Tag Archives: 360

A change in approach to educational technology projects for a bursary winner

Matt Goral
Educational Technologist
City, University of London

Media and Learning 2018 Conference – Leuven

It’s been several months since I attended the Media and Learning conference in Leuven, courtesy of a UCISA bursary. Whilst I was very inspired by the cutting edge projects with 360 video and interactive video, and would love to do something similar, it was the less visible threads that I noticed running through the discussions that had the biggest impact on me and the projects that I’ve been involved with since I came back from the conference.

Pre-production and handover

The importance of pre-production and planning were mentioned by a lot of people during the conference, but in a rather understated way I felt. It was acknowledged as something that we all know is important and should be done, but something which is rarely the focus of presentations. Lots of sharing of successes, sometimes of failures or obstacles, but almost never any detailed discussion of the planning stage, what documentation is important, how to ensure pedagogical effectives at the point of delivery.
I recently completed a large project that resulted in about an hour of footage and took over three months to finish. The direction and scope changed a few times, there were technical problems and decisions which we couldn’t anticipate, illness and holidays meant people were unavailable and dates slipped, etc. Normal project stuff. Without planning we would have struggled a lot of course, and location scouting, shooting cut-aways, sharing of interview questions beforehand was essential. However, it was only when some project members got ill I realised a lot of the editing, design and implementation decisions, were not written down anywhere and made handover impossible. I have made recommendations to our Project Office for such fail-safes to be included during pre-production on critical projects, so that in case of project members being unavailable, someone with similar skills could pick up the project.

Presence and presentation

The other idea I still think about months after the conference is the fact that presentation is a skill and that some people are more “watchable” than others. It seems obvious but has some implications which changed the way I approach video shoots.
The most important consideration is that not every video needs to have the presenter visible if they are not comfortable with appearing on screen. Screencasts, animations, podcasts, etc., are all great options if it is not possible to have the expert appear in person. Furthermore, studio setups with lots of hot lights, hanging microphones and multiple people can intimidate people. The results whilst maybe having perfect light, will be found lacking. Lots of people who ask for video, imagine themselves talking to camera from a teleprompter both of which are hard things to do and require lots of practice, not realising that a much simpler approach could be potentially more effective.
Keeping this in mind, I started to make decisions about how to approach projects by thinking about the subject matter and the skills and personality of the participant first, rather than pushing for best quality every time. It also made me behave differently when filming, where I try to make the person feel as comfortable as possible at the expense of ideal setup. The results have been very positive so far with people being pleasantly surprised by the experience even if they were dreading it to begin with.
Those two ideas have greatly influenced the way I approach projects nowadays. Whilst seeing finished projects and innovative ideas has been inspiring, often it is difficult to implement projects we’ve seen at conferences immediately. There isn’t always someone who would be interested in using 360 video in their module, for example, and pushing for it can lead to the medium not fitting the message and using new tech for the sake of it. For me the most valuable aspect of this conference were the ideas about planning and setup, rather than specific tech. In the future I will be looking out for similar threads.
Thanks again to UCISA for not only making it possible for me to keep developing my practice, but also as a result of attending the event, my conference reflections are being fed into a review of video and multimedia at City.
My blogs from the conference as a whole can be found here.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Innovation in HE video use

Matt Goral
Educational Technologist
City, University of London

Media and Learning Conference 2018 – Leuven, Belgium

Virtual reality and 360 video

I was fortunate enough to travel to Leuven in Belgium last month for the Media and Learning Conference, courtesy of a UCISA bursary.  In the course of the conference, there was quite a lot of discussion about virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 video. I highlight two particular projects below.
Kristof Cleymans and Annelies Huysentruyt from Artevelde University College talked about how they used 360 video and multi-camera recordings in nursing courses.
To better prepare student nurses for an upcoming practical exam, they gave them an opportunity to view the simulation room where the assessment will take place ahead of time. They took 360 videos and pictures, and annotated them with Vizor to show things like content of cupboards and available equipment. The feedback was very positive. The examiners really appreciated that students arrived at the examination much better briefed, and they were able to spend time discussing the assessment rather than familiarising students with the rooms.
Kristof and Annelies also worked on recording clinical assessments from multiple angles, specifically for feedback purposes. They were asked for help as that particular year there about three times more students in the cohort to give feedback for. Teachers were worried about the quality of the feedback. The recordings meant they were able to provide feedback to whole groups of students at the same time, and the feedback was much more accurate as they did not have to rely on memory. Additional benefit was that the feedback included a lot more positive observations and praise, rather than just focusing on the mistakes. The setup consisted of a few webcams positioned out of the way around the assessment room.

The second project involved Rob Higson and Matt Howcroft from University of Derby working with a literature lecturer. The lecturer said that first year students are really unprepared for studying poetry and wanted to create a resource that would help her address that. The team produced a 360 video that walks the students through a poem, comprised of many creative pieces of footage. The 360 let the students watch and create their own journey through it, whilst listening to a performance of the poem. Some students were given the opportunity to view it using VR which was received very positively. One important piece of advice said to slow everything down and make the cuts a lot gentler than usual, as it is not clear where the students might be looking at any given moment and sharp changes could disorient them, ruining the experience. To ensure students get the most out of it, the video was preceded with explanations on what to consider whilst watching and how it ties to the theory explored in the module.

Interested in applying for a UCISA bursary? Then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.