Gita Persand – Henley Business School

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Overview

The main motivation for me to use personal capture was to create short videos (lasting six to seven minutes)explaining various financial concepts in Excel. I teach Financial Modelling (a practical hands-on module, taught in a computer lab) to Part 2 students, for which I created the videos using the Mediasite software. I then uploaded theto Blackboard (via a video library) for this module. I was consulting with colleagues working with me on using personal capture along with students while undertaking this task, and received strong constructive feedback from students regarding their increased understanding and the usefulness of the videos as revision materialsResponses to the survey I sent out were also highly positive with students strongly agreeing with the positive aspects of this project. 

Objectives

My objectives during the personal capture pilot project were:  

  • To enable students to go back to the videos as often as they want. There are lots of small steps involved in Excel, in the process to answering a numerical question – so students can catch-up on concepts they missed or did not understand the first-time round.
  • To allow students to watch the videos as revision guide/tool. 
  • To facilitate group projects – these videos can be accessed and watched by all members of the group, hence avoiding any misunderstanding of the process. 
  • To support students who wanted to get ahead of the lectures by giving them the opportunity to look at the videos beforehand. 
  • To encourage students to self-study and hence, become more independent learners. 

Context

Financial Modelling is an applied module, involving the use of Excel for its implementation. There are many steps involved in the computation of a financial model, hence personal capture is very helpful as it allows the students to get greater control of their learning e.g. pausing the videos and re-watching relevant parts.

Part 2 students made a request at our SSLC meeting (in December 2018) to have recordings for my module (IC206 Financial Modelling) – for reasons such as accessing the Excel explanations when attempting tutorials questions and for revising. However, there is currently no such facility in our Dealing Room where I teach this module. At the same time, staff were being invited to apply for this Personal Capture Pilot scheme which I thought would be brilliant for my module. 

During the lectures, I had to go and see/help students individually at their computers when they were stuck on certain features – which would sometimes mean that I might not finish the lecture on time. Hopefully, with the availability of these videos beforehand, this problem might not occur.  

Implementation

Following a bumpy start getting set up, I found the process of recording very straight forward. I followed TEL’s step-by-step guidance on Blackboard about how to do the recordings (on My Mediasite) and transferring the videos into the Video Library where students can access them. 

There were no students involved in the actual making of those videos but having spoken to them (in person) about this project, my opinion was that they would absolutely love this concept. From the student survey I sent out, one of the respondents claimed that he/she is jealous of the future cohort having access to these video resources!  

Impact

Though the response rate to the student evaluation survey was not very high, given the time of year they received it, everybody who filled in the survey had only positive comments.

The results from the survey were extremely positive, with students strongly agreeing as a result of having access to the screen-cast videos with (1) improved revision notes, (2) increased understanding of the materials, (3) engaging videos and lessons, (4) appropriate communications, (5) greater control of learning, (6) useful tool for catching-up, (7) complementing lecture notes and (8) discussions with peers as a result, among others. Students also mentioned that they are highly likely to watch those videos again. I also got a comment that this will not stop them coming to see me on an individual basis – which is good because the videos are not a substitute for this.

Based on the above initial comments, I would say that my objectives were met. As the response rate to my survey was not high, I did not receive any unexpected outcomes. I would expect more and positive feedback when I repeat this work with students next year.

I have been working with a small number of HBS colleague as co-partners on the project to help support them to use Mediasite for personal capture. Many colleagues in the Henley Business School are aware of the pilot project and interested by the potential in using screen-cast videos, contact hours with students might be reduced prior to tests, coursework deadlines and exams as students can refer to video support materials. Based on my conversations, many are keen to adopt personal capture once it is made available to all staff.

Reflections

The first challenge was to install the Mediasite software on my personal computer. I found it hard to set-up and I had to get the IT team involved – this was not very straightforward. However, once the software was installed and running, the whole process of creating videos and making them available on Blackboard was plain-sailing. Lots of detailed guidance was given by the TEL team on Blackboard.

The personal capture pilot project started in December 2018/January 2019 and I created these videos for a Part 2 module which takes place in the autumn term. This meant that I could not get a response from the initially targeted cohort. Ideally, I should have done this project for a module which I teach over the spring term – in this way I would have received contemporaneous feedback from the required audience.

The main challenge for using personal capture is to engage students, to ensure that students take the opportunities to watch the videos and gain knowledge from the process. I should have a good idea about this next year as an early adopter of the technology.

Follow up

I did not send the evaluation survey to the current students who were studying for the module (for whom the videos were made) this academic year. Hence, I would like to introduce this Personal Capture project to the Part 2 students during the autumn term of the 2019-2020 academic year and ask for them to complete a survey. One strategy for its evolution might be that the students would watch the basic Excel videos before the lectures – freeing some time at the end for attempting some of the tutorial questions.

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