Distance Learning classes at UAH are offered as an outreach to students around the state, country, and world. These classes are an integral part of the UAH academic environment. The Distance Learning initiative at UAH strives to provide up-to-date and service-oriented technological support for all DL faculty and classes, while maintaining a strict focus on offering high quality academic work. We serve to continuously improve our support structure. To see guiding principles and future plans for our DL program, click here to view "Features of Exceptional Programs & Courses" in Distance Learning.
Distance Learning (DL) courses and programs at UAH taught by faculty from within the College of Engineering use a number of technological tools. We use a lecture capture tool that allows us to capture live or to host pre-recorded lectures from our professors and to provide this content to our DL students. These classes may be viewed on-demand or live via Streaming/Webcasting, where made available by faculty. Many of our faculty also supplement their DL classes with Canvas, the learning management system for the UAH Campus. In addition, we also offer some courses across the UA System using Videoconferencing.
Attention COE DL Faculty and those using DL staff services! Significant changes to our lecture capture initiative are coming for Spring 2014 semester. Please refer to the transitional information below for additional information and contact Dr. Sherri Restauri firstname.lastname@example.org" directly with any questions on this, or to arrange training.
We are moving from our previous lecture capture system – Mediasite – to a new lecture capture system – Panopto – that will be in use campus-wide in a number of different buildings, available to all faculty on campus. This transition entails new hardware and software components in the DL classrooms, as well as a change in videography provisions with class recordings. Additionally, many of our procedures will be modified and updated to reflect this new technology usage. We will continue to provide examination proctoring, and document distribution with delivery as we have in the past. An updated Spring 2014 DL Policies & Procedures document will be provided before the new term begins to further detail all changes.
Equipment changes include: removal of Smartboards, the installation of new, larger Sympodiums for ink annotations during presentations, projection screens, new projectors, new mics/audio for in-room recording, new cameras, new on-board lecture capture software on instructional stations, and new instructional podiums.
New classroom upgrades for the Spring 2014 term include:
Technology Hall: THN 140, THN 142, THN 153, THN 155, THN 324, THS117. (Additionally, THS 104 and THN 326 were upgraded during the Fall 2013 term).
Engineering Building: EB 134
Additionally, new classrooms across the UAH campus have been added and will continue to be added over the next few years. The Astra scheduling system will reflect these classrooms with lecture capture functionality so that you may schedule your classrooms as needed based on their technological functionality. Here is a listing of the currently available and pending rooms, as noted by OIT.
Why are we transitioning
A lecture capture evaluation committee was formed during the AY 2012-2013 to determine how best to grow this initiative for capturing audio, video, and content for our students, both in a DL and a non-DL capacity. Based on the upgraded classroom designs recently put into place by the Academic Technologies group on our campus, we selected Panopto in order to support the classroom's hardware and software functionality, as well as to allow us to grow outside of a restricted number of classrooms.
What Motivated the Change
In January 2013, a new software platform from Mediasite was introduced (Mediasite Desktop Capture) that allowed faculty the much-requested capacity to record content independently, without the need to have either a live videographer or to be restricted to recording in a physical classroom on campus. This software capability is in high-demand by faculty on the UAH campus. Moving forward with the lecture capture initiative to make it more widely available across our campus, we sought to select a software solution that would allow that flexibility and also work alongside our upgraded classrooms. Panopto was the software tool among numerous evaluated that could meet all needs.
Change in Services Provided by COE DL Staff
COE DL technical staff will continue to provide training opportunities to DL faculty members, as well as COE faculty members teaching in classrooms equipped with the new technologies. The most significant change to our procedures are the move from out-of-room capture by videographers to in-room class recordings by faculty members. This procedural change is covered in trainings and workshops, which began during the Fall 2013 term.
DL staff and administration will also continue to proctor examinations, manage document delivery, and provide technical assistance where needed. Likewise, DL staff will continue to be available for recording individual presentations and special events requiring on-site videography on an as-needed basis. We will provide troubleshooting and assistance to the DL professors and students through our DL Technical Assistants, who will be monitoring classroom recordings periodically throughout the day.
Training on the new lecture capture software, Panopto, formally began in October 2013. The College of Engineering will be transitioning from Mediasite to Panopto during the Fall 2013 term by migrating content needing to be reused in future terms onto the Panopto server. Starting January 2014 with the Spring 2014 term, the COE DL department plans to fully roll out the usage of Panopto in all of our courses and events.
TRAINING AND SUPPORT DOCUMENTS:
Campus-wide training offerings for the new Panopto Lecture Capture system began in mid-October 2013. Departmental trainings as well as individual faculty and staff trainings are offered on an individual request basis. Contact Dr. Sherri Restauri email@example.com to schedule your training for your department or for yourself.
Additionally, documentation will be provided in paper format in all classrooms designated as in use for DL under COE beginning in the SP14 term. Additionally, the DL Director will also be electronically distributing training documents to DL faculty members in advance of the Spring term. Online training materials have been developed for individual review:
Additional Transition Questions
- What may I record with the in-classroom Panopto software program?
Panopto allows you to record audio only, audio + video, audio + video + computer content (i.e., PowerPoint), as well as additional video inputs. This is similar to the recording functionality previously provided by our Mediasite software program. Instructors have the ability to select the options for what content will be recorded for each session.
- Will I have new responsibilities with the Panopto system that differ from using the Mediasite system in Fall 2013 and prior?
Yes, you will. Faculty using Panopto to capture lectures for DL and standard face-to-face classes will be responsible for a number of actions in order to ensure the material is captured. You will need to add the Panopto nugget to each course that you plan to complete any lecture captures for; start/stop/pause any recordings during your courses; complete any edits needed on your recordings; and configure any settings (allowing downloads; synching to iTunes/podcasting; allowing public notetaking by students; etc.) as well as distribute any content that you record.
- How does the transition occur from the MS software/videos to the Panopto software/videos?
If you have previously recorded materials that you would like to have loaded for reuse on the Panopto Lecture Capture server, please contact Dr. Sherri Restauri firstname.lastname@example.org with the specific Course ID, Session(s), and Term taught and these materials can be loaded for you prior to the new term. You may request this conversion at any time, but please be aware that a week's time is needed for all conversions, with greater time for larger sets of videos.
- Will COE provide leaders/trailers and/or presentation templates to allow faculty to standardize their presentations, as was used in the past lecture capture system?
Because faculty will now be starting and stopping their own recordings with the new system, leaders/trailers must be added onto your presentation from the instructional station if you desire. We will continue to have these templates available in-room as well as on our DL faculty website, and you may download those and use these for creating your class presentations, if you desire to use those. We will include a template for both a leader and trailer that you may find useful for adding into any PowerPoints you present. DL faculty will also continue to have course-specific folders on your instructional computers in which you may store files throughout the term.
- Will there be a backup recording available, and where & when does the recording post?
All recording occurs directly on the instructional computer in the room in which it is recorded. Once posted to the web (Panopto server), multiple off-site backups are available to remove any single point-of-failure issues. Due to the conversion from Mediasite to Panopto, no on-site backups with DVRs will be used; instead, the in-room instructional computer serves as this on-site backup. Backups will be purged at the end of each term.
- How will I control what the students see for the video?
In-room instructions are provided for controlling the camera. Rooms equipped with the full suite of equipment from the Fall 2013 and forward upgrades include a Crestron touch-panel that allows instructors to zoom in/out, select from 6 pre-set camera views of close-up versus distant/classroom views, and to increase/decrease volume for in-room audio. Learn more about Enhanced Classrooms.
- Will I still be able to provide links to classes for non-DL students?
Yes. This process will change due to the nature of the video content management now residing with the responsibility of the professor. Faculty may allow for auto-publish to their synched course – by doing so, this allows all students within your course to access the content from Canvas, and provides access to all recorded content. Alternatively, faculty may disable the automatic publishing and post links within their course for select student groups (such as DL-only), where desired. The access levels for these links (and any other item added into Canvas) may be controlled. Further, Panopto gives the professor many additional publishing rights by providing the URL as well as the embed code for each session, and also at a folder level, to be distributed as the professor chooses. Additionally, the Panopto interface also allows URL's to specific sessions and folders to be sent to external email addresses outside of the UAH directory.
- Is real-time webcasting (synchronous viewing) still available? How does this work?
Yes, this is a feature that is present in the new Panopto system. It must be enabled by the professor, and the link to this live session may be distributed as needed.
- May I still record outside of classtime, and if so, how and when do I arrange this?
You may continue to record as needed from both within and outside of the classroom. The Panopto lecture capture system has been purchased as a campus-wide license. This license allows users to download the software to any local computer for recording purposes; this includes your home and office computer, in addition to the computer installed in your classroom. You may record directly to your class as needed to add in supplemental lectures, exam material reviews, or other recorded materials. You may also upload content previously recorded outside of the Panopto system, provided it complies with the necessary file formats. To schedule a recording in a classroom outside of your normal classtime, feel free to contact the DL Director Dr. Sherri Restauri email@example.com to arrange this reservation, or submit an online Event Reservation Form here. You may also reserve this directly through the Astra scheduling software.
Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series
Blackboard is offering a free faculty pedagogy training webinar series called the Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series. The Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS) is a training initiative to help augment (not replace) your on-campus faculty training efforts. Harnessing our community of Blackboard users, BITS will share the top strategies and pedagogy for both increasing educator efficiency and improving learning outcomes. This program will consist of monthly faculty training webinars that will be taught by faculty from higher ed institutions and supported by Blackboard experts. View the BITS schedule.
DL Faculty Support and Mentoring
To assist and support you with teaching through DL, we have created a Distance Learning group on Facebook. Select this link to join our group, and stay in touch with DL students and faculty at UAH. Further, we encourage new DL faculty to work with professors within their disciplines with experience in DL under a mentoring approach during the first and second academic terms.
Live Viewing of Captured Events
Did you know that DL at UAH offers LIVE viewing of captured events through our lecture capture system as a Webcasting event?
In addition to our viewers ability to watch content on-demand (on your own time), content is also available via live streaming options configurable through our Panopto lecture capture system. These live streamed events, called Webcasts, allow viewers to see and hear the presenter, along with any content being presented (i.e. PowerPoint slides) as time-synched pictures alongside the presentation. These events may be configured to allow viewers to also view and respond to polls, submit questions via a text chat tool, and view linked documents for the individual presentation. If you would like to request that your class or event have live streaming Webcasting available, please include that on your reservation form, or contact the Dr. Sherri Restauri firstname.lastname@example.org to request this on a case-by-case or semester basis.
Supporting Distance Learning Students with Disabilities
Distance Education for Teacher Training: Modes, Models, and Methods builds on EDC’s extensive international and domestic experience in the field of distance education and gathers research and lessons learned from numerous programs in over 100 nations and territories to help distance education policymakers, planners and designers develop distance education systems focused on producing high-quality teachers.
Whether upgrading “un-trained” teachers’ existing skills, providing teachers with enrichment or continuing education opportunities or helping teachers gain advanced degrees or certification, nations across the globe are increasingly turning to distance education as a convenient, flexible and multimodal avenue for teacher education.