Thursday, 16 April 2015

The growth in video in teaching and learning at NUI Galway

The Kaltura Connect Education Virtual Summit will take place on 28th May this year (you can pre-register here) and I was absolutely delighted to be invited to give a talk, based on our experiences at NUI Galway. The talk was recorded last month in New York City, against the backdrop of Central Park.

The recording "studio". Photograph taken by Anna Dutton.

All sounds a bit crazy? Well, yes, it was. Especially since this has happened before. But I did get to New York last month, where I recorded my talk in front of two video cameras, to two cameramen, a sound engineer and a couple of other people. I also attended the Kaltura Education Customer Advisory Board, and caught up with new developments in video technology for education.

When the invitation came in, I spent a bit of time thinking about what I could talk about. NUI Galway has been a Kaltura customer for almost 4 years, so I thought I'd take a closer look at the analytics available to us. I focused on the calendar years 2012 to 2014, for which we have full data.

The Big Picture

To give some context, we integrated Kaltura into our Blackboard environment at the very beginning of 2012, keeping it in "pilot mode" for the second semester of that academic year by only telling a few video champions about its existence. A small number of other academic staff stumbled across its functionality and also started using it.

By the Summer of 2012, once we'd ironed out any issues, and learned about it more as a team, we began to promote the tools more actively. In particular, we offered workshops and demonstration sessions.

The number of contributors (staff and students) who uploaded at least one video to Kaltura via Blackboard increased from 58 in the first year to 156 in 2013 and to 319 last year. I think that this increase is down to two things:
  • The promotion and training offered by the Learning Technologies team to support staff in their use of the tools, and
  • The ease of use of the tools themselves. Most staff are very pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to created a webcam recording or record themselves talking over a powerpoint.
The number of uploads in the first year was 287, compared to a total number of uploads of 962 in 2014. The number of media entries played in each of the three years speaks for itself.

The Analytics within the Kaltura Management Console allow admins to dig deeper into these numbers. For example the most played video in the last year is Examinations Advice  which was made available to students at the appropriate time of the year as part of a Blackboard System Announcement.

Breakdown per month

By extracting some of the data from Kaltura Analytics, I was able to take a look at the content contributions and views per month over the three years.

The graph for contributions has been adjusted slightly. It had been skewed by the fact that a single contributor uploaded 181 videos alone in January 2014. By removing that figure, the graph is definitely more readable. It's clear that very little activity is taking place during the summer months, outside of the teaching periods. There is a very definite increase in August, in preparation for the new academic year, with a lot of activity taking place in October and November, and a decline again as teaching ends in December.

Targeted training events took place in August 2013, December 2013, August 2014 and October 2014 - the effect of which is quite visible in the graph above.

The graph of content views per month mirrors that of contributions, but on a much bigger scale. Again it's clear that most of the activity takes place during the teaching period, with reduced viewing activity from May to August.

How is it being used?

The numbers and graphs are interesting, and certainly useful when you need to argue a case. But more interesting are the stories behind the numbers. For example, the contributors are not just academic staff - there is also an increase in video assignments, where the students create a video and upload through the Kaltura tool on Blackboard.

In my recorded presentation for the Kaltura Connect Education Virtual Summit, to be shown as the opening talk on 28th May, I give some examples of the uses of video in teaching and learning at NUI Galway. I had quite a lot to choose from.

A final thought

There's no doubt that video offers a lot of opportunity in teaching, learning and assessment, for teachers and learners alike. The Kaltura tools make things very simple for users - there's no fiddling around with file formats and post-production can be minimal. But just having the tools and making them available doesn't mean that staff and students will use them, or indeed use them in an effective and productive way for teaching and learning. Support and guidance is crucial. That's where the Learning Technologies Team comes in at NUIG. We can help with the technical stuff, but we're also ready to advise with best practice and a wealth of experience.

1 comment:

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