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.

Case study – creating presentations using prezi instead of powerpoint

Professor Suzanne Franks presenting at the symposium

Professor Suzanne Franks, Head of Undergraduate Journalism at City University London, wanted a more innovative way to present at the International Symposium on “China as a Development Aid Actor: Rethinking Development Assistance and its Implications for Africa and the West”  hosted by the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. We discussed the options and she decided to try to use prezi.com. Prezi is an online, cloud-based tool for creating presentations, exploring ideas and storytelling. Prezis can be played on a computer with internet access, downloaded for playing offline or played on an ipad by downloading a free app.

Professor Franks’ presentation was about the influence of China in Africa, particular in the media and media training. She decided she wanted to use images with no words and wanted to position the images/photos in the correct part of the country. She also used a map of Africa overlaid with the flag of the People’s Republic of China. You can see an image of this to the left (see the full prezi here).

Prezi is a really innovative presentation tool that can be used in many different ways. Here are some reasons to try prezi

1. Prezi moves slickly between images, graphics, text, video and audio so is very flexible

2. A prezi can be linear but is best utilised to introduce concepts or projects

3. Prezi allows you to zoom in and out of a bigger picture

4. Prezi is free for educators to use, just sign up with your university email account

I recommend that you take a look at their popular and award winning prezi presentations to give you an idea of how versatile the tool is and this blog post for tutorial videos

Lecture capture pilot project report

With the help of the Learning Development Centre and Information Services, the Education Support Team piloted a small-scale lecture capture project in the Spring term 2012. The project report is  available to read here, including case studies of use, analysis of staff and student evaluations, and usage statistics.

The lecture capture pilot reached approximately 1000 students on 19 modules in the Schools of Arts and Social Sciences, Informatics, Health Sciences and the Learning Development Centre in the Spring term 2012. There were 4,195 separate views of the recordings during this period, and usage reports show that the majority of use was around the exam revision period.

The student evaluation showed that 91% of students reported using the lecture capture recordings. The most popular uses of the recordings were for revision and to review areas that students did not understand the first time. 93% of students reported that the recordings helped their learning. A very small minority of students (3%) stated that they did not find the recordings necessary.

Presentations from the Learning @ City Conference

As Anna mentioned in a previous post, the entire team recently presented at the Learning Development Centre‘s Learning @ City Conference. Anna’s presentation with Isabelle Marcoul and Svenja Erich from the Centre for Language Studies won the prize for best paper.

My presentation, which was appropriately about lecture capture, was recorded using our Echo360 Personal Capture system. Click on the link below to watch it:

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Kate co-presented with Gunter Saunders from the University of Westminster on the FeedForward project, which we have piloted in Social Sciences as part of the JISC Making Assessment Count project. They gave a similar presentation at the Cass Teaching and Learning Showcase in May, which you can watch here:

MPG session from City University on Vimeo

Learning at City Conference – still time to book

Learning at City 2012 banner

Each member of the Education Support Team is speaking at the  Learning at City Conference on Wednesday 13th June. With a keynote from Professor Graham Gibbs it looks to be a worthwhile event to attend.

Our sessions

1.20-2.05 Making assessment count project with Kate Reader and Professor Gunther Saunders

2.15-3 Constructing online assessment with Anna Campbell, Isabelle Marcoul and Svenja Erich

2.15 -3 Students use of lecture capture for revision with Mo Pamplin and Kate Reader

Click here for the full programme for the day

There is still time to register for this event if you are City University London staff. Click here to register

City University London Researchers development Day, 4th May 2012

Researchers development dayThere are still places available for City University London staff to attend the Researchers’ Development Day on 4th May 2012.

The Researchers’ Development Day is a one day conference which aims to help researchers gain new skills and gives them the opportunity to network with staff from across the university. Sessions will cover a variety of topics aimed to help with the process of developing and disseminating research. Topics include: writing an effective CV; questionnaire design; preparing for your Viva Voce examination; writing a successful research funding bid. The event will also include a plenary session from Proffesor Jo Wood, winner of the Spotlight on Research prize, as well as a panel debate which will discuss the motion: “In an academically excellent university, how does research inform teaching?”

For more information and to book on (including specific session booking) please visit the website

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).