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LT Newsletter 2011-2012

Forget ‘Lecture,’ Tegrity Transcends The ‘Sage On The Stage’

Technologies are made up of both technical objects and the cultural practices and behaviors that arise around, in and through these technical objects. As you might expect, these cultural practices have a way of shaping our use of the next generation of technology (think: “desktop” interface for computers). So, when we say ‘lecture capture,’ we are identifying a narrow practice, not the specific technical capacity of Tegrity… Student assessment feedback, quick tutorials, student presentations, or, yes, even short lectures tied to active learning activities are all potential ways to use the software.

‘Lecture’ can be a dirty word. For some, it conjures images of ‘the sage on the stage’ in large lecture halls with students passively listening. Perhaps these are unfair characterizations, for listening can be active and lectures can be engaging. Nevertheless, in the last 30 years, higher education has seen a push toward more student-centered, high-impact teaching and learning practices.

Enter ‘lecture capture’ technology. By ‘capture,’ the educational technology industry means ‘recording.’ Tegrity Lecture Capture, the system used by the University of Washington, records the voice of a speaker, the video image of a speaker (if she wants it), and video of a computer screen (i.e., presentation slides, web browsing, etc.). Then, it combines those audio and video recordings into a single interactive video experience for the student. But, isn’t this throwing technology at a broken teaching model?

At the recent Tegrity User Conference, which was held in downtown Seattle April 18th – 20th, I found that the term ‘lecture capture’ hardly describes the kinds of teaching and learning activities for which Tegrity is, and can be, used.

Colene White, a communication instructor at Everett and Cascadia Community Colleges, records student presentations, speeches, role plays and other speech performances. For White, recording these presentations allows her to provide more detailed feedback to her students on their strengths and weaknesses with verbal and non-verbal public speaking skills. In addition, students can return to the recordings to reflect and self-evaluate.

Nadine Lemmons, a Business Technology Instructor at Lower Columbia College in Longview, WA, uses Tegrity for student feedback on computer application assignments. Lemmons teaches Microsoft Excel (spreadsheets) and Microsoft Access (databases) classes, and she has to give students feedback on their spreadsheet and database files. When the student has significant issues with a file, her comments can be extensive. Rather than typing out her comments, she can begin recording using Tegrity, open a file on her computer, and then record her spoken comments. Lemmons doesn’t recommend using Tegrity when the comments are minimal, because it won’t end up saving time. However, for more extensive comments on assignments that were submitted electronically, Tegrity can replace a large amount of typing. What’s more, feedback to students can feel more personal, because they hear their professor’s voice as she talks about their work.

What these examples show is that the term ‘lecture capture’ has conditioned how we think about these technologies. Technologies are made up of both technical objects and the cultural practices and behaviors that arise around, in and through these technical objects. As you might expect, these cultural practices have a way of shaping our use of the next generation of technology (think: “desktop” interface for computers). So, when we say ‘lecture capture,’ we are identifying a narrow practice, not the specific technical capacity of Tegrity.

The examples above show that, instead of a technology that simply records the same old lecture, Tegrity is a better understood as a multimedia recording tool. And, it only requires the ability to click Start and Stop. Student assessment feedback, quick tutorials, student presentations, or, yes, even short lectures tied to active learning activities are all potential ways to use the software. Seen from this perspective, the technology becomes more malleable, allowing the instructor to “hack” it for her own use.

If you are interested in how Tegrity works or how you might use it in your class, contact UW Bothell Learning Technologies at learningtech@uwb.edu.

Digital Media Lab: A Media Oasis

Students in Digital Media LabHave you had a chance to check out UW2-121? It is the University of Washington Bothell’s Digital Media Lab!

Inside you will find twenty-four high-end audio, photo and video production machines. The Digital Media Lab, or DML for short, is an open computer lab, a tutoring space and a digital media classroom.

We offer in-class workshops for a number of different software titles such as Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro 7 and Audacity. Students can come in during our open lab hours to receive one-on-one help with pre and post production filmmaking techniques, Google Sites and an ever growing list of media production related software titles. Finally, the DML is a cool place to hang out and have fun!

Check out the DML website for more information at http://www.uwb.edu/learningtech/dml121.

Wait there’s more! UWB’s Digital Media Lab is expanding! We have received four new computers, located in the Open Computer Lab UW2-140, for audio, photo and video production.  Also, a new 6400dpi color scanner will be installed in the DML towards the end of the winter quarter.

Developing Effective Learning Goals for Hybrid and Face-to-Face Classes

Having good course learning goals are essential for not only developing effective hybrid classes but for teaching courses in any format whether face-to-face, hybrid and online.

Essentially, learning goals answer the question of what a student will have learned.

For students, learning goals help to illuminate what’s important in a course and make it easier to reflect on their learning at the end of a course. This learning roadmap is especially important for students who are taking a hybrid course since there is more out-of-classroom learning which can sometimes lead to miscommunication.

For faculty, learning goals can help structure a course and make it easier to determine what will be evaluated throughout the course. Course-level goals can also be used to create learning goals for modules or units within a course.

So what goes into creating a good learning goal?

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Student Perspectives: ePortfolios

UW Bothell student and Learning Tech Assistant Avalon Willows gives her perspective on ePortfolios:

As a student who has gone through two portfolio classes already, I have been around my fair share of ePortfolio frustration. Any UWB student will agree with me when I say that the process of compiling a portfolio, while technically easy, is very tedious. On top of that, many students just don’t “get” the ePortfolio; the reason for it is just unclear. This causes many students to have feelings of disdain towards the degree requirement.

This is unfortunate, considering that an ePortfolio can be a very useful tool for students. ePortfolios show things that a college transcript or GPA won’t. They showcase the hard work that goes into individual assignments, they reflect on individual learning styles and processes, and of course, they show what fantastic work you have the ability of producing.

Reflection is a vital part of the education process, and ePortfolios allow students to reflect on progress in the beginning, middle and end of their time in college. This allows room for improvement and perhaps the creation of set goals. Personally, when I was going through past assignments to build my ePortfolio, I came across a lot of work that I enjoyed reflecting on. Some assignments I had turned in in such a hurry that I didn’t even realize what great work I had produced. While reviewing other assignments, I often found things I didn’t like—so, I took note and used it for improvement in my future work.

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Blackboard 9.1 Close Up: Plagiarism Prevention using SafeAssign

There will be new online tools available for use once the campus moves to Blackboard 9.1 for spring quarter, 2012. One of those new tools will be SafeAssign which helps instructors prevent plagiarism by detecting unoriginal content in student papers. How it works is that an instructor sets up a SafeAssign assignment turn in area, and as students submit papers, they are automatically checked against the following databases:

  •  Internet – comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the Internet
  • ProQuest ABI/Inform database – over 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from ’90s to present time, updated weekly
  • Institutional document archives – consists of all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions
  • Global Reference Database – containing papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism.

Once papers are turned in, instructors will get a report back within a couple of days on each paper. You can view a sample report to get an idea of what you can expect if you use SafeAssign. You can also view other anti-plagiarism resources on Learning Technologies’ plagiarism web page.

As a reminder, all Blackboard courses with all of their content except for 2007-08 academic courses will be moved to Blackboard 9.1 starting Tuesday, March 20 at 6 PM. The 2007-08 courses will be archived (not deleted). You’ll have access to a test version of Blackboard 9.1 starting February 16. Learning Technologies has created a video that highlights the changes. There are also UW Bothell web tutorials available, and Learning Technologies will provide training sessions later in the quarter.