Project Progress Update

The CADARN Learning Portal project is progressing on a number of fronts, here is a brief update and progress report on the project: what is going on, what we have achieved and what is happening next. This post has an update on equipment purchased and deployed at partners, the Multimedia Production Team, Website development and partner projects...

Equipment

Staff with Equipment 

Aberystwyth University staff investigate the new compact video cameras supplied by the Learning Portal

After a period of procurement core audio-visual equipment has now been delivered to all five partners. The core equipment includes a high-end video camera, as well as a number of more simple consumer video cameras and also sports/action video cameras. There are also audio recorders, still cameras, lighting and various types of microphones. This is all complemented by some PCs that have video editing software, headphones and graphics tablets. These are available to all staff at each partner organisation to produce multi-media educational resources. Additionally each partner has been funded to purchase equipment that is specific to their individual needs, as well as some resource for training and support, and some estates work where necessary to house the new equipment.

Tom Mary Happy Kit

Project Manager Tom Bartlett and Aberystwyth University E-learning Advisor Mary Jacob try out some of the new equipment supplied by the project.

Multimedia Production Team

A team of three experts have been recruited in order to support partner staff in producing educational resources. They will all be in place by mid-June and will help all partners in producing some quality educational resources, while imparting and sharing their skills with staff at each partner. The team consists of Lizi Hesling (Media Production Co-ordinator), Matt Cawte (Animator) and Russ Basford (Audio-Visual Technician).  More on them soon! This group will be based in dedicated offices at Aberystwyth University but will travel often to partner locations. It is also planned that there will be an additional member of support staff based in North Wales.

Website Development

Screenshot

Example Study Scheme page from development site

Dan Pullin, senior web developer, has been hard at work developing the functionality of the website. It has now been opened to a select group of project staff and contacts for review and promotion. It is not yet ready to be opened more widely, as Dan has concentrated on the functionality of the site, and has developed test features with the help and assistance of partner staff. Before launch it will be assessed by some independent website experts who will advise on navigation, presentation and branding. All partners are now primed to submit a feed of their course data to the site using open course description standards and agreed a common shared approach at a recent meeting together.

Lunch

Partner staff responsible for study scheme data at a recent meeting in Dolgellau

Partner Projects Each partner has plans for developing the skills of their staff and using the project equipment to produce educational materials that will be showcased on the portal and provide a taster of higher education to potential students.

Aberystwyth University - Space has been allocated for a new dedicated ‘media lab’ and studio, which will be known as the ‘Academy’. The university has set up a working group to address how to progress the production of educational resources and to deploy and use the equipment, which reports to the Technology-Enhanced Learning Group of the University. When the equipment is installed and in use, it will be supported by the working group, with the entire E-learning Team helping to recruit and advise academic staff on educational resource creation. Guides and materials will be provided, and staff will be available for surgeries and desk-side support.

Bangor University - Bangor already had a group looking into Open Educational Resources (OER), consisting of academics, library and e-Learning specialists.  Two Schools at the university are already engaged with the project. The first OER was created during the summer 2013. It consists of an eight minute PowerPoint presentation with a voice over with video clip and images (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiOYkAIbE-g).  Bangor are now looking at ways of driving uptake across the university. There are Teaching and Learning contacts in each School or College who will be utilised to take the project forward. There is a core of early adopters in various schools whom the Learning Technology Team are working with, who are creating early stage examples that act as a catalyst to generate interest among other members of staff.

The Open University in Wales - The OU in Wales will be producing a series of student and project case studies. This will be initially focused on the experiences of part time distance learning, work based learning and widening access work. The Cadarn equipment will also be used to share good practice amongst OU staff and tutors. It will offer an opportunity to demonstrate how all staff could use audio-visual materials in their practice, and will be available as a resource for staff and student volunteers to use.  The OU will also be offering a number of learning resources from its OER repository, OpenLearn, www.open.edu/openlearn; including Welsh medium content from the newly developed OpenLearn Cymru (due to be launched in summer 2014).

OU Staff

Open University in Wales staff familiarise themselves with the new equipment

Glyndŵr University - Glyndŵr will use some of the funding available to convert a suitable room as a venue for the equipment purchased. They have set up a Media Services moodle site that will also provide a hub for support and publicity of the Cadarn project. They have purchased a lecture capture solution, 10 webcams and microphones in order to test and pilot early use of lecture capture software in five lecture rooms, and at staff desks. Testing with early adopters is ongoing at the moment. Outside of Cadarn funding, the University has also purchased a cloud-based off air recording service.

Grŵp Llandrillo Menai - As well as the common core equipment, the Grŵp will buy some more ‘consumer level’ audio-visual equipment. This will include iPads and apps for educational ‘home movie’ style material that can be produced spontaneously and in an ad-hoc, low overhead manner by academic staff.  They will also be deploying software for screen grab and lecture capture, and also will be buying the a media library server. A new H.E. block is currently being built at the Rhos-on-Sea campus on the coast of North Wales. It is anticipated that the equipment purchased will reside in the I.T. workshop within this new building.  Like the other partners, the rationale and approach at the Grŵp is to ‘keep it simple’ This way it is hoped that staff can be as independent as possible. There is a also a possibility of using some of the H.E. Media students to support the production side of developing materials.    

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