Jane Setter, Professor of Phonetics presents her experience of using flipped learning to support students with the development of transcription skills.

celebrating linguistics

“Flipped learning” was used to spend less classroom time on theory and more time on the practice and development of broad phonetic transcription skills in undergraduate and postgraduate English phonetics and phonology lectures. The undergraduate classes comprised of home students for whom English is their first language, whereas the postgraduate classes comprise largely overseas students for whom English is a second or foreign language. The data are for two separate year groups in each case and compare performance in two different transcription passages each used in flipped and non-flipped years. The results show general improvement in the final dictation assessment for both groups in flipped years compared with non-flipped years, although there is more improvement for the undergraduates than for the postgraduates for one of the passages and, in the other, the postgraduate marks worsened. Positive feedback from students to the flipped learning approach included:
‘Flipped learning is perfect for this subject area’
‘The approach allows students to watch your lectures in their own time, and at their own pace.’
‘It is useful to be able to stop the vodcast/lecture at tricker points and either watch the slide again, take more notes or do more reading around the point.’
‘We were able to spend time discussing any questions people had in class and then move onto transcription practice for the upcoming exam.’
‘I would rather do the transcription in class with the support of classmates and the lecturer than alone at home.’
‘Flipped learning is brilliant’
For an example of Jane’s ‘flipped’ learning lectures please follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIAmqXF6bBE

The ‘Patient voice’ in the School of the Built Environment

IMG_0392 Tim Lees

Dr Timothy Lees, School Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of the Built Environment shares his experience of Screen capture:

‘Using screen capture technology as part of the teaching approach in construction science provides the students with a ‘patient voice’. The screencasts are used to demonstrate full worked solutions to tutorial problems students have already attempted both individually and then in groups. Each step in the calculation is explained and students benefit from being able to pause, rewind and re-listen as many times as they need to the solutions. Student satisfaction in the module has been high since the screencasts were introduced and the approach augments traditional delivery techniques such as lectures and tutorials. They also provide a very efficient way to support students in their developments, particularly in the area of maths, empowering the students to take ownership of their own learning and reducing the burden on the module delivery team.’

‘Informative and relaxed’ – GRASS Lunch and Learn


A warm thank you to all the colleagues that joined the GRASS team for last week’s lunch and learn. We appreciate that time is precious in a busy term and hope it was an enriching experience for everyone.

Beyond enjoying a delicious lunch with homemade cakes – the session explored how screen capture could help HE Institutions with the fulfilment of T&L provision and performance, all in light of the recently published Green paper ‘Fulfilling our Potential’ which outlines key metrics underpinning the initial teaching excellence framework. The event focused on the highlighted areas of retention, attainment and satisfaction.

As in previous sessions we focused on giving general advice on adopting screencasts from real life applications at work on campus today – thanks to Emma, Cindy and David. We then broke out into smaller groups in which attendees had a chance to play and learn with the technology (while enjoying cake!).

We will be running further sessions – including our Summer conference – so if you were unable to attend, or have colleagues that you feel may benefit, please let us know and we will makes sure you get an invite.

photo 2

Study Advice video tutorials – 72,000 views can’t be wrong!

Kim Shahabudin and Michelle Reid, from Study Advice share their experiences of screencast for study skills:

When we released our first suite of screencasts offering self-access learning resources for study skills, little did we think that a mere two years later we’d be celebrating over 70,000 views!

Our initial motivation was reports from students that they would like to come to our Wednesday afternoon workshops but had other commitments at the time. We felt that simply filming the workshops would not work for mass dissemination – we aim for interactivity and so each workshop is quite different. We were also aware that students with heavy workloads were unlikely to prioritise the time to watch extended videos on what they perceived as extra-curricular topics. For the same reason, we wanted to make the screencasts as engaging as possible – but knew that we would need to choose a method that was sustainable within our very limited budget. These factors dictated a model of 5 minute screencasts focusing on particular aspects of study practices (e.g. structuring essays, answering the question, using evidence) that used the animation techniques available in PowerPoint to illustrate a spoken narration.

We were fortunate to receive some funding from the Annual Fund for our pilot project which we named ‘The 24/7 Study Advice workshop’. This enabled us to buy some additional hardware and software, plus provided some cover for our information desk which freed up our time to learn new techniques and develop a style and a working process. Our first suite of screencasts on aspects of essay writing was completed in summer 2013 and demonstrated to teaching staff at a launch event at the University. The enthusiastic feedback we received encouraged us to continue after our project funding ended. To date we have produced suites of screencasts on essay writing, referencing, preparing for exams and dissertations (31 in total), a one-off on understanding marking criteria, and have plans for more in the future, including one on using Turnitin formatively. In addition we have produced a few more discipline-specific screencasts on request, and have been able to share our experiences with staff interested in producing screencasts of their own.

Our initial motivation for producing the screencasts remains relevant, and we promote them via our website and Twitter account, and in teaching sessions in departments and individual sessions with students. They are also linked to by other institutions, both in the UK and internationally. , The very positive feedback we receive on our screencasts from these institutions shows their value as a promotional tool for the excellence of teaching and learning at the University. We use the screencasts in our teaching: as an illustration of principles, a way to vary the pace and format of a session, and as a prompt for discussions. In addition to our plans to cover more topics, we have recently started to add transcripts to the tutorials to increase accessibility, and are working on teaching notes to accompany them to encourage their use by staff within departments for timely study skills advice and enhancement sessions.

Perhaps our only slight disappointment is that, because our aim is to produce a coherent and consistent set of resources, we are tied in to our original model and cannot take advantage of the multitude of inventive ideas for formats and presentations that are now blooming across campus. However, the number of views just keep on rising – so we must be doing something right!


To view the self-access screencast visit:


The Latest ‘GRASS’ Lunch and Learn scheduled for 18 Nov, 1-2pm Palmer 107

The latest ‘GRASS’ Lunch and Learn is scheduled for 18 Nov, 1-2pm Palmer Building 107


‘Assessment and Feedback: How screen capture might address possible new TEF metrics’

The new generation of student expects greater flexibility in the pace and place of learning and often responds brilliantly to the visual delivery of information. This session will be tailored to look at how screen capture facilitates better understanding of both marking criteria and how to write a great essay. Participants will get general advice on adopting screencasts in student assessment and feedback from real life applications at work on campus today.  The session is designed to be hands on approach giving attendees a chance to play and learn with the technology.  As in previous sessions we envisage that there will be two groups, those who are still at the drawing board stage and those who are already producing screencasts but are wishing to troubleshoot or share ideas. The “GRASS” project team will be on hand to solve problems or discuss options. There is room for those new to screen capture and who want to come and see what the benefits are for their teaching.

or click on this link to view this very short explanatory screencast http://www.screencast.com/t/HAjtfUoxO8jg.

Refreshments will be provided, home-baking!

You can book on Trent using the link below:


Details are also available on:


Screen capturing in Classics

Silchester ModelMatthew Nicholls

I have been using screen capture in two ways in my Digital Silchester module for Classics. The first is to create how-to videos for upload to Blackboard. Some of our class time is spent showing students how to execute certain tasks in a piece of digital modelling software, and taking a screen-grab video has proved a great way of reinforcing these classroom sessions. Students can watch to make sure they have understood the class or to remind themselves, and it saves me a lot of time in emailing explanations.

The second use is for giving feedback on student work, part of which comes to me in the form of a 3D digital model of a Roman building. Using a screen recording I can navigate into and around their models and give spoken feedback corresponding to what they see on screen – a much more efficient and helpful way of giving precise feedback than trying to explain what I mean in writing.

I am grateful to the GRASS project for helping me think about the possibilities this technology can offer, and also for the lovely homemade cakes at their events.

GRASS reaches Malaysia!

Yesterday saw the first screen capture training session for staff based at University of Reading Malaysia. This followed the same structure as our Reading ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions although at 8.30 am, was more like a ‘Breakfast and Learn’ session!

Using Lync, I ran through why so many of us have started to use screen capture to enhance our teaching and learning provision and all the very different ways in which screen capture has been used across campus from Languages to System Engineering, Typography to Chemistry.

Grass Malaysia

David then offered a more interactive ‘how to session’ using Lync desktop sharing before a final Q&A session.


We appear to have generated some excitement among Malaysia based colleagues from the Henley Business School, Psychology, Law and ISLI. We very much look forward to seeing how screen capture might be used to facilitate learning in new, innovative ways over in Malaysia.

GRASS goes to Bilbao!

GRASS went international for the first time on Sunday as David and I jetted off to Bilbao for the day. We were leading a workshop on screen capture at a major conference on teaching and learning in Spain run by the Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies.

Bilbao 2

The talk and interactive workshop was a great success with a lot of interest from the audience and some great follow on questions.


We were immediately invited to give a longer workshop at a central university in Estonia. We were also asked to speak at another European teaching and learning conference in Brussels.

The rest of the conference gave us a chance to network with like minded colleagues from across Europe who are just as keen as we are on teaching and learning innovation.  Many of these focused on the use of social media and other uses of Technology Enhanced Learning in practice across European states.

David even managed a spot of sightseeing before we headed back to the UK!

Bilbao 3

GRASS is Growing!!!

As we move towards the new academic year it’s a great time to reflect on another enormously busy Easter and Summer term for the GRASS team.

We started off, in March, with an interactive talk to colleagues in Agriculture (complete with donuts and squash) and another at the Henley T&L conference on the use of screen capture and video feedback.

I was then lucky enough to win both a national teaching prize-the Political Studies Association’s Bernard Crick prize…

Emma Mayhew PSA 2

…and a RUSU Excellence Award for technology, in part, because of my use of screen capture. The RUSU award gave me the opportunity to talk to 80-100 interested colleagues about video feedback at the annual T&L showcase in 3sixty.

We held the second of our termly ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions in March which attracted 20 colleagues. This one was far more interactive so colleagues were encouraged to bring their own laptops and follow along. Many thanks to Richard Mitchell for sharing his experiences at this event.


Building on this success the GRASS team were then invited to give short talks at another five School Board of Studies or School T&L Committee meetings to demonstrate how versatile screen capture technology can be and encourage even more use around the University.

As well as launching his new eye tracking project, David ran an interactive workshop at the IFP InForm conference in July and I presented at the major BISA conference in Tower Bridge-no mean feat in a conference room with absolutely no technology at all!!!

We’ve also been liaising with colleagues working on other new projects-both new TLDF funded projects and major new IT developments like TALIS and Grademark as we start to think about how screen capture can be used to disseminate information to our students on exciting new ventures.

Finally, do watch out for my first GRASS inspired peer reviewed journal article to be published in European Political Science in the next few months-‘Play-back feedback: the impact of screen captured video feedback on student satisfaction, learning and attainment’.

It’s been hugely busy but, as ever, hugely rewarding to be part of the project as we draw towards the end of our first year. I can’t wait for year two!!!

So just how do you do it? By a screencast novice

Alison Nicholson, T&L Coordinator IWLP French, writes:

Inspired by Cindy’s range of catchy, fun screencasts (I particularly like the Powtoon ones with accompanying music) and Emma’s ones based on Prezi with beautiful eye-catching photos, I decided to make my own screencast for IWLP French students. Our students are obviously non-specialist language learners, and whilst they can do grammar exercises or speak a few sentences quite quickly, at the lower levels they often have difficulty writing a good quality essay in French. I wanted to explain to them how to

  • Answer the question
  • Be accurate and make every word count
  • Demonstrate that they have learned structures and vocabulary covered in class
  • And share with them the marking criteria

But in the past, when I have tried to do this to a whole class, or even individually, I could see the glazed expressions forming quickly. I needed to put my points across in a format that was visual and always available, to view again and again, and refer back to when working at home or revising for a final exam. Perhaps a screencast could be the answer?

It might be useful for colleagues who are yet to produce a screencast to see the various steps as I worked on this project:

  1. Firstly I produced a script which I shared with a colleague to check for clarity and thoroughness. For a 5 minute screencast, the script was just over a page of A4.
  2. For the visuals, I went on to Prezi.com which was very helpful. Nevertheless, producing my first Prezi was possibly the most time-consuming part. I chose a template where the order of the visuals was already predetermined, which made it easier.
  3. I practised a few times, reading the script aloud and noting when to click on to another visual, when to pause and when to emphasise a word
  4. Finally, I was ready to record, helped by David, using Camtasia on a University laptop, and speaking into a microphone, which really improved the sound quality. The second take was good enough, so the recording only took an hour or so. We had a bit of a problem with the quality of the visual but David sorted that out…
  5. The last stage involved creating a YouTube account (easy once you have a Google account), and uploading the screencast. This provides you with a URL so you can upload the link into Blackboard or send to colleagues and students directly… Bit of a problem here as the laptop was logged directly into another colleague’s YouTube account so for a while my screencast had a different ‘author’ – but this was solved by a helpful colleague in ITS – something to check before you upload.

So now it is there on YouTube for all to see, though most of the ‘hits’ to date are probably mine …. I enjoyed creating this screencast enormously, so much so that my next one is already being planned. This one will be on independent language learning, and use Powtoon (maybe borrowing Cindy’s music).