Category: Ed tech

Video production during (and beyond) a pandemic

Hywel Jones and Ollie Inglis, Digital Learning Specialists in the Ed Tech team

Just a few weeks into the first national lockdown, we began our roles as Digital Learning Specialists, joining an Ed Tech team responding to the global pandemic and its disruptive effects on teaching. Fortunately, our team had a great work ethic, so we could begin creating compelling and innovative learning resources right away, even whilst working remotely.

Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the change of routine has bought several advantages to our work in education technology. We have seen a shift in perspective towards video and digital media in the Faculty of Engineering. The use of video began as a necessity due to students working from home around the globe. More than ever, we are seeing staff embracing the potentialities of video and animation in their modules. Digital media has evolved into a format we consistently utilise to create rich and engaging learning experiences.

In the first lockdown in March 2020, faculty members needed a way to continue lab classes in the coming autumn term. The Ed Tech team were able to help as we have skills in video production, animation, and H5P. Appreciating that academics have a busy work schedule, we quickly developed a video workshop for academic staff, which outlined what we could offer in video production, animation, and H5P, along with a production process that should take up minimal academic time. We only require the academic to script, be available for filming, and give a final QA on the video we produce.

During video production, we struck up great working relationships with the academics. They trusted our expertise in filming, and we let them direct us in terms of capturing the experiments. Building this relationship has been hugely beneficial to our team. In addition, we have found that the engagement and demand have continued either through word of mouth or by the same academics returning for additional video content.

One of the great benefits of working in higher education has been the ability to continue our essential work filming on campus. When on-site, we’d follow the social distancing and safety measures put in place by the college, which was reassuring. It has provided a welcome break from working at home, allowing us to meet with our academic colleagues.

From our conversations with staff that we’ve worked with on the success of the videos, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. They have shared that their students have enjoyed the videos too, with some saying they preferred them as they got to see more of the experiment. Staff are also seeing other uses for the videos that they didn’t expect e.g. giving prospective students a flavour of the course or even using the videos as part of an online course.

We are now seeing a shift in more staff wanting to realise the benefits of video in a post-covid world:

  • Video can become a useful revision material.
  • Video can complement face to face teaching activities (e.g. lab demonstrations.)
  • Video can be used in pre-sessional resources.

During the summer, we successfully held 19 workshops with over 40 attendees. For the autumn 20/21 term, we promptly delivered over 80 pieces of video across four departments. We are now filming and editing work for autumn 21/22 and can help academic staff in Engineering to create high quality educational digital content.

If you have an idea or would like to chat with us to learn more about what we do, please contact us. Our SharePoint page has guidance on video production.

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Meet our new learning technologists

Our Ed Tech team recently welcomed three new learning technologists to Imperial. Find out more about Miki, Nadia and Joe, their first few weeks and how they can work with you in the future.

Miki SunMiki Sun

I joined the Transformation Team as a Learning Technologist in the beginning of 2021. My role focuses on engineering pedagogy transformation, with technology enhancement in teaching, learning and assessment. This provides a perfect opportunity to grow my knowledge and experience. I studied and worked in Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, previously, where I was an online learning developer supporting online course delivery in the School of Engineering. I’m delighted to support colleagues in innovative course curriculum and assessment design, and looking forward to meeting everyone in person.

I’ve had informative induction and training sessions by our team leaders and inside College. I like the well-thought, well-organized Design Planning Flow approach. I’ve enjoyed learning and building my knowledge on the Blackboard VLE (I used Moodle before) and online assessment tools such as Mobius. I have also attended several meetings and met many friendly and interesting colleagues from the faculty and different departments. It’s great to get to know how things work in Imperial.

Nadia Hussain

I recently joined Imperial as an Assistant Learning Technologist in the Faculty of Engineering. Before I joined the Ed Tech team, I completed my PhD in Computer Science and worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) at Brunel University. In my first few weeks at Imperial, I’ve been working on Autumn Term module data analysis, converting the Design Process Flow (DPF) from MS Word into flow diagrams and have answered user queries. Starting my job in the pandemic was slightly strange to begin with however with time I’ve become used to working from home.

I enjoy working with the digital learning and assessment tools that Imperial use and offering assistance to staff. I am particularly fond of using Blackboard. I look forward working more on WISEflow and other new digital tools in the future. So far, I’m enjoying my time working here and the staff are wonderful!

Joe DriscollJoe Driscoll

I have recently joined in the role of Learning Technologist (STEM), which means I will be helping the team to apply their impressive video, animation and assessment capabilities to technical Engineering course content. I’m joining after completing my PhD in Maths at the University of Leeds. The research was born out of a paper of Simon Donaldson and Richard Thomas, two of Imperial’s finest! At Leeds I was involved in their Maths Outreach programme, providing extra-curricular sessions to local schools was good fun and great experience. I’m hoping I learned a thing or two about creating learning resources that will help with my new role.

In my first few weeks I have been focusing on conversion of traditional paper-based exams into a digital format. This is not without its challenges, but the art of maximising the learning outcomes for students is one I am gradually honing. I have been working with the Möbius platform to do this, whilst it has been a learning curve, I’m excited by the potential scope of applications for this tool.

During the pandemic I have been in Leeds, where I moved to almost 5 years ago after graduating from UCL. I have been especially grateful for the Yorkshire countryside and fresh air over the last year, but I’m also excited at the prospect of moving back to London soon.

Looking forward I see so much potential for the services we in the Ed Tech team can provide. I think we will be able to build and grow our expertise to support the department in new and exciting ways. To make sure we are offering the best possible service to the department, we are keeping up to date on all the latest technologies and their application to higher education. As an example, I recently attended a TALMO (Teaching and Learning Mathematics Online) workshop where I learnt lots of useful tips and tricks for online teaching and assessment. My favourite talk was from Dermot Green (Queens University Belfast) who explained how he made his own “Lightboard” to make online lectures more engaging. You can see this in action on his YouTube channel. The student feedback from the “Lightboard” lectures was very impressive.

I’m really looking forward to working with everyone in the Faculty of Engineering and thanks for such an enjoyable start to life at Imperial!