It’s been great getting feedback on the new Learning Space design since we upgraded on the 4th. We’ve been taking on board any feedback and answering questions where they’ve arisen. As a result we figured it could be useful to share some tips and tricks.
Customising your view of modules
Following the recent upgrade to Learning Space the guidance below shows you how to access, organise and sort your modules for easy access.
Access my modules
To access your modules, click the Learning Spacelogo (top left).
This will take you to My Modules which is effectively the new home page.
Once on your My Modules page there are a number of filters that you can use to find the modules you are looking for.
The default view in My Modules displays ‘All’ courses that you are subscribed on but can easily be filtered to show courses that are ‘In progress’, ‘Future’, ‘Past’ or ‘Starred’.
To apply a filter, click ‘All’ and select the option you want. This will filter out other courses making it easy to locate the courses you are looking for.
Search for a module
Enter the name of a course into the Search box to retrieve it.
You have the option to sort courses on your My Modules page by name or last accessed.
If you are enrolled on lots of courses the ‘Star’ option is a great feature to use to reduce the number of courses displayed on your My Modules page. You can ‘Star’ any courses that you are enrolled on regardless of whether they are in progress, future or past, so it’s a useful option if you need regular access to specific courses.
To ‘star’ a course, click the 3-dot icon and select ‘star this course’.
Note: If your courses are displayed in Card view, the icon will be in the bottom right corner of the tile, if in List view it will be at the end of the row.
An important thing to point out if you do use the ‘Star’ option, is that you will need to ‘Star’ all courses that you want to appear in my Modules as only ‘Starred’ courses will be displayed.
Customise your module thumbnail image
Learning Space now allows you to set images that are visible in staff and student My Module pages.
Style of Image We suggest that you avoid any busy images – simpler images will often be more effective.
Copyright Ensure you own copyright for the image you use or that it is available under a suitable licence e.g. Creative Commons.
Relevance Make sure the image is relevant to your module so as not to confuse staff or students.
File Size Ensure your image isn’t too large in terms of file size or resolution and is appropriate for your module. Images should have a minimum width of 1024 pixels but no more than 2000 pixels
Aspect Ratio Images should have a 2.7 : 1 aspect ratio. The width of the image should be about 2.7 times the height. You can achieve this using the ‘crop’ tool using photoshop or similar applications. If your image is taller or shorter it might get cut off at the bottom or side.
How to change the thumbnail
If you are a member of staff and wish to do this follow this steps
Go into one of your modules and turn edit mode on
Go to settings
Upload an image in the Module Summary Files section under Description.
Sample thumbnail image
You can use the following image as a template / guide for size and dimensions from which to create your own module thumbnail. Right click to save a copy of it. The size is 1350px x 500px
On July 10th 2023, Panopto will go live for Falmouth University.
At Falmouth we have had a long-running gap in our digital toolset for a dedicated video and audio hosting platform that provides proper integration with Learning Space and Falmouth Learn, and can facilitate student submissions without resorting to external tools
Panopto is the market leading platform in this space, serving around 80% of universities in the UK. You may know it from other institutions as a lecture capture solution, but Falmouth will not be implementing lecture capture. We are adopting it purely as a video hosting platform to replace (and upgrade) Microsoft Stream, and to reduce reliance on external tools like Youtube and Vimeo.
For everyday users
Everyday users will benefit from Panopto’s simple, educationally-focussed user interface.
All Falmouth and FXPlus staff and Falmouth students will have a ‘My Folder’, a private folder to upload content. From here, videos can be dragged and dropped to module folders, added to playlists, or shared directly within and outside of the university.
Panopto integrates fully with the VLEs, so each module in Learning Space generates a module folder in Panopto which grants access to only the staff and students on that module. These folders inherit permissions from the VLEs, so no admin burden of asking to have staff added, and no hassle of setting sharing permissions for huge groups of students.
But don’t worry, if you need to every video, folder, playlist, and even a randomly selected group of your videos can be shared with specific users.
Panopto has an incredible search function which not only returns video titles and playlists, but also searches through the captions of every video that a user has access to and returns these results with timestamps for where the keyword has been mentioned. It even recognises written words on Powerpoint slides and automatically generates video chapters which are also returned in searches.
Panopto has far superior built-in editing capabilities than Microsoft Stream. Videos can be top-and-tailed, middle sections can be ‘removed’, and additional videos can be inserted. All from within Panopto.
All editing is non-destructive, so the original video remains intact behind the scenes even when your edited video is live. This allows you to make different edits each year that you deliver content, or just acts peace of mind if you want to see how a video cuts together without committing to permanent damage.
Panopto offers us a great new feature where you can add quizzes to a videos -these are visible when viewed in Panopto.
The quiz options include
Multiple Choice (one correct answer)
Fill In the Blank.
These quizzes are configurable, so you can choose whether students have to get the correct answer to progress in the video, or whether you’re just gathering data on how fully they understand a concept.
Embedding Links or YouTube Videos
Panopto allows you to add links to external content through URLs at certain points through the video / audio. It is also possible to embed YouTube videos as part of your own content – something that could be useful if you wish to provide some related information.
Panopto shines in its accessibility features. Every video is automatically machine-captioned (to a higher level of accuracy than Stream) and has a much more stable interface for manually editing captions. Existing caption files can be uploaded to videos for anyone who’s already put in the work of manually correcting hours of existing content.
Custom dictionaries can be added to Panopto to recognise commonly used words, and although this will not be configured for launch, it will be investigated going forwards by the Digital Learning team.
Caption display can be adapted by end users to suit their own needs (size/colour/position of captions) and when videos are opened within Panopto captions are displayed as a transcript to the left of the video.
Panopto accepts a huge range of file formats including audio-only files which can be uploaded directly in exactly the same way as videos.
This is great news for anyone wanting to create podcast lectures (a huge time saver, and good if you don’t like to see your face) over videos, not to mention for music staff and students who can use the platform to host and share music files in exactly the same way as video, or even a combination of the two.
There is great potential for Panopto to be used at Falmouth for sharing of audio recordings and discussions / analysis to take place through the use of timestamped discussions, bookmarks or notes, a bit like often takes place on services such as SoundCloud.
Panopto isn’t just a video hosting platform, it comes complete with its own recording apps, including a downloadable app for Windows and Mac (which will be added to the Self Service Portal), as well as the browser-based Panopto Capture to bypass downloading anything at all.
These capture apps are powerful enough to record cameras, screen, microphones, computer audio, and can record multiple cameras at once if you’ve got a complex hardware setup. For any multi-input capture, end users can toggle between screens, cameras and slides while viewing the end video.
For Falmouth Online
As well as everything above, staff working on Falmouth Online courses will benefit from improved workflows with the Digital Learning team through Panopto. Videos will be added to Panopto and all work can be done on them in situ. Panopto Capture can simplify recording workflows, and the built in editing functionality (not to mention quizzes) means that most editing can be performed within Panopto.
Core course content will still be delivered inline with the production schedule and embedded into Canvas by Learning Technologists, offering all of the benefits of Panopto to your students. But Panopto’s integration with Canvas means that staff and students can share videos within Canvas forums or announcements.
It also means that amended videos could be delivered to students without involving the Digital Learning Team if a critical change needed to be made outside of enhancement windows.
Panopto for Assessment
At the time of launch Panopto will be able to facilitate student submissions, and provide a safer, more secure platform for video and audio submissions than Falmouth has had access to before.
Much like they do now with other platforms, students will be able to upload content to their ‘My Folder’ and share a link in a word/PDF document to submit to a Learning Space/Falmouth Learn assessment. In truth the greatest benefit will be when things go wrong, with better data on when videos were submitted, and the Digital Learning team will have access to students’ videos to fix issues, instead of assessed work being hidden in external tools like Youtube.
This also raises the important point of retention of student work, which will finally be possible within a unified platform instead of needing to download and store video and audio content elsewhere to conform to University regulations.
Understand how your videos are used
Panopto provides powerful statistics that can be used to better understand how and when your videos are being watched / interacted with. This provides further opportunities to improve your video content should you notice that for example all views drop off after a certain period of time – perhaps the video could be shorter or split into smaller bitesize chunks.
This week 3 members of Digital Learning, Roo Pescod, Dave Pollard and Robert Stillwell headed to Birmingham to attend the 2023 JISC Digifest conference.
This year AI is was a prominent theme given the recent hype surrounding chatGPT and the concerns about it’s potential to have significant impact both positively and negatively. There has been a recent scramble around the sector to improve tools that detect plagiarism in order to mitigate an anticipated increase in use of AI created content within assessment submissions.
The keynote on day 1 was an inspiring talk by Inma Martinez who is a leading authority in the fields of digital technology and machine intelligence actively working as an advisor to business and government internationally. She confidently demonstrated the breadth of her knowledge and expertise through her talk.
There is understandably a lot of anxiety about the potential impacts of AI within both society along with our field of education. Martinez began by discussing the way chatGPT had been irresponsibly unleashed online bypassing all the usual ethical rules of AI testing. In her opinion this was done intentionally by silicon valley to create hype around AI technologies which it certainly has succeeded in doing. She highlighted a number of the issues around chatGPT including the fact it was It was an unfinished system and contained significant bias.
Martinez then continued with a more positive reminder of the fundamentals of what AI can offer and why it could have such significant positive impacts for humanity – namely it’s ability to identify patterns within huge data sets, something well beyond human capability. Then followed a reminder about what AI’s weakness and why humans partnering with AI systems is key – tacit knowledge, situation knowledge and experience.
The talk then moved into a discussion about the potential opportunities that AI could afford education. Utilising it’s strength in identify patterns through large data sets it was highlighted that AI could be used to identify not only struggling students but help support them in their areas of weakness in ways that suit their individual needs or preferences. Of course in order for this to be possible requires much progress to be made in terms of learning analytics and data quality.
As a team, a significant part of our remit in Digital Learning at Falmouth is online course development. This is another area that AI could have implications for – identifying areas of courses that could be improved and making suggestions for those improvements. AI also offers the potential to create smart content to optimise the way you teach and how students are learning. It could be possible for every student to have content delivered to them in a personalised construct and format that suits their preferences and level – likely based on previous analysis of optimal methods based on performance of outcomes.
Another area of discussion in a few sessions was how do we address the subject of AI generated assignments. Fear of technological developments is certainly nothing new. It questioned the importance for retention of information vs the ability to locate and critique information and use it in a meaningful way – e.g. does the recall of information make a doctor effective vs what you do with it and the importance human soft skills and instincts. Universities in general have very rigid structures and processes designed to efficiently process essay submission. It is one of the most time and cost efficient ways of assessing but likely for many students not the most effective or fairest way of measuring knowledge attained and comprehension. There could be a need for these was of assessing to change radically should we choose to not accept and embrace AI content generation.
In a panel session I attended there was talk of using AI to create a starting point- for example, in creative writing. Rather than dealing with a blank page, having something you could then modify or build upon could really help some students or even practitioners in general. A key skill going forward will be the ability to critique content created by AI rather than simply trusting it as a truth.
Another very important point made in a few talks including the keynote by Martinez was in importance of digital access and inclusion. It’s vital people aren’t left behind with these rapidly technological developments.
One thing that was also made clear particularly in the session with Martinez was the increasing importance of creative thinking. This feels particularly pertinent at Falmouth and I feel our values of being creative, connected and courageous are as relevant as ever.
Another take away from the conference for me was the excellent session I attended by Lev Gonick, chief information officer, Arizona State University. They are doing some fascinating work looking to impact their community and improve access to learning but whilst there are clearly significant differences between such a huge US university and Falmouth. It was interesting to hear about how they had flattened much of their hierachy in order to be able to work in a much more agile way to respond to challenges and innovate more effectively.
However, I felt a key message was the importance of being willing to take risks in order to innovate. I feel these don’t always need to be at large financial expense either, small interventions for example using existing tools in original ways have the potential to deliver positive impacts. ASU have been incorporating AI within their curriculum for a few years now but it was interesting Gonick highlighted use of AI within creative writing specifically.
It is easy to forget that AI features are already widely in use across the education sector. For example in institutions using Office365, (a few I’m sure), Microsoft Word has a number of AI enhancements already built in. In one of the panel conversations I attended it was pointed out that students could be in a position later this year where our own institutional tools could cause students to create work that is in breach of our own assessment policies. Clearly we need to react to these developments quickly.
The second day of Digifest coincided with International Womens Day and featured a fantastic keynote by Prof Sue Black. An emotional and inspiring journey through her life and career demonstrating the importance of supporting women in developing their digital skills and confidence and huge impact that can have on future generations through her #techmums social enterprise. This also led me to reflect on the many talented women we have within our Digital Learning Team and the invaluable part they play in our team culture and the work we deliver.
This my first conference attendance since joining the team at Falmouth and felt proud of what we are looking to build here. Whilst the is always a lot that can be improved, I feel that we have much of the right ambition, skills, strategy and people to really aspire to innovate and create meaningful, effective and inclusive blended and online learning.
My key take aways were in summary
Rather than fear tech developments such as AI, think creatively about how you can include them in your teaching / assessment
AI will likely deliver real world tools that our students will need to be able to understand and utilise these technologies in their professional careers – we should be preparing them for this.
AI has the potential to improve access to content and how we create and deliver online learning along with identifying and supporting struggling students.
Accessibility, equality and inclusion are more important than ever to ensure we don’t end up with divided and disempowered sections of society.
Taking risks and being innovative will lead to huge changes and potential improvements in how we use technology in education
Large organisations could increase their agility and abilities to handle change through flattening hierarchy and encouraging collaboration
As a relatively new arrival to the team (3 months in) I felt it might be good for me to share and briefly discuss this article capturing the excellent work that has gone on at Falmouth developing an excellent environment for online working. Having had mixed experiences in the past with working remotely and the support I received, this was an important consideration to me joining this team at Falmouth and how it would impact requirement of my role in coordinate the work of the Learning Technologists team.
Amy Sampson, as leader of our department has worked hard over the last few years putting together a number of “ways of working” which have been adopted and are now our norm. Our department has been growing rapidly with some of us working fully remotely and this work has been key to our success so far and will be more so going forward.
I am a passionate believer in the importance of staff being supported and empowered in order to be happy in their work and productive too and I have found since working in Falmouth that this work has helped significantly in achieving this working predominantly online within a growing department.