A Case Study – iTunes U in Cultural Policy and Economics

In this video I talk to two lecturers at City who have used iTunes U to publish recordings of their lectures to their students and to the public.

Dr Dave O’Brien lectures on the MA Programme in the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management, and is currently acting Senior Tutor for Research at the Centre. Professor Keith Pilbeam is Director of the MSc Business Economics/International Business Economics in the department of Economics.

Dr O’Brien began self-recording his lectures for Contemporary UK Cultural Policy, a module for postgraduate students, in the Spring term 2012. He contacted the Education Support Team to find out about using iTunes U to publish them. Professor Pilbeam also contacted us in order to record his lectures on Introduction to Macroeconomics, a core first-year undergraduate module.

Both lecturers have seen impressive usage statistics for their podcast series, and suggested that publishing their lectures had not only benefitted their students, but freed up some class time for questions, or reduced their own workload. You can hear more about their experience in the video.

Download Dr O’Brien’s podcast series on iTunes U or as an RSS feed.

Download Professor Pilbeam’s podcast series on iTunes U or as an RSS feed.

The Learning Spaces Project

The Learning Spaces Project at City University London is a central project led by the LDC with representatives working on the project from each of the Schools.  By designing and implementing more modern innovative teaching spaces for small group teaching and learning the project aims to address the contradiction between classrooms that were designed in a previous century and modern teaching practice.

The project has kicked off with the redevelopment of four small group teaching spaces (the largest being for 30 students), in order to evaluate the impact that furniture, room layout and modern technology can have on teaching and learning.

We would be really interested to hear any suggestions or views that academics or students have about the new learning spaces, or any experiences that anyone has had teaching (or learning) in these rooms ( A109, A112, A216, D222) you can leave your comments at the bottom of this post, or if you don’t want to publish them please feel free to drop me an email at kate.reader@city.ac.uk.

Angela Dove the  Learning Development Associate for the Learning Environment and Lecturer at Cass Business School has been teaching in one of these rooms over the last term and has outlined her experiences below:

“The learning session was a Reflective Practitioner first year elective module for UG Management students.  It is normally taught in a standard classroom. The room was arranged for the previous session and the wheeled chairs and light tables were easily moved.

The lighting levels were very good, bright, but not glaring and a great contrast to the rather dingy lighting of the normal classroom. The heating level/ air quality was also good. In previous sessions in the normal classroom I have had to either open as many windows as possible, or students have sat in their coats. As students arrived they sat at different configurations of the flexible round “petal” tables. I noticed that:

  • Students tended to sit with colleagues that they did not usually sit next to when in the usual class room; which is arranged in uniform rows.
  • A couple of slightly late students did not have to disrupt the session by moving along rows of seated students, but quickly and quietly joined a table- based group.

The sightlines felt immediately better, it was easier to see and communicate with all the students (some sitting on higher stools towards the back). Whereas in the normal classroom, one is faced by either a wide angle of long rows of students, or the opposite, with rows of students stretching to the back of a narrow room. And the students one needs to try and engage more do in this type of space, tend to sit at the back.

This more organic space arrangement of groups made it possible to come out from behind the pod and move easily around the room and between clusters of tables.  In  Q and A sessions in a standard forward facing classroom the students very often have trouble seeing and sometimes hearing the student asking the question.  This space arrangement and swivel chairs allowed them to interact far more with each other, and the teacher, encouraging dialogue.

Another major benefit is the increased amount of vertical space available for learning opportunities. Three walls feature large panels of glass, which can be written and drawn on, and have an additional magnetic property. Paper materials, index cards, images etc. can be displayed using magnets, and easily moved around, without fiddling with blue- tac.

It is also possible to quickly rearrange the clusters of tables and chairs actually during the session, causing minimum disruption, and no heavy lifting.

For group work and paired activities, I could more easily give support, rather than having to clamber over rows of students to get to the group on the inside, or wall end of the row.

A visualiser is a useful tool for students to present their ideas, however this space also allowed a more collaborative approach, with students presenting their ideas on paper and freely circulating around each group table, viewing the work and discussing it.”  (reposted from LDC Vignettes)

If you would be interested in teaching in the new pilot spaces, or you have been allocated one of these rooms for your teaching and would like some more information on the different ways you can utilize the space for your classes please feel free to contact Angela Dove (angela.dove.1@city.ac.uk) or Kate Reader (kate.reader@city.ac.uk).

The Moodle discussion forum

Debbie Dickinson has many years’ experience in the creative industries sector, and is the director of the Creative Industries degree in the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management at City University London. She uses her background in events promotion and music management to run the Foundation Degree and BA, which culminate in a series of events at Camden’s Roundhouse every year.

In this case study she tells us about her use of the discussion forums in Moodle, which she has used extensively, and which won her an award at City’s Moodle awards for 2010-11. She finds that the discussion forums offer a way for students to extend their discussions and meetings outside the classroom, essential when promoting events such as music gigs. Moreover, this is a way to engage students with Moodle early on, helping to ensure they come to see the VLE as an essential and central part of their studies.

A Case Study: Online Marking in Moodle

James Anslow is a lecturer in the Department of Journalism at City University London. He was formerly Chief Production Editor at The Sun and The News of the World and runs the blog eJournalism UK.

He runs the undergraduate module on Editorial Production which introduces students to sub-editing, layout for print and web, script writing, copy writing and programme making. In this case study, he talks about his use of Moodle to mark scripts and design files online. James uses Moodle and the Turnitin plugin to mark hundreds of pieces of work a term.

A Case Study: The OU Wiki for reflection on professional skills

Dr Helen Scott and Dr Lara Zibarras teach on the MSc Organisational Psychology at City University London. They run a module called Professional Skills which introduces students to the range of practical skills and procedures required of practicing occupational psychologists.

In 2010-11 they took an innovative approach to their module assessment, using Moodle’s OU wiki tool to provide students with a framework for creating a reflective diary. Each week, Helen and Lara invited guest speakers to present on different aspects of professional practice in organisational psychology. The wiki-based diary provided the basis for the students’ assessed work for the module. In this case study they share their experience of using the tool and advice they would give to others considering using a similar assessment method.

A Case Study: Using Moodle on the Undergraduate Music Programme

Dr Christopher Wiley, Undergraduate Course Director at the Centre for Music Studies at City University London won a runners-up prize at the 2011 Moodle Awards. Along with the other winners, he was recognised at the LDC’s Learning at City Conference in June.

Chris pioneered the use of electronic assignment submission for the BMus programme, working with Michelle Parker, the programme administrator. He also uses online repositories such as New Grove, IMSLP, and Naxos, which creates a blended learning environment for the level 1 Study Skills module.

In this case study he discusses his experience of building the Moodle course: the challenges of online submission in Music; the advantages of providing scores, recordings, and articles online; and feedback from his students.