James McDowell’s Teaching and Learning project work wins award fo

James McDowell ALT-C Award

Computing and Engineering Mon, 10 Oct 2011 09:37:00 BST

A University of Huddersfield academic has been named as the 2011 Winner of the prestigious Epigeum Award for Most Effective Use of Video at this year's ALT-C conference in Leeds. James McDowell, a Senior Lecturer in Digital Media from the School of Computing and Engineering saw off competition from 38 submissions representing institutions around the UK with an entry highlighting his VELOCITy strategy.

VELOCITy - Video Enhanced Learning Opportunities in Computing and Information Technology - integrates a range of video-enhanced teaching and learning activities developed as part of three projects which James has led over the last eighteen months, and which he uses in his teaching on the School's computer games courses. UoHTube, the first of two projects supported by the university's Teaching and Learning Institute (TALI), saw the development and introduction of bespoke instructional tutorial videos designed to provide step-by-step demonstrations of how to program 2D games and build 3D gaming environments.

As part of the second TALI-supported project, VERiFy: Video Enhanced Response in Feedback Loops, learners create video-walkthroughs of their games for formative assessment, and are then provided with video feedback on this work by tutors who highlight any problems and suggest improvements. This video feedback loop system seeks to engage learners with formative feedback by turning the process into an asynchronous conversation, and the system can be used by learners at any point in the year when a development problem is encountered by creating short clips demonstrating what is going wrong. "As tutors, we find it much quicker to locate the source of the problem and identify probable solutions using this technique rather than using text or still images, so students get timely feedback and everyone benefits" says James.

Opportunities for learners to use video later in the assessment process have also been explored, with the Vineyard project facilitating the creation of learner-generated screen-capture videos which present a summary of how their work has developed over the two semesters as a reflective self-assessment, and linking development blogs to a demonstration of the finished product.

James, who is currently completing a PhD investigating the influence of asynchronous video and mobile devices on the assessment and feedback process, said "I've been convinced for some time that video offers the potential to be of enormous benefit to learners in the creative and numerate disciplines, and it's increasingly clear that using this medium makes a real and significant difference to how learners, particularly those affected by dyslexia, can engage with feedback on their work.

It's been great to have had the opportunity to run these projects, and I'm very grateful to everyone at TALI for the support I've received from them to run UoHTube and VERiFy, and also to the ALPS Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for backing Vineyard.

Thanks to the continued support of TALI, we're about to embark on an expansion of the VERiFy project which will see the introduction of video-enhanced assessment and feedback practices in each of the Schools across the university, so winning this award is wonderful in terms of recognition for the work completed so far, and a great way to get the ReVERiFy project underway".

In addition to the Winner's certificate presented by the Director of Epigeum, David Lefevre, at the ALT-C Gala Dinner, James also receives a £500 prize and an expenses-paid trip to London to spend a day sharing best practice with the Epigeum team.

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