This blog post reports on a short project to support academic staff to produce videos at their desks and communicate via online webinars. A number of LJMU staff were provided with webcams and headsets. The aim was to see if access to recording technology increases the use of specific tools such as Panopto, web conferencing and Adobe Connect.
Access to this equipment (headsets and webcams) appears to make a positive impact on the number of videos created by these staff; those who received the equipment made more recordings in Panopto compared with the staff who did not receive them over the same period. This could be because this set of users tended to use Panopto more frequenty, but, when considered alongside the comments made by staff, it appears that access to this equipment makes an important contribution to their teaching practice and work processes.
There are a few Video tools available to help staff create Video content. Panopto is the institutional recording system that allows staff to create recordings in the classroom and at their desk. Adobe Connect allows staff to run webinar teaching sessions and virtually connect with students. Web conferencing allows staff to connect with research colleagues or students for one-to-one or many-to-many discussions online. Video and communication technologies require staff to have access to either headsets or webcams and the TEL want to help support and encourage the adoption of these technologies. A small amount of funding was allocated to help support this process. This purchased:
- 35 X Logitech H390 USB Headset with Microphone
- 35 X Logitech C920 HD Webcam
In September 2018 the LJMU TEL team contacted 49 Adobe Connect users and 223 of the highest Panopto users to ask them if they wanted this equipment. 72 staff replied stating their preference for a webcam or a headset, and which systems they intended to use them with.
Staff were emailed at the end of the year to see if they had used the hardware, and why. In addition to this, the statistics for Panopto were explored to see if those who had received one had made additional recordings.
There was a 31% increase in the number of Panopto videos created overall, in this group, between the year they received the equipment and the previous year. This is higher than those staff who did not receive the equipment for the same period, where there was a 25% increase in the number of videos created.
The staff were asked if they found the technology useful. All the comments were positive.
“The headset is great, its sound quality is excellent.”
“The webcam is fantastic.”
“It has made a big difference to me (and students). It is time-saving – I don’t have to repeatedly demonstrate IT procedures to students”
Staff were asked how they had used the headset or webcam. The majority of staff are using it to make recordings on Panopto at their desk. These were mostly ad hoc recordings which were aimed at helping students with specific aspects of their course.
“I have used it frequently to create “how-to-do” videos”
“demonstration of some basic lab techniques”
Many staff are are using it together with webinar technology to support students, or talk to research colleagues. One is using it to support a partnership programme.
“I use it almost daily for various meetings, either Skype, Adobe Connect, Zoom. Meetings with students and external colleagues.”
A small number of staff had only used the webcam or headset once or twice, and were planning to use it more in the future. This could indicate an issue with workload or the need for further support during the allocation process.
“I’m planning to make some short videos for my L6 module over the summer, so would like to hang on to it if that’s ok.”
Funding has been allocated to allow more staff access to this type of equipment.
One staff member who received this equipment has since discussed how this changed his practice when developing video content. Here is a recording of this presentation (note this is only available to LJMU staff)