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Emma Isle reviews the success of Mediasite and proposes technologies that can enhance the learning experience.

The University rolling out Mediasite to all courses last year might have seemed the greatest technological advance conceivable, no longer would you have to stumble up to uni in your onesie seriously regretting the actions of last night. Instead you could get a lie in and watch the lecture online once you’ve sobered up.

Indeed it hasn’t only made it easier to catch up on missed lectures. A case study run by the University’s Technology Enhanced Learning and Education Development Department for the course of Dr Claire Shaw found that since starting to use Mediasite  her students more responsive in lectures, actually listening to her rather than furiously scribbling notes.

Another noticeable change they found was the emails that were sent to her asked more important questions on the subject matter rather than asking for clarification of what was said in the lecture. However, there are a multitude of other ways that technology can be used to enhance and improve the university experience.

One of the many innovations that could be introduced to accompany lectures is interactive forums and feedback forms where you can post queries during lectures and have them either addressed by the lecturers at the end of the lecture, or answered and explained by another student during the lecture.

Not only can this allow students to engage with the lecturer better, particularly or students that would not ordinarily ask questions. This technological approach can help to enhance everyone’s learning experience, and allow other perspectives and explanations that the lecturer may not have thought of.

An alternative learning method is always useful for those who, like me, find lectures a little boring and not the best method of learning.

Online notes pages and discussions can also be a great way to collate notes between students in order to ensure that nobody misses any important points. They work via programs such as Google Docs, where everyone can edit a document with their thoughts and ideas.

This kind of platform can be a great way to develop ideas between students, and allow everyone to be able to see what others view as important points that they may have otherwise glossed over.

Virtual worlds and game based learning environments could seem a little childish to many university students, and yet such tools can be harnessed by professors to engage students in their learning more.

By making such things interactive it allows the student to engage with their learning in their own way, as well as giving us a different manner in which we can gain information, perhaps in a way that suits us more, as it is more interesting. An alternative learning method is always useful for those who, like me, find lectures a little boring and not the best method of learning.

Interactive presentations can help lecturers transform their lectures from something boring to fairly interesting by including elements such as videos and animations, as well as quizzes, such as the turning point quizzes currently used in biomedical sciences. They break up the monotony of lectures and allow the lecturer to find out if the students are keeping up or if they need to revisit some areas.

Websites that allow collaboration between universities could also be beneficial, as different methods of teaching the same information and sharing of projects would allow a wider variety of ways to access the same information.

We were able to share methods of revision, as well as project work and hints and tips on a platform accessible from both universities

This type of program was trialled last year on the Neuroscience course between Bristol and Cardiff University. We were able to share methods of revision, as well as project work and hints and tips on a platform accessible from both universities. This collaboration also had a group of students that evaluated course elements of courses from both universities  in order to improve the learning experience for both sets of students.

Of course some lecturers are more adventurous than others so I can’t guarantee that you will be seeing all (or any) of  these within your lecture theatres, but they are certainly ideas that could improve your learning experience for the future, some of which, such as note sharing documents, can be implemented by you.


Do you agree these tools will be helpful to learning? Let us know!

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