Prof Suzanne Graham: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Prof Richard Mitchell: email@example.com
Dr Yota Dimitriadi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Schools: MPCS and Institute of Education
This article reports on the joint Institute of Education / Department of Computer Science Leverhulme funded project concerned with improving online learning for three groups of students. Various recommendations are made, some relating to the Yuja lecture capture system. More details are on our DEAL site https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/deal/.
- To identify optimal conditions for presenting learning information for students in HE, specifically across three student groups: – deaf/hearing impaired (DHH); with dyslexia (DYS), those with English as a second language (L2)
- To establish a platform for developing an agile system responsive to different user needs
- To use this evidence base to inform the development of guidance to providers of online learning
Although the prime focus of the project was on Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) learners, research suggests that students with literacy and language difficulties also benefit from captioning and visual materials. We used material from two of the University’s well established MOOCS on FutureLearn Begin Robotics and Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT which had material in various formats.
We created two versions of online learning materials across these content areas. One version of the materials was ‘unenhanced’ – termed MOOC. The other version was ‘enhanced’ to offer greater support to learners (for example, through British Sign Language, BSL), termed DEAL.
Participants (109, randomly allocated to conditions) viewed the materials in an online interview after completing tests of literacy and prior knowledge. After viewing they completed quizzes to assess learning, and questionnaires and an interview to gauge their views on and attention to various features of the materials. Additional participants (26) viewed the Robotics materials while their eye-movements were tracked.
The University’s lecture capture system Yuja stores information from the lecturn computer and an optional camera. Students can view any result on the YuJa server, controlling captions and the two streams from the computer and camera. The camera can be used to record a signer live, but a video of a signer done elsewhere can be merged with that from the lecturn.
The project recommends
- Adding Advance Organisers (signposts given to students before they undertake an activity to help them structure the information they are about to learn and to direct their attention to key points).
- Pre-viewing explanations of key subject specific terminology.
- Breaking some of the information down into smaller segments with summaries.
- Adding British Sign Language to video clips.
- Drawing participants’ attention to how to modify and use captions.
The overriding message for online learning is that personalisation of modifications is key, and that can be achieved by systems such as
- Ally, where students can access material in different formats
- YuJa, where students can personalise captions and signing.
- For both content areas, post-viewing quiz scores for MOOC and DEAL were very similar.
- For Robotics, DHH DEAL participants had higher average post-viewing scores than DHH MOOC participants, giving some indication that the DEAL modifications helped.
- Across all groups, DEAL modifications were found helpful by many participants. There was however a lot of individual variation regarding what was helpful/unhelpful. Participants wanted to be able to personalise their viewing: for example, by moving the BSL to a certain area of the screen, to lessen cognitive overload.
Specifically for the DHH students, we recommend
- Provide a BSL version that can be turned on or off. Not all DHH students find BSL helpful or use it as their first and preferred language so the option to select BSL is likely to be helpful.
- The option to move the interpreter to other parts of the screen was also favoured, which can be achieved for instance by Yuja, see link below.
Currently, relevant videos in the Begin Robotics MOOC are being enhanced to incorporate relevant findings from the project. These will be available in future runs, which will also be taken by the first year Computer Science students.
The project web site https://blogs.reading.ac.uk/deal/
Viewing a video and a signer on Yuja https://reading.yuja.com/V/Video?v=186538&a=492227066
The Begin Robotics MOOC https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/begin-robotics