Echo360 Academic Champion Takes the Lead from Students
There’s often a palpable level of excitement and anticipation during the student election week at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.
You only have to glance through the campaign literature dotted around the university to get a sense of what it is that really matters to students.
More than 50,000 students study at Swinburne, which demonstrates it is a popular destination for higher education and vocational training in the Australasian region. And one thing that’s always struck David Yammouni, a Learning Technologist with the University’s Learning Transformations Unit, is the importance students place on the availability of lecture recordings and the increasingly essential role they play in supporting progress beyond the classroom.
There’s been a real push from students on the campaign trail to have more lectures recorded and, as David explains, finding the best ways to deliver this was the reason behind his decision to become a pioneer Echo360 Academic Champion in 2018.
Listening to Students
Echo360’s Academic Champions Grant was launched in Australia two years ago and has now expanded to include academic and technology professionals from across the world, to help them boost the development and use of Echo360 in their institutions.
For David, becoming an Academic Champion was the important first step that helped him to begin expanding the availability of lecture recordings across Swinburne.
“We had 600 learning spaces spread across three campuses and a sizable learning community calling for lecture capture to be more widely available. So, we needed to find a cost-effective way to meet students’ needs, while ensuring lecturers could continue delivering the great teaching they always had.
“Being able to discuss the challenges we faced with the Academic Champion community gave us a new perspective on the approach we could take, and this was crucial for helping us find more creative ways of engaging our students.”
A Learning Community
Echo360 was already installed in some of the university’s flagship teaching areas and it was clear how much this was valued by students. The conversations David had with his fellow Echo360 Academic Champions – from academic colleagues to technical architects and support services staff – helped him shape a strategy that worked for Swinburne.
“I used the grant to purchase a range of new equipment, focusing on mobile wireless microphones that staff could clip on and use to record their lectures,” David explains.
“This allowed teaching staff to make high quality recordings of lectures available to students alongside any additional resources included to support teaching and learning, such as presentations or slides. Teachers simply clip on a wireless microphone and record the session directly to their laptop, so there was no major financial investment required.”
By engaging with the Academic Champion community and having the opportunity to explore the different approaches to developing lecture capture, Swinburne could respond to students’ calls to increase the availability of lecture recordings, while keeping costs down.
The adoption of wireless microphones means lecturers don’t have to make any changes to their teaching style to accommodate static recording equipment. They can continue to teach in the way they want to, moving freely around the classroom to engage with students naturally and not be tied to a lectern or designated teaching location.
New Avenues to Explore
David is now looking at incorporating more video to support students’ learning. “We’re pretty famous for the quality of our film and animation curriculum and have begun looking at how we can enable students to use video more widely to submit assignments or as part of an assessment.”
There’s also much enthusiasm among teaching staff for expanding the use of polling and quizzing tools to engage students in what they are learning and identify those who might need some additional support to get the most from their course.
“Being an Echo360 Academic Champion has given me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and share ideas and strategies for delivering great teaching and learning,” says David.
“We’re a group of people who share a common goal – using technology to enhance learning and help students succeed. And now that I am a member of the Academic Champion alumni, I’m looking forward to passing some of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the last couple of years on to others.”
Learn more: From campus video management, lecture capture, online learning, flipped classrooms and more, contact us to discover how Echo360 can help transform the teaching and learning experience at your institution.