIMBA classroom to organise group and 1:1 tutorials with deaf students using BSL and an interpreter (this is being separately evaluated)


The overall aim of using the blogs, the wiki and the discussion board was to was to:
  • enhance the interaction, networking and support opportunities for all students
  • enable Ruth to provide more support through input to discussions and blog comments
  • provide a mechanism for Ruth to gain more feedback on students' responses to the learning activities week by week.
  • Increase opportunities for deaf students to contribute to discussions in BSL and to have feedback and information from Ruth in BSL


  • Using the VLE and setting up modules with different tools has not been difficult but we have had plenty of support from VLE Support team. Learning how to use the tools is not really difficult but working out how to use them well to actually enhance what you already do requires some thought and opportunities to share ideas with other colleague (across school or faculty). You don't need extra resources for this, just some time and support.
  • Linking between the VLE and LUTube can just be done (in theory) with a camera with some video facility. Working with short clips like this or using the webcam is not complicated.


  • Being able to easily post resources and links; use the announcements and email easily has been liberating as I do not see my students week by week to remind them of things or give them handouts etc.
  • Using the blog and the discussion board as part of the module activities has helped Ruth to be much more in touch with all my students week by week and to gain a better understanding of their responses to the module activities. The students, however, feel slightly anxious about these tools and also more accountable. I could set them up better by managing the students' expectations more effectively.
  • Starting to experiment with the use of visual messages and comments in BSL is really exciting and the response from the deaf students has been very positive. I have used a Flip Camera for this and made links to short video clips in LUTube. The students have tried to do the same. LUTube is easy to use. You can make links quite easily in the VLE but sometimes it comes apart at the making of the video stage. I would like a smoother way to get from filming to uploading. We could then more confidently encourage students to do this themselves across all aspects the programme and it is entirely appropriate for a programme relating to deafness and communication.

Other info. / Links / Comments

Using video and visual tools has the most exciting potential for my programme but it has been the most challenging area and so these examples and links are all relating to this:
This link to LUTube in the VLE which is Ruth feedback about the blogging in BSL rather than in writing.

This is a student giving some feedback about using the virtual classroom. By putting this link in the VLE other deaf students can get an idea of how this pilot is going.

This was just a video of regional tutorials so that students can see what other groups do.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

HCT goes hi-tech with brand new media lab (

Abu Dhab:i A hi-tech media lab will open new career channels to Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) students and help them develop real practical experience in the field of media.

HCT and Abu Dhabi media and entertainment hub, twofour54, signed an agreement to provide HCT students with opportunities to develop skills and careers in the burgeoning local media industry.

"We want to connect with the youth, ignite their passion for media and develop world-class Arabic media and entertainment," twofour54 CEO Tony Orsten said.

The project is part of a broader relationship with the education sector to nurture indigenous expertise.

Stimulating talent

"We want to stimulate local talents so they consider professional careers in media, and to increase awareness among the student population about new industries that are developing in the UAE, like gaming and animation," Wayne Borg, deputy CEO and COO at twofour54, told Gulf News.

"One of our goals is to ensure that courses provided are aligned with market needs. There are over 140 media companies based in the UAE, and we offer the students training and internships in these companies. We help guide expectations and create awareness of incubation challenges for students who want to start their own projects."

HCT will be holding regular classes with its media students in the lab, as well as hosting monthly workshops there in partnership with twofour54.

"This lab is unique because HCT faculty will be able to facilitate 360-degree learning by use of multi-layered white boards, a 60 inch LCD screen and an HD projection system, meaning that our media and applied communications students get to use the latest technologies and the best possible facilities," Alan Jones, chair of Applied Media Studies, Abu Dhabi Men's College, told Gulf News.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

CNN's Inside the Middle East

CNN's Inside the Middle East talks to Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education.