Teacher’s Tips – Lecture Recordings+

Teacher’s Tips – Lecture Recordings+

UNSW Lecture Recordings+ (LR+) (powered by Echo360) is a service that supports learning and teaching in a range of teaching modes with tools that can be used by students before, during and after class.

Hear from our academics on:

  • what LR+ active learning tools they are using and why,
  • what were the outcomes of using LR+, and
  • what advice they would give to others wanting to use LR+

If you also use LR+ and have some tips to share, we'd love to hear from you! Contact us
 

Dr Christine Lindstrøm - School of Physics, Faculty of Science

Dr Christine Lindstom
Dr Christine Lindstrøm - Lecturer, School of Physics, Faculty of Science​​​​​

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
I use the polling functionality in LR+ to implement a pedagogical method called “Peer Instruction” in PHYS1211 “Energy and the Environment”, a general education physics course with about 60 enrolled students. I have used Peer Instruction in my physics courses since 2012, and it is one of my favourite teaching tools.

Peer Instruction is a teaching method developed by Harvard Physics Professor Eric Mazur to help students deepen their conceptual understanding. Although it’s developed for physics, it works well across a variety of fields. Peer Instruction follows a very specific sequence, where students first are asked a question (usually in a multiple choice format), which they need to think about and answer independently - here I use the polling tool in LR+. I can review the answer without revealing it to the students, and if between 20% and 80% of the students answer correctly, I ask them to discuss their answer with a peer, preferably one who responded differently. After a couple of minutes of discussion, students answer the same question again. I then ask the class to offer arguments for each response - so that we expose and clarify any misconceptions or misunderstandings - before I reveal the class responses before and after the discussion and explain the correct answer. 

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
Students loved it! In my final lecture, I asked students to complete a course evaluation in which one of the questions were “How valuable were the following for learning course material? (1 = no value; 5 = very valuable)”. Peer Instruction with LR+ was rated the most valuable activity - of out seven - for learning course material, with an average score of 4.54 (26 out of 30 students completed the course evaluation).

Peer Instruction with LR+ helps me gauge my students’ understanding of key concepts, and also communicates to the students what level of understanding and application of the content covered I expect from them in the course (remembering facts won’t do). Because I require students to talk to peers during class, I strongly encourage them to sit in a restricted rectangular area of the lecture theatre - the corners of which are marked by white tea towels - which also prevents the students from hiding at the back or in the corners.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
I would encourage anyone who is even mildly interested to give Peer Instruction with LR+ a try! It’s one of the most enjoyable, engaging and informative pedagogical tools I know. I have my PowerPoint slides on the lectern desktop and used LR+ through my laptop, which I find is the most flexible way of using the tool. And don’t overdo it - just plan for one or two questions per class, but use them properly following the full Peer Instruction protocol to get the most out of the questions. It can also be a good idea to run the questions you prepare past a colleague to make sure they are clearly formulated and that the alternatives don’t contain any obviously wrong answers that no one will be tempted to choose. 

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You can view Dr Christine Lindstrøm's presentation Making room for active learning at the 2019 Learning and Teaching Forum on November 26, 2019 on the UNSW Learning and Teaching Forum Moodle course site (self-enrolment key: lntforum)

Dr Amandine Schaeffer - School of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science

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Dr Amandine Schaeffer - School of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
I use the interactive quiz activities in my large lecture classes to foster active learning. Initially, a few polling questions allowed me to get to know my students better (backgrounds, expectations etc...) and over the whole term I use live quiz to enhance student's reflection and engagement.

Typically, at the beginning of a class, they connect to LR+ with their phones or laptops and answer a few questions about the previous lecture in the form of multiple choice, order list, short answer or image quiz. The idea is to remind them of the content of the previous class, make sure they identify and understand the main points, ask for clarification if necessary, and get their minds ready for the following topic. After a few minutes I project their answers together with the correct ones and refer to the relevant lecture slides over which I spend some more time if the quiz results suggest some confusion.

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
Many students listed the interactive quiz as a positive activity in their course feedback. The interactive activities encourage not only student engagement but also collaborative work, as they are are encouraged to share a laptop and discuss their answers. It also helps me as the lecturer to identify confusing points and adapt my teaching.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
Get into it! Despite the initial time investment, once the library of questions is created it takes only 5 minutes to choose the relevant questions for next class and drag them into the right folder. The only tricky point is the timing of the interactive activities during the class: the students need enough time to reflect and answer, while the course content still needs to be covered. However I found that setting a routine (quiz at the same time every week) saves some time, with the students getting into it straight away when they arrive.

Dr Noel Hanna - Leading Education Professional (Science), Diploma Program, UNSW Global

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Dr Noel Hanna - Leading Education Professional (Science), Diploma Program, UNSW Global

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
At this stage I am focused on using LR+ as a way to make my lectures more interactive, rather than focusing on the recorded lecture as the final product. For that reason, early in the lecture I will use an activity question to entice students to access the lecture slide deck. During that time, I might go ‘off mic’ and walk around the theatre to make sure that students can log on, and to discuss the question. Once I know that the majority of students are using the slide deck, I can periodically use activity slides to assess prior knowledge before introducing a new idea, or to identify confusion. I also give students options as to whether to go into more detail on a topic, or to move on. The activity slides are also well suited to the Predict, Observe, Explain format introduced to me by Assoc Prof Liz Angstmann in the School of Physics. When demonstrating a scientific experiment, I ask students to predict what they think will happen, they then watch the demonstration and explain how it fits in with their understanding of the scientific principle. Getting direct feedback from students at that point allows me to address misconceptions  

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
I am still in the early stages of using LR+, so I can’t be sure yet. The general feedback from students is positive but one surprise is that I was expecting students to make more use of the confusion flag and Q&A features. So far these haven’t been widely used. The main outcome for me has been the motivation to improve my question writing. Writing good interactive questions is difficult; too easy and students aren’t likely to bother, too hard and they will just wait for the correct answer. You also need to allow enough time, so that students can make a meaningful attempt at the activity. I’m still working on finding the right balance.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
The Lecture Recordings+ name might sound a bit off putting, don’t think of the lecture recording, focus on the lecture interaction. You can choose the features of the system that suit the way you lecture. For example, if you have lots of animations in your PowerPoint slides, or you like to write by hand, then you can still present in that way and just switch to LR+ for interactivity when needed. The important thing is that your expectations are clear to your students. If you want them to interact then they need to be logged in to Moodle and have accessed the lecture slide deck. They should also know when and how you will respond to questions, comments and confusion (see Prof Gigi Foster’s comments below).

Professor Gigi Foster - Director of Education, School of Economics, UNSW Business School

Professor Gigi Foster - Director of Education, School of Economics, UNSW Business School
Professor Gigi Foster - Director of Education, School of Economics, UNSW Business School

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
I use what used to be called the Active Learning Platform, which is a system into which you load PDF or PPT slides in advance and into which students can log in during lectures.  The system allows students to type responses to the lecture material in real time, and throws their questions and comments up on the screen as you lecture (though the lecturer can also hide the Q&A pane if it gets too overwhelming or time-consuming to respond in-flight to the questions that pop up).  The system also allows the lecturer to add multimedia slides (like YouTube videos) and interactive tools (like multiple-choice questions) into the slide deck in advance, and then access these tools seamlessly during the lecture – including both running the interactive activities and then showing the distribution of students’ responses to items like MCQs, so they can be used as material to enhance the discussion in lecture.  I use the Active Learning Platform tool because I want to encourage student participation and because I want to get more reliable signals about what material is most interesting and most confusing to students, which helps me optimize the use of time in the lecture accordingly.  This feedback also gives me ideas for further reading or other materials that students might be interested in.  In essence it helps my teaching to be more responsive to what students actually want and need.  A nice by-product is that the system captures who has responded to the interactive activities, which I then use as a measure of participation in lectures, which is awarded course marks.

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
I generally get reasonably good attendance at lectures, possibly – says the cynic in me – because participation in the learning activities is captured and flows into the course mark. I also feel more in tune with my students, and I’m pretty sure some students who would be shy to raise their hands feel more comfortable typing in their questions instead (their names don’t show in the Q&A pane, so other students don’t know who asked what).

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
You have to be very comfortable with your material and with thinking quickly on your feet in order to fully exploit the possibilities presented by receiving real-time student feedback on what you are presenting.  Some people might find these possibilities stimulating and energizing, but others might find them stressful in a bad way (e.g., “what if they ask something, I don’t know the answer to?”).  Even if you don’t fully use the Q&A capability that the system offers, the option to capture participation electronically during the lecture opens up a way to reward that participation and thereby push against the modern plague of lecture non-attendance.

Dr David White - School of Psychology, Faculty of Science

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Dr David White​​ - Scientia Fellow (Lecturer), School of Psychology, Faculty of Science

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
I coordinate two large introductory courses (PSYC1001 in T1 and T2, PSYC1011 T2 only) in which academics from across our school present short lecture series to introduce their topic to students. These courses present a number of key challenges to engaging students and encouraging active learning. Large lecture halls are not conducive to interaction between lecturers and students and given the fact that each lecturer only lectures for a maximum of two weeks during term, it is difficult for our lecturers to establish a connection with the students.

I am using LR+ in these courses primarily for the interactive polling tools, which allow lecturers to gauge understanding of their class. These tools are also very useful in Psychology lectures, because they allow us to run ‘live experiments’. Many famous psychology experiments can be implemented and replicated in-class using this functionality, which gives students a first-hand experience of experimental phenomena.

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
We have begun to introduce LR+ in 2019, and the lecturers that have used the technology find that it has been effective in engaging students. The feedback from students has been fantastic so far, and students in our online-only stream have also commented that it improves their learning experience.

As well as improving student engagement in large classrooms, and improving the digital experience, LR+ also provides me with greater analytic capabilities to gauge student engagement, providing an additional ongoing source of information that I can review each year and use to make informed decisions. So, I am encouraging lecturers on the course to upload their lecture slides to LR+ going forward.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
If you are using the interactive polls in LR+ my main advice would be to practice using it in a lecture theatre to become familiar with the icons, as the hide/reveal functions take a little getting used to. Also, it is a good idea to add a feedback poll at the end of the lecture that focusses on students experience with using LR+ so that you can incorporate it into your teaching more effectively. 

Dr Rebecca LeBard - School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science

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Dr Rebecca LeBard - Senior Lecturer, School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science 

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
I am using Lecture Recordings+ in T1 for BABS1201, Molecules, Cells and Genes, which has over 900 students. I upload all my slides into the platform just prior to the lecture and I provide a PDF version in Moodle.
 
I use LR+ to include questions, typically multiple choice, as this is the assessment type used in their mid-term test. I also use a yes/no response in the first lecture to see how many students had taken Biology in high school. I also use the image quiz, so students can click on an image, for example, to show where a particular bond is in a chemical structure. 

I love that students have the ability to ask questions during the lecture. I respond to these usually after the lecture, as they can be slow to come in. Often, they are from students that are watching the lecture stream afterwards, and this provides a great way to engage with these students unable to attend the face-to-face.

What are the outcomes of using LR+?
My course has each lecture repeated (I deliver each twice). The Q&A tool allows me to address any confusing issues the second time around - though usually the questions are going beyond the scope of the lecture and just provide great discussion. I love that I can upload the lecture and include the questions for one stream and can easily access the same setup for the second round.
 
LR+ allows me to engage with students not in the lecture theatre, by answering their questions that are added when watching the recorded stream. Using the feedback from previous student cohorts, I provide practice questions during the lecture in LR+.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
Just try putting your slides into LR+, letting students know they are there and that they can ask questions in this space. Then review the questions either during the lecture if possible, or afterwards. I am sure you will enjoy the interaction with your students and be surprised how much they are engaging with the material. 
 

Dr Cristan Herbert - School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

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Dr Cristan Herbert - Senior Lecturer, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
The main LR+ tools I use are the interactive questions and the student questions.

The interactive questions can be used to get students to think about their own understanding of a topic before it is discussed. Regular questions or LR+ activities spaced throughout a class can also be useful to keep the attention of students. Most importantly, interactive questions can be used to gauge how well students have understood concepts, so that misconceptions can be identified and addressed immediately. I use multiple-choice questions most often, but image-based quizzes and ordered-list activities work very well also. 

The student question and flag tools allow students to ask questions before, during or after a class. Students can also identify slides or concepts that are unclear. Although it may not be possible to answer every question in class, you can always post replies after the class. I think students really appreciate this.

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
I think that students are more attentive during classes in which the LR+ tools are used. MyExperience feedback suggests that many students liked the use of the interactive in-class questions.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
Some people might be worried about using these LR+ activities in-class for the first time. My advice to anyone who has not used the interactive tools before is to just give it a try. You might want to start small with some simple multiple-choice questions. Once you become more confident, you can start experimenting with the different question/activity types or try using the tools in different ways (e.g. as a formative assessment). It is important that you let the students know if you will be using the LR+ activities and give them time at the start of the class to get devices ready and log-in. Also, be aware that it takes some time for students to enter responses to the questions, so plan your classes accordingly. Finally, take advantage of the many resources that are available to help you including the Connections Seminar series and LR+ workshops. There are also many current users of LR+ at UNSW who would be glad to provide advice and support. 
 

Tracy Huang - Interior Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment

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Tracy Huang - Associate Lecturer, Interior Architecture, Built Environment 

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
My favourite active learning tools I’ve used in my lectures is the embedded short response activity where I can ask students for course feedback and they can reply on their various devices. The answers are anonymous, displayed on the large screen and the feedback is addressed immediately. 

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
The active learning activity has helped me to gain some insightful feedback during the semester and build a two-way dialogue with my students. The ease of use and ability to simply duplicate the activity has meant I can use this consistently as part of reflective pedagogical practices. More importantly, the instantaneous nature of the tool has facilitated open dialogue and discussion with students. The students have a ‘voice’ and feel ‘heard’ as the online activity often turns into a verbal large group discussion. Students who are shy can also participate and feel a part of the learning community.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
A little goes a long way but consistency is critical! I highly recommend starting with one or two activities to build confidence and familiarity with the tool, then add more activities if necessary. Using it on a consistent basis really helps students to also adapt to the blended learning format and provide more insights into how they prefer to learn. 
 

Dr Catherine Collins - School of Management, Business School

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Catherine Collins - Senior Lecturer, School of Management, UNSW Business School

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
My aim of using LR+ in lectures has been to improve student understanding of course content. I used multiple choice questions to get students to actively check their understanding; this provided quick feedback. I also used short answer questions and asked students to write an illustrative paragraph for an assessment, then I selected a range of examples (from fail to HD) which are anonymous and provided formative feedback on their analysis with the marking rubric.
 
What were the outcomes of using LR+?

The LR+ tool most valuable for me was the open questions. These exercises highlighted to students that even though they had completed adaptive reading in our online textbook and attended lectures, their answers needed additional analysis before submitting the related assessment. The large class environment sometimes made it difficult for students to concentrate on short answers. Next time I will encourage students to complete these questions prior lectures. 

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
Think about the aim and outcomes you wish to achieve before choosing the learning tools. For me it was to challenge students with formative feedback and track with analytics which elements of lectures engaged students. Student engagement in the LR+ tools varied, whereas in this large first year course, Kahoot works to keep a positive vibe in lectures. 
 

Dr Steven Davis - School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

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Dr Steven Davis - Senior Lecturer, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering 

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
The most important active learning tool that I use is the students asking questions via their devices and displayed on the projector screen at the front of the class while I answer them. This is important in my class because most of my students are international and the class is so large, that they will not raise their hands to ask questions. 

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
Allowing students to ask questions makes the class much more interactive. It means that I can focus my explanations where students are actually having difficulties understanding rather than where I think they are. It also keeps me honest. I cannot gloss over the things that I am less sure about. In such instances I can focus the students on the related learning outcomes that they need to achieve.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
The most important thing is to just do it. You will work out what you are doing on the fly and you will be delighted by the student response that you receive. 
 

Judith Watson - School of Economics, Business School

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Judith Watson - Lecturer, School of Economics, Business School 

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
I use PowerPoint slides with the Echo360 ribbon. This allows me to embed activities such as multiple-choice questions and short answer questions in each lecture and to run polls. The aim is to encourage students to attempt calculations during lectures and to keep them engaged. 

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
It works well to give all the students in the class immediate feedback and for me to see how much they are understanding as the lecture progresses. Even students who do not submit an answer generally have a try and benefit from seeing correct answers and reasons why some of the class gave incorrect answers.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
Think about the equipment you wish to use and the facilities available such as one projector or two, then work out the best way to display the lecture. At present in a single projector theatre I am annotating lecture slides on a laptop connected to the projector but running another version of the file on the console screen from a memory stick. This allows students to view an activity question while I can see how quickly responses are coming in. 
 

Dr Nirmani Wijenayake - School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science

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Dr Nirmani Wijenayake - Lecturer, Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
I use the different styles of questions available to ensure that students have picked up on the main learning outcomes of a lecture. I also use it to pick up on student misconceptions which were dealt with on the spot during the lecture. 

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
I think LR+ gave equal opportunity to all students to participate in answering questions and discussions whereas usually only a select few are willing to speak up and interact during the lecture. The interactive activities gave the students and myself a better understanding of where they are struggling. This was also a great way to introduce the students to the types of questions we might ask in an exam and help practice questions with instant feedback on their answers.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
It is important to introduce students to the LR+ system with interactive elements from the very first lecture and explain how it will be used in the class and your expectation from them. Keep in mind that you will need to change and reduce your current lecture content before adding these interactive activities in to the lecture. This way you have sufficient time during your lecture to engage with the students and use these interactive activities more efficiently. 
 

Dr Alanya Drummond - Interior Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment

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Dr Alanya Drummond - Lecturer, Interior Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment

What LR+ active learning tools are you using and why?
I used polling to introduce new ideas to students and gauge preconceptions, multiple choice and image quizzes to test existing knowledge, and open questions to capture opinions on the project brief. 

What were the outcomes of using LR+?
There was a buzz in the room, I could tell the students enjoyed testing their existing knowledge rather than just being told all of the information upfront. And being able to refer back to the students’ LR+ answers after class helped to frame content for the following week’s lecture.

What advice would you give others wanting to use LR+?
It worked well to share the LR+ active learning tools half way through the lecture – it changed up the pace, grabbed the students’ attention and started some dialogue.