Media and Learning – Online Conference Highlights Part 1

This years’ Media and Learning conference like so many others, was held online over the course of 2 days in June 2020. I was due to attend in Belgium and present a paper on the video and multimedia project for the SHS Mental Health Nursing module completed last year. Its a truly European event and LEaD have attended and presented in recent years. What follows is a summary of one of the sessions that I joined that seem pertinent for our work here at City.

Session on dealing with the technical implications

The technical implications of adjusting media based services to meet the new demand have been daunting. In this discussion, we heard about the experiences of mainstreaming with the input of several practitioners; Carlos Turro Ribalta, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain, Erik Boon, VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Moderator: Janne Lansitie, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland.

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

For VU Amsterdam, the main challenge was synchronous online education. Google Meet tool but didn’t work well, so they had to implement Zoom for whole university, but with security issues to be coped with. Another technical impact was examinations, so they implemented TestVision, and online proctoring had to be set up quickly, using Proctorio, most issues were around synchronous activities. For asynchronous teaching the university is using MediaSite and Kaltura. For the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, they didn’t use Zoom for security issues, although its better than 2 months ago. But its heavily dependent on how you register students and authenticate, they prefer students to log in with their university account.

One common issue amongst the panel was being asked to support more than one platform.

For VU Amsterdam, Erik said the killer issue for Zoom is breakout rooms, which is not great, but its a key demand from teachers. For
Carlos, there are issues in Teams with student rights if given equal access they could remove teachers from class! All the speakers noted there are a lot of things you don’t know until it is rolled out in large way.

For video recordings by staff working from home, VU Amsterdam staff use MediaSite for Lecture Capture on campus and Kaltura [Mediaspace at City] for teacher/student generated content, as it offers desktop recording. They prepared 3 classrooms for staff to go to campus for them to record their lectures under H&S measures, but most teachers coped well at home. Erik said that an added requirement was for new teachers to support who will start soon for the new academic year.

The speakers added that students often have better technology at home than teachers, but that students may have limited internet access and unreliable wifi connections. It is one of the main issues for support that Carlos experiences in Valencia.

Janne asked if there was anything good to come out of this crisis?
Erik said that there was a greater awareness of possibilities and requirements for online education, assignment from board of directors to apply a more hybrid blended learning approach, synchronous teaching is demanding too much and has been found to be tiring for people to be online and live each day as it demanded a high concentration level.

Other session highlights to follow….

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