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December 19, 2017

Case Study: Feel the fear but doing it anyway; Learning experiences of everyday lecturers

Overview

This project is part of the Management Schools’ PG LUMSNET DL initiative where over the last 2 years a group of LUMS staff from all the School departments have been involved in an initiative to introduce and learn more about using and integrating digital learning pedagogical ideas, activities and resources into online learning designs and PG modules.

Initially, the PG LUMSNET DL group aimed to develop a short video to help to disseminate the learning and experience of becoming networked learning teachers using Moodle. The focus was on how to utilise and bring digital resources and practices into our teaching and learning – as such LUMSNET has been a capacity building activity with a focus on pedagogy (teaching and learning) rather than technology per se.

The project aim was to recruit a Lancaster student ambassador to produce a video that reflected the LUMSNET group different experiences and ways of using Moodle and help to:

  • Show others the different designs and ways Moodle can be adopted
  • Provide a resource for sharing our experience in our home departments and other contexts
  • Give us an ongoing resource for sharing how the experience of learning more about the difficulties, challenges as well as the achievements and triumphs through the whole experience

The project objectives were:

  • Interview each staff member involved about their learning and experience
  • Come up with some initial ideas for the video storyboard
  • Agree on the general script and approach to the video with the PG LUMSNET staff
  • Design and organise the style and format of the video
  • Produce the video

The deadline for the project completion was set for the end of March 2017 so that the project could be shown on the sharing practice event on 26th of April.  The purpose was to reflect upon the things that PG LUMSNET DL have been doing and their journey- exemplifying things they have particularly learnt and want to share with others- which can be a reusable resource to share in departments and elsewhere.

Feedback

In a project targeted at engaging with staff who have been involved in an integrating digital learning pedagogical ideas, one of the largest challenges of the project was to think of the idea of how to present and reflect the work originally and interesting, rather than simply presenting and describing the mini-module designs. In order to do this, I had to arrange meetings with the staff members who were willing to be interviewed and filmed.

Also, the video itself involved short moments of Lancaster University students that I had to do look all around the campus and get a verbal agreement to film them. Another difficulty that occurred was the equipment, to sort it out the ISS centre was contacted but due to high demand the full equipment wasn’t supplied, luckily I had a camera suitable for filming, although the audio recording wasn’t excellent quality, the problem was sorted by deciding to film the interviews in quiet spaces.

The concept of the interviews was aiming to look at it in terms of the different stages in the process and from the perspective of the journey the team have been on- including the original gears and anxieties through the growing confidence and understanding of how to develop and design the online modules and also integrate into current teaching.

Regular meetings related to the project process were significantly useful. This helped to create the map of the process development- how we set about deciding what equipment, software, and processes to use and where to turn for help. It also kept the work fluent and on track, all the deadlines were met on time. It happened to be that the whole process is another important output from the project. That is a useful resource to help others who want to make a video but don’t know where to begin. The video project is beneficial and useful for sharing more about digital learning and the use of Moodle within all our departments within the Management School. This is particularly timely as the School looks to enhance its online provision and programmes.

Outcome

On completion of the project, there is now an access to the LUMSNET folder where the archived information can be found for others from the Management School may like the project and try to implement their version, with help of existing materials. In addition, there is also a short video to help others learn about the experiences of developing the videos themselves. It explains that if someone else wanted to develop a video what would they need to do, what equipment would they need, do they need a storyboard or consider things like lightning, audio, spaces to record.

Lessons Learned

 The main takeaway from this project would be the understanding of how difficult it is to manage your time and know when to prioritise your work and when to focus on studying.  Further to this, I have learned a great deal about the forward planning that goes into creating a successful project.

Finally, I have vastly improved many ‘soft skills’ during this project – having had previously limited experience of project work alongside people much more experienced in their respective fields. Now I have greater confidence in formal Email communication, which grew as I contacted and worked with people from many departments within Lancaster University. Working independently to structure such a freeform project around my first-year studies is something which was difficult for me due to a highly variable workload, but which I improved over the year.