It was early January, even before the term started, when I met with Dr Geoff Taggart (Lecturer/Co-Director BA CDL, Institute of Education) and Enza Siciliano Verruccio (Italian Language Coordinator, Modern Languages and European Studies) with regards to future directions and possible collaboration on flexible learning.
The meeting very quickly developed into an interest in each others’ work, with Dr Taggart’s use of Mediasite at the IoE, and Enza’s use of Wimba Create (a component that can be embedded in Blackboard and allows easy conversion of a Word document into a web-like interface). And from our end, our use of Articulate Storyline and Articulate Quizmaker created much interest. This led to a second get together, which was more of a show and tell meeting down at London campus.
I first met with Christopher Tibbenham (Resource Technician and Mediasite operator, Institute of Education) who took me through the process of recording using Mediasite, the hardware kits and software, including the sound mixer system. We went through some editing bits and I could not believe how easy this could be done. Whenever a lecture is to be recorded, the kit is carried over to the room, and connected to the projector (which means the slides, as shown by the presenter, are automatically synchronised with the video), mikes are connected and there is a bit a crowd management before the start in order to get the perfect shot. The big challenge is some dexterity in manoeuvring the camcorder as the presenter moves around the room, and the sound mixer.
I later on met with Dr Taggart and Enza, with the latter starting to explain and show how easily Wimba Create could be used and how extensively sh has used it to save time and effort in her daily work. Later on Dr Taggart went through e-portfolios with us, how it can be easily created in a much more apprehensive way for students (all thanks to Guy Pursey from CdoTL). All through we were intermittently firing questions and appreciation of how the technologies could be used to ease our own work load and in the same time be of interest to our students.
I can already envisage the use of e-portfolios in the Professional Career Development module, where students can build up a portfolio of their academic and work experience in Reading, which they can be updated throughout their time here. This can provide our students with a space for personal development planning, with the ability to share their achievements and reflections with prospective peers and family or even with prospective employers particular for placement.
Despite being only 3 of us on that day (Dr Taggart, Enza and myself) during our 2-hour long show and tell, it worked excellently well for us, as we were a small group of people sharing knowledge of technologies and at the same time discussing challenges faced during the process and how each other could adapt these in their works. And that was a Friday afternoon’s work ending on a good note.