The MILL: Guest Starring iTunes U

Words Associated with the MILL Launch

The MILL: Guest Starring iTunes U event was held on 1st November 2011 and was designed to launch both iTunes U and the MILL at City University London, making staff aware of how both can help to develop their teaching practice.  Coordinated by Sandra Partington, Steve McCombe, Siân Lindsay and Sara Reimers, who came up with the idea of a one-off launch with a film theme, the event attracted more than sixty delegates from across the whole range of Schools, including Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Curran and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Education Professor David Bolton.

The event took the format of a film-themed open day at which attendees were encouraged to explore the MILL and its facilities, getting involved with interactive presentations by LDC staff in each room.  Visitors were welcomed to the event in the foyer, and issued with a ‘ticket’ and popcorn to begin their cinematic experience.

Cinema and iTunes U

For one night only the MILL’s small training room was transformed into a cinema, where a showreel of some of the best examples of iTunes U episodes were screened to an audience treated to ice-cream and Haribo sweets.

To find out more about our iTunes collection please follow the link to our site or watch a selection of videos without downloading iTunes .

 Behind the Scenes  

In the MILL’s Office, Sandra Partington and Mo Pamplin offered a rolling programme of 15 minute demos, which focussed on both equipment and programs such as the iTunes U Live site, iPads, video cameras and editing software.


The MILL’s podcasting rooms were transformed into studios in which Olivia Fox and colleagues demonstrated some of the uses of Adobe Presenter and Adobe Connect. Julie Attenborough (SHS), Ian Glover (SOI), and Charles Watson (SOI) showcased some of the best examples of assessment feedback including the use of audio and video.

TV Studio

In the MILL’s state of the art TV studio (recently seen on the BBC’s One Show) Steve McCombe gave staff a tour of the facilities and they had the opportunity to test out its blue screen function.  Through the magic of technology staff were transported from the Eiffel Tower to the moon and back, and encouraged to think how these technologies could help their students engage with their subject in a new and creative way.

 iTunesU & Mac driving test

In the large training room staff were invited to take a web quest, acquainting themselves with the mac computers and answering questions as they went along.  Everyone who completed the quest was entered into a prize draw for the opportunity to win a £20 Odeon Cinema voucher, Pascale Colanna-Cesari (SHS) was the lucky winner. 

Coffee Shop

The MILL’s meeting room was transformed into a coffee shop for the night where guests were treated to coffee and cake, as well as more movie-themed confectionary such as ice-cream, popcorn and sweets.


In the five months since the event staff from across all Schools have signed up to attend workshops and training offered by the MILL, twenty six of whom used the new online booking system put into place as a result of the launch.  We also now have an online evaluation form, which will make the feedback process quicker and easier.  In addition to training, the MILL has also seen a significant rise in the number of equipment loan requests made by staff, and a considerable number of bookings of MILL spaces such as the podcasting rooms and TV studio.

The MILL has supported various filming projects including an award winning film project made by Optometry students, available to watch on YouTube.

Other departments such as Careers and the Students’ Union have also used the MILL as part of an exciting project called City on Screen. Farzana Latif (SHS) and Steve McCombe (LDC) recently collaborated on a video pitch for JISC funding, watch the video here.

It has also attracted the attention of staff external to City University London, with the Society for Research in HE booking to use the space and the BBC’s The One Show using the studio for filming in late 2011.  The MILL is also at the forefront of pioneering new technology, taking part in the Lecture Capture pilot project being run by SASS.

The MILL has also been out on the road, launching its popup cinema at theLDC’s Showcase in January, something that it will be repeating at other venues in the near future.

The Future

The MILL continues to go from strength to strength, reaching an ever-growing number of staff from across the University.  Over the next year we aim to:

  • Expand the number and range of courses
  • Increase the use of the MILL spaces
  • Raise awareness of the MILL with academic staff
  • Become a growing presence in the University as a hub for collaboration

We will continue to gauge our impact and research the needs of our colleagues, to ensure that we provide the training and facilities to best support the changing needs of staff at City University London.

Sandra Partington, Educational Developer

Sara Reimers, Learning Development Support Officer

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