The Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies (CIECT) has designed and developed various online student orientation interventions to assist with the familiarisation and easy navigation for First-year students and novice users. Some of the exciting features of studying at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is that lecturers and tutors make use of blended teaching and learning approaches. That means that course content is made available using both online and face-to-face delivery methods and students are able to communicate and complete assessments, and exams online, from any location. Various Multimedia and ICT resources have been developed which students can access. One of the modes in which content is delivered utilises the institution’s Learning Management System (LMS), known as iKamva. An LMS is a website/platform through which to access course materials, made available by lecturers. It can be accessed via computer, tablet and mobile phone via a normal browser OR make use of the Android Mobile Application.
Our team at the Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies (CIECT) assists with all LMS queries. In addition, CIECT also focuses on specific niche areas which include ICTs and Multimedia support which will be required as a student’s journey through their university career.
|Student Online Interventions||Description|
|Student Online Course: iKamva familiarisation||A General Orientation module (ORI 001) has been developed within the institutional Learning Management System (LMS), iKamva. The orientation module has been designed and is a self-directed module with clear and simplified instructions. This module is structured with units representing content including: screen recordings, detailed navigation instructions, instructional guides and ‘how-to’ videos and technical requirements in order to familiarise yourself with navigation within a fully online module.Students will be able to practice specific activities within this Orientation module by submitting an Assignment, engage in an online quiz, download Course Resources and engage in a Discussion Forum. This module is a public course for all students to join and orientate yourself regarding the familiarisation and navigation of the online environment.||The module can be viewed by clicking on this link:|
|‘How to access the LMS, namely iKamva’:Student Login||As a student you will be required to login to iKamva with your username and password: Username: student number (411234); and Password: ID (13 digits) or DOB (yyyymmdd).||View screencasts demonstrating how to access and login to iKamva on our CIECT YouTube Channel https://tinyurl.com/y9osr4aq|
|iKamva: Student Navigation||This unit introduces you to iKamva, the Learning Management System (LMS) used at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and its navigation in order to become familiar with various content, communication and assessment eTools. The various eTools and how to use it are further explained in the instructional videos||View screencasts demonstrating how to navigate the iKamva Platform on our CIECT YouTube Channel|
|iKamva: Announcements||The Announcements allows the lecturer to share course related messages to the entire class. As a student you will see the Announcement messages displayed in the course. This can also be viewed via your student email.||View screencasts demonstrating how to view Announcements on our CIECT YouTube Channelhttps://tinyurl.com/y5yscetb|
|iKamva: Discussion Forums||The Discussion forum enables you to view and reflect on specific discussion topics which your lecturer has created. You are able to discuss, debate and post replies within a certain time-frame related to a topic from any geographical location||View screencasts demonstrating how to engage in the Discussion Forum on our CIECT YouTube Channel https://tinyurl.com/y42yxthf|
|iKamva: Course Resources||This eTool allows you to view the structured learning resources (files and folders) such as powerpoint lecture presentations, videos, course outlines, spreadsheets, audio recordings. This can be downloaded and saved to your electronic device for review||View screencasts demonstrating how to access, view and download Course Resources on our CIECT YouTube Channel: https://tinyurl.com/y3vdlrpc|
|iKamva: Tests and Quizzes||Lecturers will create online assessments (i.e., tests, exams, quizzes, and surveys) for delivery within the module. This will enable you to view and complete the online tests during a specific time-frame.||View screencasts demonstrating how to engage in Tests and Quizzes on our CIECT YouTube Channel:https://tinyurl.com/y4phxzjh|
|iKamva: Lessons||Lessons is a tool that allows lecturers to organise learning resources, activities, and media on a single page which you are able to view and engage with. As a student you will be able to view||View screencasts demonstrating how to access and view the Course Lessons on our CIECT YouTube Channel:https://tinyurl.com/yxz3jhfs|
|iKamva: Upload and Submit Assignments||The assignment eTool allows you to view and submit assignments, papers and projects electronically to your facilitator. Assignments can be assessed in different areas of the module. Your lecturer may provide a link to assignments on the module menu or a content area. Your student submissions are private and not visible to other student users within the module.||View screencasts demonstrating the use how to submit Assignment on our CIECT YouTube Channel:https://tinyurl.com/y2omxcsc|
‘How to use Gmail’
Gmail or Google mail is a free web based email client launched by Google which integrates into various cloud based online tools. Logging into your Gmail account automatically gives you access to Google’s cloud computing services. This allows you to make us
View screencasts demonstrating the use of various Gmail features on our CIECT YouTube Channel:https://tinyurl.com/yy8md6nr
|‘How to create a Google Sheet’||Google Sheet provides you with enhanced tools that will assist you in creating professional looking spreadsheets. The software will allow you to use most of the traditional Excel functions.||View a screencast on how to use Google Sheet on our CIECT YouTube Channel: |
|‘How to use and create Google Docs’||Google Docs provides you with enhanced tools that will assist you in creating professional looking documents. The software will allow you to insert graphics and text to enhance your completed documents.||View a screencast on how to use Google Docs on our CIECT YouTube Channel: |
|‘How to use and create Google Hangouts’||Instant messaging service with video conferencing; available for computers as well as portable devices.||View a screencast on how to use Google Hangouts on our CIECT YouTube Channel: https://tinyurl.com/y473zn67|
‘How to use Google Drive’
|Dedicated online storage repository for documents, files and multimedia content.||View a screencast on how to use Google drive on our CIECT YouTube Channel: |
|‘How to create a Podcast’||Podcasts are sound clips that are recorded, edited and saved as audio files and made available online||View a screencasts on how to record and edit audio on our CIECT YouTube Channel: https://tinyurl.com/y5cfx4jd|
|‘How to create a Concept Map’||Concept maps are tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts or propositions, indicated by a connecting line between two concepts. Words on these lines can be used to specify the nature of the relationships between different concepts.||View a screencast on how to create a Concept Map on our CIECT YouTube Channel: |
|‘Basic video editing’||Video editing is the process of enhancing raw video footage. Basic techniques applied to video include: Effects, Transitions, Titles and Background music. Video clips created and edited within software are saved in snippets (collected data and findings)||View a screencast on how to edit a video on our CIECT YouTube Channel:|
*Notes: The Learning Management System, iKamva is zero-rated (which means you can access it by using limited to no data (depending on your Service Provider). It should be noted, Google Applications are free web based applications released by Google which integrate into various cloud based systems. Logging into your Gmail account automatically gives you access to Google’s cloud computing services. This allows users to make use of many services, which are freely available within the Google Cloud based system.
The CIECT team endeavours to make use of Open Source applications for the training of Multimedia content to ensure all students can access these tools.
The student should ensure that he/she should be equipped with:
- Smart phone
- Data or WIFI
Note: Communication was shared with campus community staff and students during early 2021.
The Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies (CIECT) provides Digital Literacy Workshops to staff (academics, non-academics & post-graduate students across faculties and departments at UWC).
|Staff & Post-Grad students who have requested training (Jan – December 2020)||Staff & Post-Grad students who have requested training (Jan – April 2021)|
The numbers above are indicative of the need for digital skills and literacies across the campus community. *Weekly scheduled staff workshops and individual training sessions have increased; and are conducted via Google Meet/Hangouts.
Digital Skills ≠ Digital Literacies
Even though staff and students are tech-savvy and know their way around social media platforms, they might lack the knowledge of how to use digital tools to benefit and aid their learning, teaching and administrative goals.
|Digital Skills||Digital Literacies|
|Access and navigate and the Marks Administration System (MAS)||Set-up assessment schedules; capture, verify and publish marks. In addition, the ability to extract reports and class lists.|
|Access and navigate the Turnitin – Anti-Plagiarism platform||Set-up online class, add students; submit papers; generate similarity index reports. In addition, use the report to provide relevant feedback to students.|
|Access and navigate UWC Systems (iEnabler and UWC leave System)||Apply for leave on the VisionX Leave system and book for training sessions using the iEnabler platforms.|
|Enter and manipulate text using Microsoft Word||Create documents, capture meeting minutes, complete administrative tasks. In addition, skills acquired enhances the teaching and learning experience.|
|Create presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint||Set up and configure automated presentations using digital content (text, audio, video and images, etc.).|
|Set up a Workbook using Microsoft Excel||Capture data on a spreadsheet; generate graphs based on captured data/content; manipulate formulas.|
|Create PDFs using Adobe Acrobat Suite||Edit and convert PDF documents; combine multiple PDFs; lock and sign PDF files to share amongst colleagues.|
|Introduction to the basics of using a Computer or laptop||Use computer hardware and software to navigate the Microsoft user interface for administrative purposes.|
|Create a Vodcast||Create digital media content, comprising of audio and video which is hosted online.|
|Manipulate audio in Audacity||Record sound clips; edit existing or newly recorded audio, as well as Podcasts.|
|Capture and edit text online with Google Docs||Create documents, capture meeting minutes, complete administrative tasks. In addition, sharing and collaborating with colleagues on one document.|
|Manage files and folders online using Google drive||Access and navigate; collate documents within folders; manage, share and collaborate with colleagues.|
|Meet online using Google Hangouts/Meet||Set-up scheduled meetings; configure audio and video settings; use the features of Google Hangouts to host meetings, classes and training sessions.|
|Diarise your week using Google Calendar||Schedule meetings, deadlines, Hangout sessions and online teaching events within your Google Calendar|
Please contact the CIECT Team for any requests related to digital literacy workshops.
The CIECT team has collaborated with the EON- Reality team to offer practical/hands-on, interactive sessions. The workshops will be scaffolded (May- November 2021) whereby the participant will be able to create lessons, making use of 3D assets/objects. The workshops should enable participants to:
- Navigate and manage the EON-XR Platform
- Experience existing 3D and 360 lessons
- Create lessons using 3D assets/objects
- Apply basic teaching and learning pedagogical models with EON-XR
- Embed the 3D teaching resource within iKamva (structured online environment)
Participants should bring along the following:
- A working laptop with Windows 10 installed, OR A Macbook with updated OS
- Android OR iPhone device (Tablets can also be used)
Pre-install the application on devices by accessing the link below:https://eonreality.com/platform/
How to install the software
View the following installation videos:
These Live/Synchronous Sessions will be hosted via Google Hangouts
Programme: Online Workshops [May- November 2021]
|Access & NavigateEON-XR Platform Portal||Access and navigate online environmentEngage with structured learning content||26 May|
|Experience a EON-XR lesson||View a specific lessonEngage in learning activities|
|Create and assign EON-XR lessons making use of the 3D assets/objects||Create EON-XR Lesson Add text to speech snippets||30 June|
|Presentation of 3D lessons and Review by facilitator||Participants present lessonsTips and suggestions by facilitatorDiscus Platform challenges|
|Create and assign EON-XR lessons making use of the 3D assets/objects||Assign task itemsSave and publish 3D lessons||29 July|
|Embed the 3D teaching resource within the ‘lessons tool’(iKamva).||Access online environmentEmbed interactive 3D resource within Lessons|
|Adding EON-XR tool to iKamva||Browse iKamva Site SettingsLocate the eToolAdd to online environment (iKamva)||26 August|
|Navigate a 360 lesson||Explore difference between 360 and 3D LessonDiscuss scenarios how 360 and 3D lessons could be used Participant create a 360 lesson during and after session|
|Presentation of 360 lesson and Review by facilitator||Participants present lessonsTips and suggestions by facilitatorDiscus Platform challenges Demonstrate existing 360 lessons from other institutes||15 September|
|Create a Playlist on EON-XR Platform and monitor student progress||Locate playlist creation functionCreate multiple playlistsShare playlists Sourcing 3D content onlineSource and create new 3D lessons||28 October|
|Sourcing 360 Content and request custom content from Computer Science Department||Free website to download 360 imagesHow to host a live lesson presentation joined by studentPGDiP eSkills Computer Science students showcase projectProcess to source custom content from PGDiP studentsPresentation by UWC Lecturers||25 November|
Contact CIECT to book for these workshops. Send an email request to: email@example.com
Digital Academic Literacy (DAL) Programme: 1st Year & Senior Students
In this 21st Century, CIECT focuses on aDigital Academic Literacy (DAL) Programme, where on the one hand staff and students are able to easily navigate and interact within online platforms; and on the other hand, many students still require basic computer literacy skills. Thus, CIECT delivers the DAL Programme to novice users (1st year students), as well as advanced users (senior students/ other year levels).
DAL Integration into Accredited Modules [Faculty Collaboration]
The CIECT Team collaborates with the Faculty to identify student needs. The DAL Programme is integrated into accredited modules across various faculties including EMS, Education, CHS, Dentistry, Law, Arts and Science. The DAL Programme entails the following basic literacy packages; and eTools training (familiarisation of the institutional Learning Management System/ iKamva).
|Introduction to Computers||Computer basics|
|Word processing & Text Editing||Ms Word|
|Spreadsheets Creation & Data Analysis||Ms Excel|
|Multimedia Presentation/Graphics||Ms PowerPoint|
|eTools||iKamva (Learning Management System)|
Multimodal Approach: Facilitation of large-scale basic literacy programme during national lockdown [3660 students]
Due to the national lockdown, 55 classes per week were delivered via a multimodal approach:
§ Google Hangouts & Big Blue Button (BBB): ‘Live’/synchronous classes
§ iKamva (LMS): Various eTools used, such as Announcements, Course Resources, Test & Quizzes, Assignments, Discussion Forum, and Lessons Tool
§ Skills Assessment Manager (SAM): An online platform, which hosts an interactive environment, including simulations, instructional videos and a self-assessment interface. Students are able to view instructional videos on how to complete tasks. Thereafter, students are able to practice skills, before completing an online assessment.
Students are expected to engage in the DAL Assessments. These were made available via iKamva. *Some students did not participate, especially during the first semester due data and devices challenges. A total number of 363 (10.8%) students did not participate and were deferred. They participated in the catch-up Programme (December 2020 and January 2021).
DAL Programme 2021: Service Level Agreements with Faculties
The DAL Programme is offered over a semester to participating Faculties. Departments engage with CIECT to design customised lessons. Extensive planning and collaboration with departments, includes:
§ The CIECT team conducts formal meetings with specific departments, to discuss the scope of the delivery of the Digital Academic Literacy (DAL) Programme. The meetings entail aspects related to departmental specific needs; Programme outline and the agreement of the delivery of specific packages.
§ CIECT and the department develops and signs Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
§ The CIECT team recruits senior students as Tutors (co-facilitators) to assist with the DAL programme via work-study programme.
The table depicts departments who have signed SLAs for 2021. The list includes one new department, namely Sociology (SOC 151).
|Faculty||Depts./Modules||Number of students[May 2021]|
|Arts||CST100 and LIB121||337|
|CHS||CCL111 and CCL121||521|
|Dentistry||BDS and BOH||111|
|EMS||ALC131, ALB131, FIA242||1093|
|Law||BSL100 and 101||570|
|Science||PHA116, PHY111 and Phy152||353|
The CIECT team collaborates with departments (in advance) – to prepare for the upcoming academic year.
NB: CIECT welcomes collaboration for Semester 2 [i.e. additional departments] – if we are going to remain online for 2021.
NB: CIECT is not able to accommodate any new department for the current academic year 2021[i.e. if we are going to deliver face-to-face in the new semester]. Planning involves collaboration with the ICS Department for Labs/Venues.
Contact the Manager: DAL to plan and customise, in advance for Semester 2 (2021); and 2022. Mr Fundile Nkunge at firstname.lastname@example.org; X3147
The CIECT team offers training and support to academics with regards to the ‘Peer-Review tool’, within the Turnitin (Tii platform).
The Peer Review tool allows students to review papers submitted by fellow students, within specific groups.
Set-up Turnitin Class & Assignment
The CIECT team assists the academic to set-up an online class and assignment. The lecturer is able to add students to the class and designate a specific topic/paper to the students.
Set-up ‘Peer-Review eTool’ with specific parameters
The lecturer is able to set-up the environment enabling student review/feedback to be linked to the assignment. Parameters include, a questionnaire, free response, number of papers to be reviewed.
Students are able to submit assignments. Thereafter each student receives an anonymous student paper to be reviewed. Review criteria (provided by the lecturer), includes: grammar, spelling, sentence structure; and relevant content/topic. The feedback is collated within a ‘structured list view’ which makes it easy for the student (peer) to read.
Benefits of Peer-Review
Students are encouraged to engage in constructive feedback. In addition, it is necessary for students across disciplines, preparing within their specific fields to focus on critical aspects of assessment and feedback.
Contact the CIECT team to engage in planning processes (i.e. set-up and hosting the Peer-Review environment within Tii).
Asynchronous Teaching & Producing Multimedia Material: Cognisant of student access, environments and experiences
Students are accessing iKamva from various geographical regions. All students are exposed to different home environments; and experience different technical and connectivity issues. Hence it is important for lectures to continue to teach effectively via asynchronous methods (students access at different times across various regions).
Since the beginning of the National Lockdown many academics have developed multimedia content to support online teaching and learning. Lecturers focus on asynchronous methods and produce pre-recorded lecturers, making use of screencasts, podcasts; narrated PowerPoint presentations; and video recordings. Hence lecturers are able to record their Zoom and Google Meet sessions. These are edited and compressed; and uploaded into iKamva.
NB: Editing and compressing video recordings are important as we have to remain cognisant of large file sizes, and the quality of the recordings. We have to remain cognisant of the different user experiences and challenges. Many students are still challenged by high data charges and large multimedia downloads which rapidly deplete data.
The CIECT team offers Multimedia training sessions on a monthly basis to assist academics to develop their multimedia content in the most efficient way for online delivery. CIECT has also prepared a series of self-help instructional materials (screencasts) which will assist you to create Multimedia resources. You will be able to produce Podcasts, Narrated PowerPoint presentations, Screen recording and Edit video footage.
|Basic video editing The basic video editing workshop will enable participants to engage in a ‘show, tell and do’ session where they get to do a basic video edit on their own. During the training the following will be covered: Exploring the video editing interface, Video formats, Adding video and images, Effect, Transitions, Titles, Adding audio, Editing content provided, Auto movie.||Software: https://www.openshot.org/download/ Basic video editing tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRapI9kHlmY|
|Concept Mapping Objective: to develop basic concept map utilizing the freely available Cmaptool software. The Concept mapping workshops provide you with a two hour hands-on session covering some basic concept mapping theory as well as a practical component utilizing the OpenSource Conceptmapping tool. The software can be downloaded from the following site https://cmap.ihmc.us/ for use on your laptop or desktop. The key to developing good concept maps is practice.||Software: https://cmap.ihmc.us/cmaptools/cmaptools-download/ Concept mapping tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBcKdTIMsxo&t=8s|
|Screen Recording, Compression & Conversion A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output which results in a video file. During the training participants will learn how to: record their computer screen and voice over for a screencast. Compress a screencast (video content, video formats) so that it takes up less storage and utilises less bandwidth when placed online. Convert a screencast to different formats best suited for the platform where it is going to be used.||Software: https://monosnap.com/download/win Screen recording tutorial:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQER20h0Irg&t=18s|
|Multimedia workshop: Teaching tools for the digital age Develop multimodal digital literacy through Storytelling. All communication is multimodal in nature, whether face-to face, aural, text or images and it is during trans-modal moments that shifts in our understanding takes place. Tools that we use have certain affordances in trans-modal movement and digital storytelling provides us with the opportunity to move between modes in a meaningful way enabling us to develop vital digital literacy skills. This workshop should enable you to edit images, create audio (narration) tracks, compile your media into a video and upload to an online platform. Furthermore, you will be exposed to a variety of tools and will be able to develop your materials using the device and software of your choosing.|
|Mobile Editing The aim of the workshop is to frequent participants with the basics of editing on using your mobile phone. We will do an overview of available software and explore some of the pro’s and cons of mobile editing. The workshop will look at some practical hints and basic requirements to recording with your smartphone and look at DU recorder and Vlogit as the software of choice for editing a basic video. Importing video, audio and images and titles into a project as well as the export of video to various formats for hosting and sharing.||Mobile editing tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqzKjHKzL8E&t=43s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dre9Y42RLJk&t=5s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3yE_-7omyU&t=15s|
|Audio-editing Audio editing to create podcasts can play an important role in creating data-lite content for easy access for students where visual content may not be necessitated. Audacity is a widely used opensource application used to create or editing podcasts in a wide range of fields and can be put to good use as a form of evidence-based assignments.||Software: https://www.audacityteam.org/download/ Audio editing tutorial:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nd2OT26Ys_I&list=PLcNoCjyvgBPxUTdpsuqvVXVdu7A73I2Zd|
Training for April 2021
|Wednesday 7 April||Basic video editing (9am – 11:30) Concept mapping (2pm – 4pm)|
|Wednesday 14 April||Screen recording, Conversion & Compression (9: 30 am -11:30) Mobile editing (2pm – 4pm)|
|Wednesday 21 April||Concept mapping (2pm – 4pm)|
|Wednesday 29 April||Multimedia teaching tools for the Digital age day 1 (9am – 1pm)|
|Wednesday 30 April||Multimedia teaching tools for the Digital age day 2 (9am – 1pm)|
Book to reserve via the HR iEnabler system (Type the name of the workshop when searching for workshop details).
Bookings and cancellations should ideally be communicated at least 3 days before the workshop.
Asynchronous Teaching supplemented with Synchronous/LiveSessions: Cognisant of student access, environments and experiences
Students are accessing iKamva from various geographical regions. All students are exposed to different home environments; and experience different technical and connectivity issues. Hence it is important for lectures to continue to teach effectively via asynchronous methods (students access at different times across various regions). You are able to supplement your online environment with ‘live/synchronous’ sessions. However we have to remain cognisant of the different user experiences and challenges.
During the national lockdown, CIECT shared examples of good practices whereby lecturers were able to teach remotely. The CIECT team advised on Asynchronous teaching methodologies, supplemented with synchronous/live sessions:
Below are some examples of good practices shared with the campus community:
Lecturers Clement Nyirenda and Louise Leenen, in collaboration with their Tutors have created an online structured module for the 2nd year students. Pre-recorded videos (structured presentations) were uploaded into the ‘Course Resources’ eTool. In addition, Tutorials; and Practical exercises and solutions were added to the eTool.
Lecturer Carole Bloch from the Faculty of Education, teaching English Home Language (ELT 311) makes use of social learning via WhatsApp and iKamva to support her students. This format of learning embraces the #NoStudentWillBeLeftBehind campaign. The lecturer schedules synchronous meeting times with each group of students which consists of eleven groups. Information is shared with the students that have challenges connecting to the internet and that have no devices.
Lecturer Gavin Maneveldt has been making use of various teaching methodologies to enable his students to actively engage online:
o Narrated PowerPoint Presentations of lectures were uploaded to the course resources within iKamva. The lecturer is cognisant of file sizes; hence his presentations were structured into manageable chunks. Students are able to download easily.
o Structured online environment with interactive lesson pages: Weekly activities/tasks; A checklist per weekly activity that guides students through content and tasks; Embedded Learning Science simulations
o Dropbox for student for to upload and share activities, within iKamva (private file sharing space between lecturer and student)
Education Lecturer Intisar Etbaigha hosts structured lessons for first year module (FAL 101), which were segmented according to weekly discipline specific topics. A reading corner was developed in the online space, which is aimed at motivating students to read different literature pieces and then share their feedback within the Discussion Forum. In addition, Narrated PowerPoint Presentations were developed and embedded for each lecture.
Sociology Lecturer, created discussion topics for student and tutor engagement and online assessments. The discussion forum has been structured to allow for the following engagements: Content related discussions; Tutorial submission and discussion; Discussions with other students; and Administrative Questions.
Industrial Psychology lecturer, Tololupe Balogun enabled her 1st Year Industrial Psychology to complete an online quiz at the end of each chapter of the textbook. The quizzes consisted of 10 Multiple-Choice questions, and students had 30 minutes to complete.
EMS Faculty Lecturer, Salo Moodley has created an online environment to support teaching, learning and assessment practices for her 1st year Academic Literacy for Business students (ALB 131). A number of assessments were conducted via iKamva’s Assignments tool, allowing students to submit their work remotely and enabled immediate tracking of non-submissions. Major assignments were checked for originality using the iKamva’s Turnitin integration, which enabled students to resubmit their work up to 4 times in order to develop their writing and referencing skills.
Lecturer Dr. Bradley Rink, has created an interactive online environment for his 1st year GES (Human Geography) 111 students. Structured Lesson topics were divided according to weekly topics (scaffolded approach). Students were also provided with links to required pre-lecture readings.
Science lecturers have embedded the Learning Science Simulations for each term within their online structured environment. Students can access Pre-Lab Simulations from any geographical location: Safety Features and Hazards Dressing for the Lab Graduated Cylinders, etc. The CIECT team advised the Department regarding the design and development of a structured online environment, rather than mere uploading resources into an online space. Hence, this module entails: Overview; Course Outline; Prelab Simulations; Announcement; Discussion forums; Assignments and Tests and Quizzes.
Zoom (300 users), Google Meet (100 users) AND BigBlueButton (100 users): Platforms for hosting live/synchronous sessions
- Contact ICS Department for Zoom Licence to host over 100 students
If you intend to host a session for more than 100 students, please contact the ICS Department email@example.com – to request a Zoom Licence/ Account – which allows up to 300 students per session (according to ICS); and other related Zoom queries:
- Setting up Zoom sessions,
- VPN access,
- Data costs,
- Constraints and limitations,
**The Zoom platform is similar to Google Meet, with added security and activity features.
- Contact ICS Department regarding Google Meet to host 100 students
Google Meet is an online communication tool that enables video and audio calls with the option of recording online sessions. Google Meet can be accessed via your Gmail profile, thus logging in to Gmail will grant you access to the platform. Group sessions are set up within the user’s calendar events. It is advised to add between 90-100 participants per session even though Google Meet allows up to 100 attendees per session. Please see the attached link which shows how to use, record and share.
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/nJA3wzEk7VQ
NB: In March 2020 Google increased the number of users who could join a live lecture/Google Meet from 100 to 250 participants, due to the national lockdown.
NB: This number has been reduced to 100 on 01 March 2021.
**Lecturers across disciplines have been making effective use of Google Meet to host live/synchronous sessions.
**The ICS department has advised users to login to OpenVPN (please refer to ICS email communication). Contact ServiceDesk regarding OpenVPN setup. Google Meets and Microsoft Team uses a WEBRTC protocol that bypasses VPN connections. This results in these applications consuming data. At this stage Zoom is covered by the VPN (ICS Department).
Google Meet: Create group sessions/lectures
Lecturers are able to create group sessions for large classes. **The recorded session can be presented in the follow-up classes/groups; and engage in discussion.
You are able to record the Google Meet session and share it via iKamva (online environment). In addition, pre-recorded lectures can be uploaded into iKamva.
- BigBlueButton – external plugin/tool: Capacity 100 users
BigBlueButton(BBB) is an external plugin (separate web conferencing tool). The eTool is integrated within the institutional Learning Management System, iKamva and has been named Meetings. This eTool has been piloted across disciplines. The CIECT team encouraged the exploration and pilot, especially in order to support the #NoStudentLeftBehind campaign. This tool was placed on UWC’s zero-rated list, as it had been integrated into iKamva.
NB: The BBB vendor recommends hosting sessions of 100 users (or less). This is not a hard-coded constraint, as you can have 101, 102, etc. However, as more users join in the session, in general, overall performance may be compromised, due to the extra server load and data usage.
NB: Some lecturers have raised concerns about the connectivity and reliability of BBB live/synchronous sessions. The following are possible explanations:
- Since the BigBlueButton was placed on the zero-rated list of URLs, there has been an influx of users. Lecturers explore the eTool for their synchronous/live sessions.
- Because this service is zero-rated, ISPs may throttle connectivity speeds compared to non-zero rated websites, which could in turn affect the connectivity to BBB sessions.
- Wireless connectivity can often fluctuate in signal strength, which can negatively affect the online experience with BigBlueButton.
NB: The ICS Department has advised users to login to OpenVPN (please refer to ICS email communication). Contact ServiceDesk regarding OpenVPN setup. OpenVPN allows students not to use their own data. Accessing iKamva while logged into OpenVPN will not incur data costs.
|After extensive testing and evaluation, CIECT recommends the use of Zoom over BigBlueButton (Meetings), especially for live/synchronous sessions that require more than 100 participants. Zoom is also zero-rated under OpenVPN, unlike Google Meet at this stage.|
BigBlueButton(BBB) is an external plugin to iKamva (separate web conferencing tool that has been integrated into iKamva).
BigBlueButton(BBB) is a web conferencing tool that supports real-time sharing of audio, video, slides, chat, and screens. This eTool is integrated within the institutional Learning Management System, iKamva and has been named Meetings.
Lecturers need to select the eTool within their online modules in order to create synchronous/live lectures. BBB offers a variety of features that allows you to prepare for your lectures before engaging in an online meeting.
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Technical & Operational
|Which browser best supports the BBB?||● Desktop/Laptop: Chrome (any Chromium Based browser) and Firefox● Mobile iOS (12.2+): Safari Mobile● Mobile Android (6.0+): Chrome Mobile|
|How do I access the Meeting/BigBlueButton from iKamva?||This eTool should be selected/enabled in your module which would allow you to create the Meeting|
|Is BigBlueButton zero-rated?||Yes, BBB is part of the list of URLs that are zero-rated for all UWC users. Students will not incur data costs. NB: The ICS department has advised users to login to OpenVPN (please refer to ICS email communication). Contact ServiceDesk regarding OpenVPN setup. OpenVPN allows students not to use their own data.|
|Why do I need to do an Echo (mic & earphones) test?||To verify that your earphone and microphone is working (sound check).|
|What are my minimum specifications for computers?||Desktop/Laptop UsersThe following settings are recommended for all users connecting to BigBlueButton via desktop or laptop device:For computers, you need a laptop or desktop computer with (at least) 4G of memory and a 2+ Ghz processor (any computer bought in the last three years should be fine), or any Chromebook with 4G of memory and a 1.5+ Ghz processor.For bandwidth, you must have at least 1.0 Mbits/second upstream and 2 Mbits/second downstream. To check bandwidth use, https://speedtest.net/.For audio, we strongly recommend using a headset. A headset will ensure that others can hear your voice clearly and you don’t cause echo or background noise for others. A laptop with a built-in webcam and microphone will be sufficient as well, if you’re in a quiet area.|
|What are my minimum specifications for mobile devices?||For data networks, we recommend 4G LTE for the best results or minimum 3G connection to use audio, view presentation content, and receive screen sharing. For device settings, we recommend reducing device usage while connecting to BigBlueButton; close applications that may run in the background and reduce browsing activities.|
|How does Load Shedding affect my BigBlueButton experience?||Laptops will be operating on battery power and your online presence will be shortened. Often when there’s load shedding, the mobile network’s antennas provide limited or no internet connectivity. After a load shedding period, mobile networks will take some time to become available again. This will show that you don’t have any connectivity.|
|What happens when a student is ‘kicked out’ of a session? How do they re-enter?||In order to re-enter a session, a student must select: ‘End’. Thereafter the student clicks on the ‘Join’ option.|
|Can I record my sessions?||You are able to record the lecture. You need to select the ‘record’ option when you create the Meeting. The recorded session can be viewed in classes/groups.|
|Can my students view my pre-recorded lectures?||Lecturers are able to pre-record a lecture within BBB. These pre-recorded lectures are made available to students.|
|When will my class/lecture recording become available?||Recordings are not available immediately, but become available after about 1- 24 hours of the session (this also depends on the length of the lecture). This depends on the type of content (including digital media components) which was recorded during the live sessions. This is because the system requires time to encode it in viewable form.|
|How long will this recorded lecture be visible within BigBlueButton?||The recordings are available for as long as the module is published and available to students.|
|Is there a ‘time-limit’ for the lecture to be conducted?||There is no ‘time-limit’ for the meeting/live lecture. However, be advised that the longer the meeting, the greater the delay before the recording can be processed for viewing.|
|What is the capacity of BigBlueButton?- How many students can join my class online||We advise that you do not exceed a capacity of 100 users (per session) within BBB (recommended limit/capacity by BBB developers). It should be noted that once you have a class larger than 100 users the quality of the presentation will be compromised. The BBB vendor recommends hosting sessions of 100 users (or less). This is not hard-coded, you can have 101, 102, etc. However, as more users join in the session, in general overall performance may be compromised, due to the extra server load and data usage.It should be noted that these capacity recommendations have been advised by the vendor/developers of BBB. iKamva is a seperate platform to BBB.|
|Can I share my screen using the BigBlueButton?||Lecturers and Tutors are able to share their scree (video lectures, presentations) when they conduct live lectures.|
|Can I upload and present lecture presentations?||Yes. Lecturers and Tutors can upload and present their lectures (Pdfs, PowerPoint slides) to display while conducting the live lecture using BBB/Meetings.|
|Can I use Microsoft Word Document in my presentations?||Yes, you can. BigBlueButton converts Microsoft Office documents into PDF. For best results, save your Word or PowerPoint document as PDF. It is recommended to use PDF files for presentation.|
|Why does my presentation animation disappear?||When the file is uploaded to BigBlueButton, it is converted to SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and does not retain any animations. SVG is smaller and retains good visual quality, even when zooming into slides. It should be noted that GIF animations are also excluded.|
|Can students share their video in the BigBlueButton/Meeting?||Students are able to share their web cameras while engaging in the live lecture. Lecturers are able to deselect this option. Many cameras being shared at once will increase data use. (recommended that only the lecturer enables their webcam).|
|Why do I get an error/pop-up message when I set up my Meeting?||When you create a meeting please do not select the ‘Notify participants‘ option.|
|Should I include a closing date and time for my session?||It is advised that lecturers do not select the option to close this session. This will allow users to access the recordings through the meeting tab instead of the recordings tab.|
|Can I download the recording?||These recordings are available in your module within iKamva under the ‘recordings’ tab and can be viewed as many times as possible. It cannot be downloaded.|
|Why must students wait for the moderator?||If the lecturer enables the “wait for moderator” option, students can only join the live lecture once the moderator/lecturer has joined the class. It is best to allow users to join the class while the class is in session.|
|Why should I create group sessions (different time slots for large classes)?||Lecturers are able to create group sessions for large classes. The recorded session can be presented in the follow-up classes/groups; and students can engage in discussions.|
|Can I have continuous “permanent” sessions in BBB?||The BigBlueButton service does not support continuous or permanent sessions.|
Contact the CIECT team to assist with setting up your live lecture.