As we prepare to teach in a flexible manner for the fall, one question that comes up is how to provide what may have been lecture in a face-to-face class, to what will be a distance/online class in the fall. It is possible to use Zoom and PowerPoint to record a video containing a slideshow and webcam.
The general order of operations to use Zoom to record a PowerPoint slideshow is:
Open PowerPoint and have the presentation ready to show.
Open the Zoom desktop app in the same space as the PowerPoint.
Start the Zoom meeting, share the screen containing the PowerPoint window, begin recording.
Start the PowerPoint slideshow.
You should see yourself in a small window on top of the presentation. You can move, resize, and minimize this window.
Proceed through the presentation. Adjust your video/webcam window as you need through the presentation, but try to minimize the amount of movement.
Note: You may want to format your slides to account for the webcam overly by leaving that area of the slides empty. Doing so will minimize how much you need to move the webcam overlay.
Close PowerPoint. End the screen share. Stop the recording and then leave the meeting. The video will begin to process/convert. Once it is complete a folder with the video will open.
The process looks like a lot written down, but it isn’t as challenging in practice as it might appear.
There are two settings you will want to address in the Slideshow settings/ribbon. Take note of the monitor PowerPoint will use. Make sure that this is the same as the screen you will share from Zoom. Deselect “Use Presenter View.”
These settings may be accessed from the Zoom desktop app by clicking the gear icon underneath your profile image in the upper-right corner of the app window. You will only have to set these once.
In the Recording settings you will want to make sure to that you:
We are in unprecedented times. The spring term has been a time of triage, of doing what we can to meet students and create any learning experience possible. Many have used our learning management system, Moodle, for the first time (Kudos!) And some are relying on it just a bit more than they have before. According to data being collected by colleagues in the Office of Research Administration, student experience in this new paradigm within Moodle has varied. Some have been able to take it in stride and some have experienced challenges. The purpose of this post is to provide brief design examples and recommendations that an instructor may implement in their Moodle course to help make the student experience as good as it can be.
As an aside I will mention that Shannon Newman and I presented a workshop where we shared strategies for making a course more inclusive with Moodle tools. You may see the slides here.
What follows are some strategies with examples that you may choose to implement in your Moodle course(s).
Strategy 1 – Use Topic Zero With Care
The first topic section in every Moodle course is “Topic 0.” One special characteristic of this section is that it is always visible no matter which course format you choose.
This makes it a great place for more static information like a syllabus, office hours, and course description. Care should be taken to only place what is necessary in this section. Keeping the information in this section concise will limit how much the students have to scroll to access other course materials.
Strategy 2 – Use images
Images can bring color and increase interest on your course page. While cliché, there is some merit to the phrase, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” Used in the right way, an image can additionally help bring clarity to a concept or provide commentary on a specific idea. Below (1) is an example of a banner image from Martyn Smith’s RLST 205 course, “Religion and the Biosphere.” The image adds interest and is tied to the course theme.
The second image (2) is used to convey information to the students about how they can interact in the course.
One note on using images: Best practice would dictate that all images be accessible, containing alternative text (alt text) where necessary. The Moodle text editor provides you direction for entering alt text and/or giving you the option to not include it if the image is decorative. In the above example the banner image is most likely decorative and doesn’t need alt text. The second image would require a description to allow those using screen reading software to know what the image was about.
Strategy 3 – Limit Cognitive Load
Limiting the amount of content that students must consume in an interaction with your course can open mental bandwidth for them to focus on the course content and work that you have for them. There are a number of ways that you can support students in this. One way exampled in both Martyn Smith’s RLST 205 and Shannon Newman’s BIOL 354 course, is that only the most current week/topic (RLST 205,) or all past and current are visible, but future topics are hidden (BIOL 354). Topic sections may easily be hidden by the instructor.
Another way to help focus students’ attention is to use an alternative course format. Two useful ones are collapsible topics or weeks. They function as they sound, allowing each topic to be collapsed or expanded as the student needs or desires.
We can see an example of this in the image below from Shannon Newman’s Molecular Biology course. There is an option to expand all sections in the upper right. Each section contains an arrow on the left to expand or collapse that section. Two benefits of this format are that 1) it provides a list of the activities and resources contained in that section, and 2) shows a progress counter so that students can see how much they have completed in a section. This supports their executive function.
One last way to limit cognitive overload is to group information within a Book, Page, or Folder resource. Each of these provide a way to consolidate large amounts of information or files into a single link on the course page.
Strategy 4 – Use Consistent Organization & Visual Design
A Moodle course is an extension of the class environment and in this current circumstance THE class environment. An instructor can provide context for the course materials which will in turn help students navigate, locate, and use those course materials. This is accomplished by using a consistent layout and visual design. An example of this can be seen in Shannon Newman’s Molecular Biology course.
In the image above we see four distinct sections within the topic section: an overview, Lecture Recordings and PowerPoints, Laboratory, and Assignments. Each of the subsequent sections in Shannon’s course follow this same format. Doing so provides a consistent structure to help the students find what they need. Creating sub-sections within a topic section can be accomplished by using a Label resource to create a heading and then indenting (“Move right”) the items below the heading.
Where the section structure may differ from topic to topic with additional or less materials, e.g. there is an additional section for “Exam Information” in the second module of Shannon’s course, the order is kept consistent to allow the students to easily scan over the materials and find what they need.
Strategy 5 – Avoid the Scroll-of-Death
Moodle makes it very easy to add materials to a course. It is simple as dragging them from your computer’s desktop or folder into your Moodle course. As a result a course can end up consisting of a long list of documents and activities requiring students to scroll and scroll to see materials later on in a course.
A number of the strategies mentioned above may help combat this (Collapsible topics/weeks, hiding topic sections, using Book, Page, or Folder resources.) Making an effort to limit scrolling is especially important as more and more users access Moodle from a mobile device. By way of illustration during the first four weeks of winter term 41% of users accessed Moodle from a mobile device. During the first four weeks of spring term this number has increased to 53%. Ignoring this trend means creating barriers for users and creating a less inclusive environment.
Using the handful of strategies presented can help make your course more accessible, pleasant, and useful to students. The easier it is for your students to navigate your Moodle course the more they can concentrate on the task of learning. Please reach out to Instructional Technology if you have any questions about the strategies shared here.
One part of creating an inclusive classroom is making sure that the materials we use are accessible to those with disabilities. As the University of Washington Accessible Technology blog points out, there are some common steps that one can take regardless of the type of document. These include:1
The Lightboard, LU’s version of Learning Glass, is a way to engage students with lecture while maintaining eye contact with them. The current iteration supports recording of video that may be used in a flipped model. Instructional Technology invites any interested faculty to contact them about using the Lightboard.
I write today to share a video playlist resource for faculty, and their students developed through a collaboration between Instructional Technology and Mudd Library staff. We have created a series of three videos in support of podcasting projects.
The videos are hosted on the Podcasting page within the Digital Media Toolbox. we invite any instructor interested in having students complete a podcasting project to use these videos. Not to prescribe use of this resource, but the videos could be used in a flipped workshop model, where students view the video(s) ahead of time and then Instructional Technology or the Mudd Library staff could attend a class to facilitate work on a facet of the actual project.
The playlist shares recording tips, resources the Library has to offer, and how to get started editing in Audacity.
I write today to share a link to a number of resources. Since coming to Lawrence I have begun curating a number of guides in the “Teaching and Learning” category. The purpose of these guides is to provide resources for instructors and their students. This list of guides is chosen to support instructors in making their courses more active and inclusive; and supporting students in their coursework.
If you are interested in viewing other guides you may do so by navigating to the Library’s main page (https://lawrence.edu/library), and then clicking the “research guides” link located on the right under the “Research Guides” heading.
Rather than providing a summary for each guide in the teaching and learning list, I prefer to call out a few that I think are most important.
The first in this list is the Universal Design for Learning, Neurodiversity guide. Universal design for learning (UDL) is a design framework for reducing and removing barriers in the teaching and learning experience. Its purpose is to make the learning experience more inclusive and to produce self-directed and engaged learners. This guide provides an overview of UDL, explanations for each of the three principles (Representation, Engagement, and Expression), and an overview of what neurodiversity is and implications for teaching and learning. UDL has great potential to better the teaching and learning experience, particularly in the areas of student agency and executive function. One increasing issue faced on our and many campuses is clinical anxiety. UDL provides the means for an instructor to support a student by providing the structures and tools to help the student manage their work in a more digestible manner.
The third and last guide in this list is the Digital Media Toolbox. This guide was created with the purpose to be a resource for instructors and students in the creation of digital media. Among other things this guide provides information on copyright and citation of media, finding media that may be re-used in projects, and campus resources for creating projects. Digital media projects are a way to provide students options in how they show what they know (a tenet of UDL and the principle of Expression). They also allow the students to express creativity and participate in something that may be perceived as fun. These are all positives in a learning experience leading to increased engagement.
I invite you to review these guides in particular and the rest in the list too. Please feel free to reach out to me through comments or contacting me directly. I am happy to discuss the content in these guides and how it relates to the teaching and learning process.
I am new to podcasting, but recently came across what I think is a cool tool for those interested in podcasts. There are applications of this site that may make it a powerful pedagogical tool.
Listen Notes is a search engine for podcasts. You might wonder why a person might want such a thing when there is Google, but hopefully this post might share some reasons why. Listen Notes allows you to search for podcast episodes by keyword or topic. It can be a great way to find content you are interested in and discover new podcasts.
In addition to the search function, Listen Notes provides a Listen Later list. A person can save podcasts or single episodes to this list to listen to … later. Here is an example of my initial Listen Later list. One can even subscribe to the Listen Later feed in a podcast app to a curated list of episodes. In the words of the creator/developer, “it is like Pocket / Instapaper for podcasts.” This function alone can be valuable for someone looking for content about a specific topic. It can serve as a support in a personal learning network.
This same function could be used to create publicly available curated lists of episodes. These lists can be curated collaboratively. I could see this function being used by an instructor to curate a list of episodes for a class or for having students create a curated list on a given topic.
I am excited to use this new-to-me tool and to see how I can leverage it to increase my own learning and support others’ learning.
My previous employer made use of GSuite for Education. One thing I have missed from Gmail is canned responses. These allowed me to create and save recurring responses or bits of text that I could insert into other messages. I found out today that this is possible to do in Outlook. Creating these messages is such a time saver. Check the link below to read about how to set it up.
Pro Tip: if you want to make it easier to use your Quick Parts you can add Quick Parts to the new message Quick Launch area. To do so navigate to the item on the ribbon, right-click and select, “Add to Quick Launch.” Then the Quick Parts are only a click away. The animated GIF below illustrates the steps mentioned.
One common question that I receive is, “How can I transcribe this audio or video file?” Providing transcriptions for media make them more accessible and searchable. The list below offers some options that I have gathered over the years.
These use machine learning to produce the transcript.
Trint.com – $15/hr. (they offer a 30 min free trial)