In August 2010, a proposal submitted by a team from the University of Sussex, UK was awarded funding as part of the Echo360 grants programme. The project, called ‘Me2U’ (on reflection, a title perhaps too close to the Chuckle Brothers catchphrase), has set out to investigate the ways in which the personal capture version of Echo360 (PCAP) can be used to support student learning. Echo360 PCAP can be installed on a laptop and will record what is displayed on the screen, an audio track and a video feed from a webcam. It then produces the recording in three files formats – flash, m4v and mp3.
One of the advantages that we see with Echo360 PCAP is that its interface is very simple and it does not require any specialist knowledge about converting a recording into an appropriate file type. The process by which a recording is published is exactly the same as that used in the Echo360 lecture theatre set up. Users do not, therefore, require any further technical guidance, freeing them to focus on the pedagogic aspects of the recordings.
What we are really interested in finding out is how short recordings can, for example:
- help students know where they are going with the course, how it might relate to other courses and what the tutor expects;
- clarify questions raised by students on a particular topic or concept, or prepare students for their first piece of assessment;
- provide an end-of-course synopsis or help prepare for the end of year exams.
Our first phase is underway – we are supporting those involved in the creating recordings – both in how to use the software and discussing the kinds of recordings they could make.
We’ll be providing updates on how the project is progessing through the e-learning blog.