This session on using student authored online presentations was presented by Dr Felia Allum and Dr Rita Chawla-Duggan, and facilitated by Geraldine Jones. Both presenters use Voicethread as the presentation software, as it is free and intuitive to use. Recordings for each slide/image/video are separate to each other so no complex editing needs to take place. You can watch a recording of the event to catch up.
Benefits of using student authored online presentations
- Can engage with relevant people from all around the world
- Allows seminar time to be used for active learning rather than watching other students present
- Students can continually develop their language skills by hearing their own voices and repeating presentations until they are happy with what they have produced
- Feedback from peers is much appreciated by the students
- Builds the self confidence of those who may not like to perform a face to face presentation in front of a group
- Useful skill to learn as now many job interviews are online
Event write up
Rita started the event by explaining how students can benefit from these presentations by linking theory with observed practice from a mini placement experience. A large benefit of these presentations in the Department of Education is that students are able to engage with teachers in professional practice locally and around the world. Observations and data gained through virtual school visits are presented via Voicethread. Then feedback is offered via Voicethread from peers and the teachers involved. Rita showed some examples of presentations which students had created using Voicethread. Two first year students then gave their opinions and reflections on using this software, including how they have developed their analytical and research skills.
Felia then presented reasons why she uses these online presentations, again with Voicethread, focusing on how seminar time is freed up for more engaging face to face activities. Felia noted that this does mean harder work for the seminar leader, as activities have to be carefully planned rather than just listening to and marking presentations. There is an added benefit of confidence building for both international students being able to rehearse their English language until they are satisfied, and native English speakers being able to practice and listen back to themselves when presenting in a foreign language.
Please be aware that even though the privacy of each video on Voicethread can be change, they are uploaded outside of single sign on so students have to be made aware of copyright issues and how to source and attribute materials available under creative commons licences.
Questions and answers
What is the student feedback?
They find these presentations less stressful, but they still need to develop their real presentation skills so that needs to be taught elsewhere on the course. The more shy students tend to interact more with these presentations. As mentioned before, the international students really do appreciate being able to hear their own English and repeat it a few times until they are happy with their results.
Are there any barriers to students using this technology, and if so do you have tips to help overcome these?Geraldine, E-Learning Officer, runs a short induction for students with examples of how the software works, provides a digital guide on Moodle. In addition there are 'how to' videos on the Voicethread website. As such there have been no issues or problems with students creating presentations.
Students can use any computer to create their presentations, including those on campus. Headphones with microphones are offered for those who need them, generally only one or two students a year borrow them.
Do you provide a structure for students to follow, and in there generally less of a format when students create online presentations?
The academic guidelines are similar to face to face presentations in that students still need to demonstrate their understanding of concepts, including readings and analysis. The assessment criteria remain the same, and sometimes the students can get very creative in what they produce. A slide limit (10) and a time limit (not more than 10 minutes) helps to keep the presentations focussed
Do peers have to look at each other's work?
Felia responded. Yes but sometimes they don't comment at all when looking at the work of others, but now they are being encouraged to make a comment at the end just to say that they have read and understood the presentation. This means that students are much better prepared for seminars.
Is Voicethread free to use or licenced to the University?
It is free to use software, and anyone can sign up for a free account. It was chosen for this reason as well as being very intuitive to use.
Are there any privacy issues?
Each presentation is given a secret URL, and the students post these to a closed Moodle group. By default the presentations are private to the author. You have to explicitly share the presentation in Voicethread so that others with the link can view and comment.