Media enriched teaching and feedback

Origin 

Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol

Contact

Dr Francesco Fornetti - F.Fornetti@bristol.ac.uk

Pete Herbert - pete.herbert@bristol.ac.uk

Tools used 

Objectives

Francesco believes that teaching should be more than a simple transfer of information and knowledge between the academic and the student. When redesigning the delivery of the Electronics 1 unit Francesco wanted to fully embrace the affordances given by technology, in particular simulation software and media content, to transform the teaching on the unit and change the predominantly passive approach to teaching and the resources used. Francesco’s main objective was to explore ways in which his teaching could spark curiosity and enthusiasm for the subject that his students would take beyond the classroom and laboratory sessions.

Background 

This approach was initially used on the first year unit Electronics 1 a unit which has circa 100 students solely taught by Francesco. As part of the assessment for the unit students were required to complete a laboratory experiment worth 20% of the total marks. In previous years students only received little information prior to the session meaning they spent valuable time experimenting with calculations in the sessions. As these sessions are relatively short the ability for students to develop their skills prior to the session meant that they would get the most out of the contact time with staff.

What was done

Central to the redesign of the teaching on the unit was the ability to provide students with access to the simulation software with supporting video tutorials.  Francesco wanted to provide his students with a variety of materials that would encourage them to learn at their own pace and outside of the teaching sessions. In order to encourage students to engage with the media resources in the unit the lectures involved the use of the simulation software and where possible lectures were recorded using Mediasite.

Students could install the simulation software to use on their own machines. They also had access to seven tutorial videos produced by Francesco which allowed them to get to grips with the software quickly. In addition to this the students could also borrow a home lab kit so they could try out the experiments at home before the lab session or to repeat them afterwards.

Where students had questions, Francesco also provided clarification using video resources to respond to the students personally. The videos were produced using the slides from the Lectures, OneNote and tablet device. Using video capture software the examples were worked through on screen with a voice over provided so the students could see how to approach the problem and had audio commentary on what was being done and why.  

Outcomes

what worked well

The use of videos helped students across the board, from those that had used the simulation software previously to those who were skeptical about its affordances. The video tutorials also benefited the students in the following ways:

Problems and/or issues

Using a tablet to provide content in a lecture has considerations when using the Mediasite technology in teaching rooms. This currently does not support HDMI input so a convertor to VGA will be required to allow the recording to take place.

To fully embrace this style of teaching a lot of skills are required and time to produce the materials.

Student feedback

"The video tutorials were great as they allowed us to get to grips with the lab beforehand, which made it less frantic and stressful in the labs themselves."

"This is an extremely good way of tackling a problem! couldn't fault it. Really appreciate the video, Thank you again"

"Thank you for your explanation video - it now makes perfect sense! I am also extremely grateful for the time and effort you put into responding so quickly to my question with a video."

 

Further information

Explore RF - Francescos Youtube channel

Example clarification video