Keith's Blog

Apps for Teaching - Learning - Research

Topic: Technology

Using PowerPoint as a Video Editor

📥  Digital Capabilities, Digital Skills, Powerpoint, Student Authors, Technology, Video Editing, Videos

For those not confident with, or with no experience of video production, and without access to video software and skills, this guide provides a simple method and workflow, using some of Powerpoint’s lesser known audio and video features. The guide has been used by some 100 pharmacy students to create videos for assessed coursework as part of a Problem Based Learning activity. The videos they produced have been exceptional and  I'll be showcasing some of these in a future blog. It is a simple example of how digital skills can be embedded in the curriculum so that students get an opportunity to gain digital capabilities.

FrontCover6StepGuide
6 Step Video Guide PDF

 

The guide is designed to be as simple as possible, and comprises of 6 steps:

  1. Create a Storyboard in Powerpoint
  2. Create your Script
  3. Record the Slideshow using an External Microphone
  4. Insert an Embedded Video (optional)
  5. Add Transitions and Effects
  6. Export as a Video

The guide has been authored by Keith Brown and Gavin Brockis, and was produced for a video assessement devised by Dr Helen Paine for our second year pharmacy students. The aim is to produce a good quality result with the minimum of specialised tools, software, and skills. As such, students used a mobile phone to capture a video demonstration of an inhaler, and Microsoft Powerpoint on a standard Windows PC to combine it with title and credits screens, add voiceover, and output a final video file. These are familiar tools, which should hopefully be available to all within an educational context. No specialist knowledge is required beyond what is shown here.

 

Student Co-Creators and Digital Skills

📥  Animation, Apps, Co-Design, Digital Capabilities, Digital Skills, SSLC, student, Student Authors, Technology, Videos

A couple of years ago, I starting thinking about a Digital Skills Centre (DSC), where academics can go to get media developed, and where the work is co-created by students.  The students thereby gain digital capabilities to enhance their employability. Media might include videos, apps and on-line learning modules. The idea is to provide opportunities for our amazing students to develop Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) materials.

As a preliminary step to help further the DSC, funding has been confirmed for 5 projects that each involve students working as partners and co-creators, with input from academics and the faculty or departmental TEL officers. Although each project addresses a specific area, the overall objective is to establish a scalable working model for collaborative TEL development with students as partners and co-designers.

Students will acquire digital skills and capabilities by working on each of the projects. One aspect of evaluation is to map these to a framework, based on the JISC model, with a view to accreditation as part of the Bath Award that is available to our students.

Many thanks to everyone that has supported this endeavour. However, a big thanks to the project team involving students, academics and especially the Faculty TEL team who represent the Learning Technologists based in the departments and faculties.

Pilot Projects for the Digital Skills Centre

Our bid titled 'Pilot Projects for the Digital Skills Centre' was successful in achieving funding from the Teaching Development Fund (TDF) that encourages applications from teams that are cross departmental, and which involve students. The funding provides for 5 projects, each managed by a Learning Technologist from the Faculty TEL group.

The projects include 2 apps, several videos and an eLearning module. The images shown below are for illustration only, and show how the finished products might look, running on a smart-phone.


Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Faculty of Science

Project: An app for the Staff Student Liaison Committees (SSLCs)
Project Manager: Keith Brown
Students: Toby Barrett and Harry Ball
The Study-Space app being piloted for SSLC

Based on recent trials at the university, the Study-Space app has shown some potential to forge a community of students around a programme unit. This project builds on that potential, and aims to deliver ‘the SSLC app’. This app will be specifically designed to enable reps to collect and collate feedback from students, and to feedback the outcome from SSLC to the students.


School of Management

Project: An interactive eLearning package to explain Stakeholder theory
Project Manager: Paul Pinkney
Academic: Johanne Ward-Grosvold
Student: Sam Turnpenny
stakeholder-blog

Stakeholder theory is a key theoretical premise of modern management practice. It is taught on a number of masters courses and the eLearning package could be used repeatedly

The project undertakes to deliver a module containing animations and a self-test. It aims to ensure that all students have the requisite knowledge of stakeholder theory before attending a given lecture.


Department for Health, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Project: Animation of Medical Issues in Disability Sport
Project Managers: Tracey Duffy and Geraldine Jones
Academic: Beenish Kamal
t6-disk

Existing text-heavy content is to be replaced by visually engaging learning content including videos and animations. The project also includes a social learning aspect where students use social media or forums.

This approach will be trialled on one unit in SPY, with a view to future application on other units within the programme and adaptation for other similar programmes across the university.


Faculty of Engineering & Design

Project: A Professional Practice app
Projet Managers: Yvonne Moore and Rachel Applegate
placement-app-blog

A large proportion of students in Engineering undertake a placement in industry as part of their learning, and in doing so are expected to develop their skills for professional practice.

A mobile app that can provide information in preparation for placement and which can subsequently support the students in placement could be beneficial to a large number of students.  It would also support the employability agenda by preparing graduates for the workplace using material in a form that is familiar to young people.


Academic Skills Centre

Project: Short video to illuminate expectations and perceptions of academic skills and to detail some of the resources and support available
Project Managers: Kevin Renfrew and Keith Brown
skills-promotion2

The aim is to deliver an animated video to capture the reflections and views of staff and students around academic skills. The animation will be co-designed and created by staff and students.


 

 

Using Technology for Engagement and Feedback

📥  Apps, Community, Enagagement, Feedback, Mobile, social media, student, Technology

On 5th November I ran a session for student Academic Reps about the technology for engaging with students and finding a way to obtain comments that can be used to feedback to the Staff Student Liason Committees (SSLC). Although my presentation did focus on some technologies, the take-home message was that it isn't really about the tech: It is about being proactive and forming a community where people are comfortable to feedback their concerns.

 

However, although comminity it key, it is important to select an appropriate technology. Especially with regards to privacy. This is probably not an area where main-stream Social Media is appropriate. Putting myself in the shoes of a student, some questions come to mind:

  • Would I be comfortable with posting my personal thoughts and comments on media that is publicly viewable?
  • Can I trust the privacy statements of the vendors? (Is it really private?)
  • Even if I can satisfy myself that posts are private now, will the privacy policy change in the future? (And do I have any control over this?). See WhatsApp warned over Facebook data share deal

Personally, I wouldn't trust Facebook or Twitter, or any of the mainstream social media channels.

Another privacy issue is related to the reputation of the university, and the public exposure of students' comments. It really isn't appropriate to publish these on-line on a public site, or on mainstream social media. Especially because the comments could be incorrect, malicious or misconstrued.

I would say it is far better to host the technology on private systems that are internal to the university. This, combined with a provision to post anonymously, provides a 'walled garden' where all the issues around privacy are eliminated, and which provides a safe environment for users.

However, the availability and suitability of such an internal system may be a challenge.

Study-Space

Study-Space is an app that I first started to build in September 2015, and which is currently undergoing small-scale trials at the university. Primarily designed for social or collaborative learning, the system is internal to the university and private to each student cohort where it is used. It also allows students to post anonymously, and a few months ago I realised that it is also a good match for collecting student feedback data for SSLCs.

So, at the end of October, the app was tried with two SSLC channels - one for MPharm first year students,and the other for Pharmacology first year students. So far, one channel has received a single post, but the other had many. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the academic year.

Unfortunately, I can't show the results from the live SSLC channels because it is private! However, I did use Study-Space during the session with Academic Reps. The result was that 18 of the 24 Reps installed the ios/Android app, or used the web-app. The results from the interactive session are shown below.

The Next Step

An undergraduate coder has recently commenced work on 'the SSLC App'.  Although loosely based on the Study-Space app, the next step is to look at requirements and find out what is needed in terms of the type of data that should be collected, and the data visualisations required.

 

ss-acad-reps-1

The Study-Space app was used interactively during the session

 

ss-acad-reps-2

The app can also be used as an Audience Response System. In this example, the question asked was 'Could you use this app for your SSLC?'

 

ss-acad-reps-3

The Voting Competition reveals that Study-Space and Panopto were the top-voted answers to the prompt 'Please post any ideas you have for exploiting technology for engagement and feedback. '

Save

 

Student Animations for Research Dissemination

📥  Animation, Digital Skills, Research, Skin cancer, student, Sun cream, Sunlight, Sunscreen, Technology, UVA

The one thing that gives me the greatest satisfaction is helping students to reach their full potential. Although my skill-set is vastly more technical than pedagogical, there have been a number of students that I have helped to gain some creative digital skills. Mostly developing apps and animations. Conor Eastop is a recent graduate who has been honing his animation skills over the last couple of years, which has culminated in these fantastic animations.

This example is a little different to previous projects where the focus has been on teaching and learning. This time, the artifacts have been built to help disseminate the research around sunlight and skin-cancer that is being done by my friend Charareh Pourzand, who happens to have an office next door to mine.

In this first set of videos, the emphasis is to provide some introductory materials for public health, that explain the tanning process and the dangers of UVA in particular. Further animations are planned that delve into the details a little more. For example, there is increasing evidence that current sunscreens are ineffective against UVA and our research shows that we need to find new ways to protect our skin against UVA. One such approach is to use novel light-activated compounds that Charareh has developed.

 

The Risks of UVA

 

The Problem with Sun Beds

 

How we get Tanned

 

How useful are Sunscreens?

 

Well Done Conor!

 

 

Stuiz

📥  Apps, Commercialisation, Competition, Jisc, Mobile, student, Technology

A guest blog by our student Azhar Jamal who previously worked for me on some app projects. He entered the Jisc Student Ideas Competition 2016 and has now secured funding to commercialise his own app idea 'Stuiz'.  I wish him every success.  Here he shares his story.

azhar-pitch

Azhar pitching Stuiz at Summer of Student Innovation pitch day 2016 ©Jisc and Matt Lincoln CC BY-NC-ND

Stuiz

by Azhar Jamal

The ‘Summer of Student Innovation’ is a competition held by Jisc. It is open to all students in higher education and a competition entry has to consist of an idea, description and a video. The idea itself just has to be something techy that improves the student experience – that’s what Jisc’s about.

The Idea

My introduction came from Keith Brown – he’s really tuned in to this sort of thing (I worked for him on an app called StudySpace). He mentioned the competition in a conversation and told me to come up with an idea and to go for it. Most Sunday evenings I had friends over for a quiz. After a while I made an app that worked as a buzzer, changing the color of the lights to the color of the team who buzzed. Stuiz came from this – we loved quizzes and we were competitive.

The Entry

When I’m motivated toward a goal, there’s not much that can stop me. In this case the goal was a kick ass video.

When looking at the past entries, I noticed all of the videos were just someone talking to their webcam and I got bored fairly quickly. Camp Rock taught me “Don’t fit in, stand out”, I knew then I wasn’t going to make something like that. At the time, movies like Civil War and Batman Vs Superman had trailers out so I took inspiration from them and decided to do something that had that dark, boomy, teaser trailer feel. After firming up the idea, I started thinking about the storyboard of the video and the characters.

Unfortunately, this was smack bang in the middle of revision season so everyone felt super guilty about doing anything other than work so there was a lot of meticulous planning about where everyone had to be at what time. Luckily, I’m blessed with lovely friends; Will, Liv, Lawrence and Connie were lovely to work with as well as Georgia who lent me her camera and helped with filming. With them and the planning, we got everything for the trailer filmed in a few hours.

The closest thing id done to video editing was short animations in after effects. Once I started in Premiere Pro, I got very into it. I stuck to my storyboard pretty closely as I had a good idea of what it was going to look like – I feel due to the amount of time spent just thinking and imagining beforehand, the actual editing was a lot faster (even though it did take a while). The actual editing was nothing more than; placing shots, trimming, color grading and a little bit of adding text animations via after effects. Georgia’s advice on how to shoot (as well as her camera) aided the video in looking as good as it did.

After I created the video, I had to deal with the sound. I knew which sounds I wanted when but I didn’t have the time to download a new program and learn how to make a soundtrack – so I spoke to a friend, Beth Hall, who is a great musician and was studying Music Tech. I sent her the video and told her what sounds I knew I wanted, outside that she had creative reign and did a great job.

The part after the trailer I thought was necessary as I thought more people would prefer watch a video explaining the idea rather than reading it. This took a lot longer than you’d think as I kept messing up / it got dark / someone was mowing the lawn / my hair was dodgy. After a while I decided I was being too picky and got it done on two takes, in the final video I cut between these two depending on which sounded better at a specific time.

 

The Marketing

I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. I decided to go for a staggered release, this way it would motivate the people I asked to ask friends and would have given me a good idea of how many votes I needed. The first people I told were my family, who by themselves got a ton of votes. Soon after this I told the friends I lived with and then friends from different groups (some from my course, some from back home etc). The real jump came from emails, of which first went round to physics students then to other students at the university. By end of the voting period I had 477 votes, the highest. I went on to be selected for the next stage.

The Design Sprint

“Describe Stuiz in 2 minutes… aaaand go!”

Those were the firsts words spoken to me after meeting my mentors, Holly and Nadine. They were lovely and in a somewhat prophetic nature, they won the competition the year before with SALT

The Design Sprint  took place over 4 days at Aston University in Birmingham. The most helpful activities for me were; developing the idea, considering the competition, looking at user journeys and creating a wireframe. The exact activities we did during the four days are similar to those of any design sprint. As helpful the activities were (and some of them really were), a lot of the growth and development of Stuiz came from conversations with people at the sprint. There was a general air of self-motivated progress which came through in all the conversations, from providing monetisation strategies to criticising the wording of a line in a pitch.

And even ignoring the buffet breakfasts, 3 course dinners and steam room, it was a great experience.

The Pitch

After finishing the design sprint, I went to Malaga for a holiday before the final pitch.

It took place at the Jisc Office in London, right on the Thames. I watched a few of my friends pitch to the panel of four Jisc reps. I’m normally not too bad at public speaking but as always, the butterflies made an appearance. When it got to my pitch, I was pretty confident (despite messing up the wording once or twice). After the 5 minute pitch, I was questioned for 15 minutes about Stuiz. As the pitch is capped as 5 minutes, I chose to only mention certain aspects in the pitch so to incite the asking of questions that I had solid answers (and slides) for. Apart from these, there were a few questions I hadn’t predicted but I answered them well. If you know your idea inside and out, this bit's easy.

The Result

Jisc chose to take Stuiz forward and make it into a product. I’ll see you on it soon.

If you’re a student who’s thinking about doing it, do it - you’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Special thanks to; Keith Brown, Will Van Der Weyden, Laurence Cartwright, Olivia Jones, Connie Hogg, Georgia Keats and Jisc.

 

Expert Patient on Skype

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📥  Skype, student, Technology, Videoconference

Credit for this project belongs to Dr Hannah Family in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and Dr Wali Aslam from Department of Politics Languages & International Studies. 

It is a simple but effective use of technology for teaching and learning. 

Using Skype to 'Bring In' an Expert Patient to the Classroom

A recent project involved a class around 70 fourth year pharmacy students connected to a remote expert patient using videoconferencing facilities:

lecture-theatre-front-view

Students interacting with expert patient on Skype. Photo of actual session and students, but the image of the expert patient has been replaced with a stock image @istock

In previous years the patient has attended in-person as a guest speaker for the class.

The Academic Viewpoint

Dr Hannah Family:

I’ve never used Skype in a session before – so I was unsure what to expect. I invited a guest speaker, who is an “expert patient” – who has previously joined my classes in person to talk about his experiences of being diagnosed with, and living with a long-term  health condition. Skype presented many benefits, firstly this speaker does not live that locally to the university so it meant they avoided a long journey to visit us for a brief lecture. Secondly, it meant he didn’t have to venture out in the cold, which is one of the triggers for his symptoms (of chronic asthma) amongst other conditions.

Although I could see all the benefits that Skype could bring, I was worried that we might lose some of the impact of the session because our guest speaker wasn’t physically present. However, I was keen to explore how it could work, as I knew this would help me to invite more patients into the classroom in the future.

I didn’t need to worry – the whole thing ran smoothly, and our guest speaker was just as confident and as engaging via Skype as when he had physically been in the classroom. We had just as many questions and the class ran as it had in previous years. Things that both I and the speaker felt, was he had less of a sense of how the class were interacting or reacting to what he said. This didn’t impair the class experience and we both felt that we could see how this could improve patient input into our classes in the future. What it did mean was that I could then bring  him in another day to work in smaller groups with the students – without taking up too much of his time.

Now that we have trialled it, we may also be more adventurous and try and work with pharmacists in different countries, or even patients from different countries to see how care of the same illness varies with culture and country!

The Expert Patient Viewpoint

The Skype conversation was a new experience for me and I can certainly recommend it for other speakers.  It mightn’t be to everyone’s liking if you like to get out of the house!

Advantages:

  • You are in the comfort of your own home/workspace and don’t have to travel which saves on petrol etc.
  • You don’t have to get up early if it’s an early morning session.
  • You can keep warm.
  • You can schedule other things for your day around your home/business ie if you have something to do in town just after you finish on Skype, you can do it without worrying about time constraints.

Disadvantages:

  • You aren’t aware of audience mood or response as much as you would be if you were in the same room.
  • External noise such as phone ringing or knocking on door.
  • You don’t see people smile when you crack a joke!

The Student Viewpoint

The following are blogs by students:

Huda Mirza:

Pharmacy, expert patients and learning through Skype

Jenny Yuen:

The Use of Videoconferencing in teaching Pharmacy

The project is part of a larger project funded by the Teaching Development Fund at the University of Bath which is lead by Dr. Wali Aslam:

https://pharm.bath.ac.uk/moodle/dna.png

 

 

 

LITEbox Launch

📥  App Factory, Apps, LITEbox, Mobile, Research, student, Technology

How fantastic to bring together all the aspects of how we are using technology for teaching, learning and research across the university! It was good to see so many people at the LITEbox launch on Wednesday, and I really enjoyed presenting my work around apps for teaching and learning. So many people have been commenting on Cristina Dumitru's video so I've posted it for everyone to see:

My colleague Charareh Pourzand also presented our work on a Research App for Light-Activated Sun-cream which has also been causing a bit of stir. We've also now had the opportunity to talk about this app with Jane Millar and demo the App-Factory to her.

I've got a good feeling about LITEbox - to find out more go to:

go.bath.ac.uk/LITEbox

#liteboxbath

Light-Activated-Sun-Cream

 

 

 

SEDA Magazine

📥  App Factory, App-Store, Mobile, student, Technology, Uncategorized

My first SEDA article, copy just received in the post. This is Issue 16.1 of the Magazine 'Educational Developments'. Thank-you SEDA: I've received emails from people at other universities who are looking at a similar student app ecosystem at their university, or possibly a national system for HE. Who knows where this might lead...

 

SEDA Magazine March2015