LITEbox

Digital playground

A flipped teaching toolkit for a quantitative module

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📥  Event Review

Dr Aydin Nassehi began his LITEbox session, available to watch online, by explaining a typical problem with the “standard” classroom approach: students claim to be too busy meaning they often miss lectures, tutorials and out-of-class study time, leading to a lack of learning and lack of understanding of the material. In order to engage the students and create a deeper understanding, Dr Nassehi uses a flipped teaching approach where lectures are much more interactive and allow students to develop their ideas further. In order to assist his approach, he uses the following technologies:

Despite the advantages of flipped teaching, it does come with some disadvantages: student feedback is very mixed, with some students reporting that the academic staff are “not teaching anything”; the teaching approach needs to be continually adjusted according to feedback; and the culture of marks being more important than an understanding of the subject is a barrier for many students.

The student approach to a "standard" classroom approach

The student approach to a "standard" classroom approach

Digitising Tablet

Before the lecture, content must be provided for the students to learn. This can be a collection of anything relevant, from academic papers through to online videos, which are all uploaded to Moodle for easy access. Dr Nassehi produces videos of step-by-step problems specific to his taught modules by using a digitising tablet (costing £50 to £80), and allows the students to work in a self-paced learning environment where they can pause and resume the video as required. This means that no students are sat in lectures confused when the pace is too fast to follow.

Integration of Moodle - Quizzes

In order to ensure students have done the required work before class each week, they are incentivised with a quiz on Moodle worth 1% of the module mark. Quizzes can be automatically marked, and once a question bank is set up, Moodle allows for random value numerical answers and automatic question shuffling in order to ensure students can’t cheat. Moodle also allows for analysis of the students’ marks, showing where they are struggling and which topics they find hard.

It was noted that the content before the lecture must relate to both the quizzes and the assessment objectives, as otherwise students are disheartened spending time learning unrelated material.

LTEO can provide help and guidance on using Moodle for quizzes.

Audience Response System

To engage with a large cohort of students during contact time, Poll Everywhere is used to ask questions based on the content which has already been learnt, either multiple choice, numerical or short phrase submissions – though be prepared for students inputting silly words. It allows anyone with an internet-enabled device to connect, which is much easier logistically than having to hire out a set of 200+ clickers from the University. Poll Everywhere also allows for registration to track user’s progress throughout the semester.

Dr Nassehi uses an audience response system for a variety of reasons, including short numerical based problems in groups, through to marking other class presentations on non-technical presentation aspects. While Poll Everywhere can provide live feedback on whether students need the pace of class to increase or not, this can be challenging when a certain amount of in-class content must be planned in advance.

Alternative similar free software is mQlicker which allows for embedding within PowerPoint and deals with numerical answers as numbers rather than text strings. You can book the University's audience response system for use in your teaching from the Audio Visual Unit, and receive training on using the system from the e-Learning team.

You can find out more information about how to use audience response systems from a LITEbox event write up.


Questions arising during the session

Is flipped teaching more time consuming?

  • To set up the material takes much longer than standard teaching, however once the resources have been set up there is much less work in following years

How do you stop students using their phones in class for non-lecture content?

  • Students are more engaged as they have read the material, which as an added benefit also means the lecturer can discuss topics they enjoy with other informed people
  • Provide interesting material in class sessions so they want to learn
  • You can’t stop those who want to check Facebook, even in “technology free” lectures

How does flipped teaching rank in unit evaluations?

  • When students have to do more work and are taught in a different way to usual, flipped teaching appears worse in unit evaluations
  • You can still use these tools without flipping

Do students have transparency of the class being flipped?

  • From experience, students prefer and rate the class higher if you avoid calling it a flipped class and say this is the way the class has always been taught

If you have any more questions please ask in the comments box below.

 

Facilitating virtual group work

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📥  Event Review

Facilitating virtual group work, online student presentations and remote delivery of lectures using web-conferencing

On Thursday 12 November, LTEO ran a seminar as part of their Inspiring Innovation series, focusing on academic teaching practices which use web-conferencing to provide innovative methods of engaging with students.

The session focused on how teaching and learning activities, which traditionally take place on campus, can now be moved to an online environment, through the use of web-conferencing tools, offering significant benefits to both staff and students. This session was of use to anyone wishing to explore flexible teaching practices to support large cohort teaching, group work and/or students at a distance.

If you missed out, or would like to catch up, a recording of the session is available to watch.

 
lteo

 

Blogging is for pros: a guide to successful blogging

  

📥  Event Review, Students' Union

Joining up with the Students' Union Skills Training, Ross Ferguson delivered an insightful presentation on best practice for blogging, covering communication principles and skills which can be applied to everyday applications rather than technical aspects. Topics including content design, editing, engaging with audiences, and evaluation.

You can watch a recording of the full session online.

blogging for pros

 

While the content was provided mainly for a corporate context, Ross briefly touched on the advantages of having a personal blog:

  • very fun and rewarding activity allowing for personal development
  • reflection of yourself by looking at old posts
  • provide a place for employers to verify who you are beyond your CV.

Ross gave examples of Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Mashable as the top three world blogs by revenue, however these make money from "blogging black magic" - clickbait and adverts. Examples of well written blogs which provide insight include Smashing Magazine, Inside Intercom, and the Foreign Office Blog were mentioned. On a more local scale, Zoomix at was mentioned as being a very well presented blog written by a PhD student at the University of Bath and is well worth looking at.

The importance of writing to suit your audience was a key theme throughout the session, highlighting the need to analyse who you visitors are and the content they wish to see. One of the University's most popular blogs by viewcount is Campus travel updates, and Ross stated how they have adapted their posts to provide a very short, concise useful updates after looking at analytics.

 

The University's marketing and communications team also provide blogging advice.

 

LITEbox event: Audience response systems

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📥  LITEbox Event

This event has now happened, there is a write up with tips on using audience response systems.

Following the interest in Audience Response Systems (ARS) at the recent Technology panel debate, we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting a session allowing staff to gain an understanding of the different uses of ARS and best practice methods.

The session will be led by:
- Dr Richard Joiner, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology
who will be joined by:
- Mrs Deborah Lewis, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Management
- Professor Nick Kinnie, Associate Dean (Undergraduate Taught Students), School of Management.

This event will consist of a talk that will share experiences and different uses for audience response systems, including the practical uses of using them for assessments. This will then be followed by an interactive discussion with participants to enable a wider sharing of experiences from across the institution and to explore issues, challenges and potential solutions arising from this technology.

Image from http://opus.bath.ac.uk/12505/1/

 

Audience response systems encourage students to engage in class by providing short mental breaks within the lecture allowing them to maintain focus, as well as supporting them to apply their recently acquired knowledge together with instant feedback to help their learning.

There is a solid evidence base for using audience response systems in teaching. They engage students actively to learn new material by building upon their existing knowledge, which has been shown to provide an increased understanding of material taught in class compared to a control group (Lantz and Stawiski, 2014).

Following the introduction of an ARS for a final year Computer Science unit at Bath (Davenport, J., Hayes, A. and Parmar, N. R., 2009), some clear  and positive conclusions were drawn including:

  • In the appropriate context, it is possible to convert relatively sceptical lecturers into users of this system
  • The lecturer can gauge levels of misapprehension in a way that might be hard otherwise
  • Audience response systems help students with deeper points than factual knowledge
  • The students like it.

 

How to use the University's audience response system

You can book the University's audience response system for use in your teaching from the Audio Visual Unit, and receive training on using the system from the e-Learning team.

 

Davenport, J., Hayes, A. and Parmar, N. R. (2009). The use of an Electronic Voting System to enhance student feedback
Lantz, M. E., & Stawiski, A. (2014). Effectiveness of clickers: Effect of feedback and the timing of questions on learning. Computers in Human Behavior.

 

12 Apps of Christmas

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📥  New Technology

A4 12 Apps Leaflet image (1)

 

Regent's University London is running a fun and free online program to learn about new apps, starting on the 1st December. Each day you can spent 10 minutes of your time to learn about a new app, and how it can help your teaching and supporting of students.

Each day this blog post will update with an overview of each new app.

For the twelve working days of the program, each day will offer a new task with instructions on a different app, tailored suggestions of how to use the app with your students, and how it can work effectively in a professional context. Course material will be left up so if you miss a day then you can easily catch up.

Follow on Twitter with #RUL12AoC, and enroll on the course on the Open Education Blackboard.

Apps

  1. sli.do - easy audience interaction for presentations, accessible via web browser or an app
  2. Instagram - share and discover videos and photos on specific topics by using hashtags; also has the ability to comment for further discussion
  3. Evernote - collect, tagg, and organise content on the cloud, with a robust mobile app and significant desktop functionality
  4. feedly - automatically bring news, articles and other resources from across the web into one location on a desktop or smartphone
  5. Tayasui Sketches - Draw doodles, diagrams, or annotate over pictures from phone or tablet, which you can easily share online
  6. WhatsApp - a peer collaboration app to share text, images and audio to individuals or groups of people
  7. Periscope - interactive live streaming app which can be used for campus tours, library inductions, practical demonstrations, and much more
  8. RefMe - a simple online and mobile tool to create citations, reference lists and bibliographies, you can even just scan a bar code
  9. Trello - an app and browser based collaboration tool for organising projects and ideas into lists, showing progress, comments, attachments, checklists, and due dates
  10. Pinterest - allows you to pin content to different boards, as well as easily discover and browse content which others have posted
  11. Animoto - easy video production via app or desktop, by adding images, videos, text and choosing a theme
  12. Elf Yourself - create a video of you and 4 friends as Christmas Elves... Enjoy!

Do you have an app which you use in your teaching? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Linked Event: Introduction to development with ASP.NET MVC

📥  Linked Event, Students' Union

Employability skills training: Introduction to development with ASP.NET MVC

Date: Friday 20 November 2015
Time: 13:15 - 14:05

Sign up to the event

Skills Training Logo

 

This session run by David Ringsell covers the basics of web development in Microsoft’s MVC which is widely used for industrial strength applications. MVC applications offer a clean separation of concerns between the business-logic, web pages and the controller. Microsoft ASP.NET MVC offers Web developers all the benefits of MVC allied with all the power of the .NET platform.

David Ringsell is the Founder of TalkIT, which provides customised training courses plus e-learning. David is also an experienced trainer and consultant providing a wide range of support in Visual Studio and SQL Server. An MSPD (web) & MCSD.

 

LITEbox supports Academic Reps

  

📥  Event Review, Students' Union

This year's Academic Reps conference, run by the Students' Union on 31 October 2015, saw Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb and Sarah Turpin, Project Co-leaders for the Alumni funded LITEbox initiative, leading their first session on digital technologies.

Joined by a group of 20 Academic Reps, Jess opened the session by inviting the students to reflect on their use of digital technologies, both in their everyday lives, and in support of their learning and teaching since taking up their studies at the University.

Academic reps during the LITEbox session

Academic reps during the LITEbox session

Working in two groups, the students identified a wide and diverse range of technologies including tablets, smartphones, social media.

Commenting on the feedback from students, Dr Francombe-Webb said:

"The response and levels of engagement that students have with digital technologies in all aspects of their lives reinforces the view that as a learning institution we need to increase our understanding of how we can use this vast array of powerful tools available to us to find new ways to enrich the student experience; not to just aid deeper learning but to ensure that we equip our students with broader skills transferable to the workplace."

Providing students with an overview of the LITEbox initiative, which aims to provide opportunities for students and staff to learn, share and develop their knowledge and skills in using new and existing technologies, Sarah Turpin made particular mention of the LITEbox designated group working space, 8 West 1.28. Located in the lower floor of the 8 West building, this room is equipped with six work zones, each with docking stations, headphone sockets and digital screens enabling students to work on projects and other group work. The students attending expressed particular interest in this type of independent learning space and were pleased to learn that they are able to book the six work zones separately through the Timetabling office.

Jess then provided students with a brief overview of multimedia messaging walls such as Linoit and Padlet. She described some of the benefits of these tools both in and outside the classroom such as enabling students to comment and ask questions anonymously, give feedback and share ideas with each other. Working on ten mini iPads, which are part of the Department for Health's Connected Learning Lab, the students enjoyed a hands-on session by practising posting comments and questions. Some of the group discussion included how applications such as these might usefully help the students in their Academic Rep roles to communicate with their peers and gather views and opinions. Sarah also mentioned Trello, another freely available electronic board enabling students to organise and manage their own work, plan and undertake projects and share progress updates and ideas with other students.

Students were encouraged to engage with LITEbox events and feed back to the LITEbox team their ideas on digital technologies.

Further information about LITEbox at go.bath.ac.uk/LITEbox or email: litebox@bath.ac.uk

 

November's LITEbox events

📥  LITEbox Development, LITEbox Event

Following the success of the technology panel debate and Carole Mundell's Lessons from the Universe, we would like to highlight four upcoming events for all staff to attend. Our events range from tips on creating a successful blog, to delivering your lectures with an exciting flipped teaching approach.

If you would like more information, or to attend any of these events please email litebox@bath.ac.uk.

Using online multimedia message walls to encourage participation

Wednesday 11 November 2015. 1.15pm - ​2.05pm. CB 5.13

An interactive workshop convened by Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb will seek to explore 1) whether online multimedia message walls can address any of the perceived shortcomings of forums, and 2) how multimedia message walls offer alternative ways of collating students' thoughts, ideas and questions to stimulate learning and feedback.

Facilitating virtual group work, online student presentations and remote delivery of lectures using web-conferencing

Thursday 12 November 2015. 12.30pm - 2.00pm. 8W 1.28

This is an LTEO organised event, please email Dan White to book a place
This seminar will focus on web-conferencing to provide innovative methods of engaging with students. Many teaching and learning activities can be moved to an online environment, through the use of web-conferencing tools, offering significant benefits to both staff and students.

Blogging is for pros

Tuesday 17 November 2015. 6.15pm - 7.45pm. CB 5.13

In this session by Ross Ferguson, the different uses of blogging in a corporate context will be explored and some best practice tips for blogging success will be shared using real-world examples of what works. Subjects will include content design, editing, engaging with audiences, and evaluation.

A flipped teaching toolkit for a quantitative module

Wednesday 18th November 2015. 12.45pm - 1.45pm. CB 5.13

If you are thinking about flipped teaching, adding interactivity to your class, or self-paced instruction through virtual learning environments, this session will be of interest to you. Dr Aydin Nassehi will showcase some of the innovative e-learning technologies​ which he very successfully uses to enhance his teaching practice and increase student engagement.

event schedule

 

Lessons from the Universe

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📥  Event Review

On 23rd October Professor Carole Mundell shared her Lessons from the Universe to a wide audience of academic staff, support staff, researchers and students. One reflection of the session was:

This was a truly inspirational talk which made me think about how familiar technology could be used to do real research

Please use the comments section below to discuss your thoughts on revolutionary research and it's link to teaching and engagement. You can also watch a recording of the talk below.

lessonsfromtheuniverse

Professor Carole Mundell introducing her talk

The event started with a brief overview of astrophysics, including the fact that it is possible to tell things such as the the ages of galaxies by their colours. The goal driven problems which Astrophysicists are trying to solve are both exciting and extreme, where records are continually broken in all aspects, including largest magnetic field, most distant object, and the list continues. Due to these extremes being measured, there is a continual drive for technology to be developed at such a fast pace there are noticeable developments every year.

Carole then described how telescopes around the world are now being used in arrays. These arrays can provide data which would only otherwise be possible to obtain by manufacturing an impossibly large telescopes. The next topic was gamma ray bursts - extremely high energy bursts which were detected for the first time 50 years ago by accident, and can occur in a timespan of milliseconds. In order to monitor these in the current day we need real time observation, creating vast amounts of data. This data can be automatically probed and observed in order to find a tiny unique bit of data amongst data collected from the whole universe. In order to develop these technologies a cross disciplinary set of skills is required, particularly engineers who can design and build these technologies.

Before the final remarks on the next decade and beyond, and how Astrophysics links to all other aspects of our lives, Carole joked that we could use Mantis shrimp with telescopes to observe the cosmos with. These shrimp have 12-colour imaging which is better than both the 3-colour imaging which humans have, and also better than the technology we currently have. Our goal is to use biomimicry to create new technology which can surpass current technologies.

In order to inspire a new generation of Astrophysicists, it is vital to work with current students and engage them in solving real life problems and revolutionary research. Not only does citizen science assist scientific research developments, but by including people of all ages - including school based programmes - everyone can share excitement of taking ownership of new data.

One student who attended the event confirmed this by saying:

The more students who turn up to inspiring talks on state of the art developments, the more likely someone will be motivated, and ultimately these motivations will cause the future developments and technologies we see in the world.

 

Please have a look at more of our upcoming events list, including using multimedia message walls to collate students' thoughts, and technologies to help with flipped teaching.

Watch a video of the Carole Mundell's Lessons from the Universe below: