Category Archives: videos

Video communication with students

Our portfolio of post-grad Radiotherapy and Oncology modules are delivered via distance learning. I’ve been aware for some while of the ‘dis-connect’ that might exist between students and academic staff as a consequence of the DL format. Can video communication be an effective means of bridging this gap and add something tangible that other synchronous and a synchronous methods miss? Other than the occasional Skype video call it isn’t something I’ve used.

Video-conferencing with students will be the subject of another blog post but this one focuses on using (brief) talking head videos to introduce ideas/concepts/information and to reflect on a first effort at this. I’ll try and follow this up at the end of the semester with an evaluation of how effective it has been.

So here is a brief introduction to a research methods module done via a web cam on my home PC. I’d welcome any feedback.

It wasn’t done in one take! The first 6 or so efforts ended with me forgetting what I was going to say or stalling. Basically messing up and getting angry with myself. I then decided to pause if I made a mistake and edit afterwards to try and make it look as seamless as possible. This wasn’t very successful either. In the end I relaxed a bit and worried less about talking in to the camera or being perfect in my delivery. What you see is the result of that.

On reflection I could have prepared a little better; both in terms of the delivery of the information and the recording of it. A few key words on a post-it note under the web cam would have allowed me to maintain eye contact with the viewer and still be aware of what I was trying to convey. Thinking about making the recording as professional as it can be/needs to be is not something you do when you are videoing the kids in the park on your phone. There are, though, tips that are worth following that can improve the quality of video blog style recordings. I found the basic principles recommended here to be useful and will be aware of these in the future.

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Appreciating the value of face to face collaboration

Day 4 of #BYOD4L offered an opportunity for those in the vicinity of Sheffield to meet up and have a chat. Many thanks to Andrew Middleton for arranging this.

I appreciate the chance to meet up with those I usually collaborate with via t’interweb and just ‘have a good old chat’. I find it stimulates a lot of creative sparks and ideas. Probably more so than those generated as a result of communication via the web. And certainly more immediately. However, being immersed in the conversation means I rarely take notes or record the discussion to help solidify my recollections afterwards. In other words, even though it makes my brain tick, I quickly forget what we talked about and fail to action all those really good ideas that germinate during the chat.

Obviously it’s essential to record those thoughts immediately afterwards but adopting this practice is usually a failing of mine. Something I’m not proud of.

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But even now, blogging this not long after after our meeting, in the pub while waiting for my train, I’ve already forgotten a fair bit of what we talked about (and not because of the beer) which is why it was a good idea that we collaborated to record some reflections at the time. ┬áIt was interesting that just before we decided to record the video that we realised that none of us could easily pinpoint the main points of the preceding discussion! Anyway, here it is.

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Reflections on building a peer network

Another #BYOD4L activity. Reflect on this:

So I tried:

Posting a video commentary like this is, erm, uncomfortable. Which is odd as I don’t worry about standing up in front of people in classrooms and conferences. Wonder why this felt different? Something to ponder on.

Oh, and I’m REALLY annoyed that I didn’t think and recorded this in portrait mode. I hate that …

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