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Looking for patterns in students’ use of Echo360 screencasts

As part of the Me2U project we are evaluating student use of the short screencasts that have been created by lecturers. Some of this information will come from student questionnaires and focus groups, but we can also look at the reports that Moodle creates when students view pages where the screencasts are held.

One of the great things about Moodle (and other virtual learning environments) is that they record which pages on a site students have visited and when they visited them. In the context of the Me2U project, this means we can get some idea of how students on the course are accessing the materials.

We have started looking at the usage statistics for some of the screencasts and thinking about the meaningful data we can extract (given the plethora of data that VLE reports produce, it’s tempting to analyse everything).

So far, we have looked at:

  • the proportion of students on the course who have viewed each screencast;
  • how these figures compare to other resources available on the course site (for example, PowerPoint slides, lecture notes);
  • the degree of overlap between those who have viewed screencasts and a similar resource that is available in another format (e.g. preparation material for practical ) – this could give us an insight into whether there are some students who prefer a more visual format;
  • the kinds of screencasts appear to be most popular with students.

We’ve only just started looking at these data on a small number of courses, so drawing any firm conclusions at this stage is tricky. However, usage stats show that students are looking at the screencasts, even when they are available in alternative formats. Also – and perhaps no great surprise – the screencasts that get the most views tend to be those that offer guidance and support on the assessment, e.g. advice on essays writing, pointers for mock tests.

So – we know students are looking at these resources – now we need to ascertain how useful they feel they are. I think screencasting offers real potential in terms of helping students’ understanding of assessment expectations and we’ll hopefully be able look at this in more detail through our other forms of data collection.

2 Comments

  1. rob stowell
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    We’re working with moodle and trying to integrate echo360 at the moment. I’m especially interested in how a/ we can emebd clips/presentations streamed from echo360 into moodle pages and b/ how users can upload clips to echo360 for such streaming, from within their moodle course.
    Are these issues you are concerned with? If not, how can you judge echo360 use from moodle reports, when the link takes you away from the moodle server to the echo one?

  2. John Davies
    Posted June 3, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Hi Rob,
    We don’t actually have the echo recordings embedded into our Moodle pages,
    but we have undertaken some integration so that the recordings are
    accessed from a moodle page. From the reporting tools in Moodle we can
    therefore ascertain who has gone onto a page with a recording and when
    they went onto the page. What we cannot tell, of course, is if they
    clicked the link and watched the recording (but then that is the same for
    all resources within Moodle)… As part of our research we have been
    asking students how many times they have watched the recordings and in
    which format to give additional information.

    Coincidentally, I went to an Echo360 community conference last week and
    echo 4.0 contains a suite of analytics tools that provide detailed information on
    viewing statistics. These weren’t integrated with Moodle at all, but Echo
    said this was something they were prioritising.

    In terms of users uploading resources to echo360 – this is feature a
    available in 3.0. I’ve not seen it in action, but would be interested to
    see how it works when/if we upgrade this summer

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