Freshers say hello to video

By Anna Dutton, Head of Teaching and Communication EMEA, Kaltura

Having survived freshers’ week, cooked their first tuna pasta bake and broken out in a sweat at their first glimpse of the reading list, what can this year’s freshers look forward to in technology as they embark on their degree courses? While the quality of edtech provided by universities many not be top of undergraduates’ initial checklists, it is starting to become an important differentiator when it comes to choosing which universities to put down on the UCAS form.  

Student satisfaction levels go up when they have the right enabling technologies at their fingertips. And as competition for students intensifies and budgets are squeezed, the right edtech solutions can help universities to attract and retain the best students.

If you are grappling with how to boost student and lecturer satisfaction levels while streamlining your video capabilities, the findings from Kaltura’s 2016 State of Video in Education report make interesting reading.

93% of respondents believe that video has a positive impact on student satisfaction and 88% agree that it boosts student achievement levels

Our third education survey asked 1,500 educators, instructional designers, IT professionals, digital media professionals, senior administrators and students – mainly from higher education – a series of questions on the use of video in education.

The consensus is that students and educators now expect to touch video along every step of the higher educational process. Video helps to enhance knowledge transfer and improve outcomes on assignments and exams. Outside of the classroom, video helps to increase student and instructor engagement and retention, streamline admissions, and build communities.

Probably the top line finding from this year’s survey is that video in the classroom reached a tipping point during the 2015/16 academic year. For the first time, more than half (52%) of higher education respondents report that their university has integrated a video solution into the VLE. The figure is up 6% from 46% last year. From our discussions with universities, integrating a video solution directly into the VLE helps them broaden the student experience and boost students’ interaction with content by adding another learning engagement style to it. 

From a student perspective, the benefits of video are clear: 93% of respondents believe that video has a positive impact on student satisfaction and 88% agree that it boosts student achievement levels. This is probably why three quarters of undergraduates now use video for student assignments, up 4% on last year. And lecturers are getting in on the act too, using video to provide feedback on assignments is up 6% to 32% this year.

Video helps lecturers and tutors too: 86% think that video helps with professional development and collaboration between educators, while 85% assert that the use of video as part of their resources toolkit increases satisfaction. 

In terms of teaching methods, flipped classrooms and webcasting are both on the up. Flipped classrooms are used by 58% of universities, up from 50% in 2015, while 74% use webcasting for one or more purposes – including 51% who use webcasts to boost teaching and learning, up 4% on 2015.

Lecture capture is also gaining traction, up 5% to 77% in 2016. We are finding that universities see this as an effective way to balance the need to reduce costs and use less classroom resources, while also improving efficiency.

72% of teachers are perceived to have either “good” or “very good” digital literacy levels, compared to 84% of students

The survey also indicates that there is a huge appetite for new and improved tools to truly get the most out of video’s potential.  Easy-to-use tools for video capture are the most widely available right now (94%), with the most valued advanced video feature cited being closed captioning. In fact, 53% of respondents rated captioning as “very useful”. This is probably due to the need to support students with accessibility challenges and those who are not native English speakers.

Away from the classroom, video plays an important role in making student onboarding easier and also increases student retention rates, according to 82% and 76% of respondents respectively. 

Looking ahead, respondents’ views on the expected impact of a range of emerging video technologies on the classroom are revealing. Graded quizzes inside videos are predicted by 41% of all respondents to have the greatest impact on the classroom of tomorrow, with video broadcasts from mobile phones for students (36%) and videos that branch to other videos based on in-video actions (35%) also scoring highly. There is also considerable interest in Open Educational Resources, with 46% of respondents saying these will have the greatest potential impact on educational outcomes going forward.

Video’s growing use within universities and in the workplace leads naturally to the topic of the UK’s digital literacy levels. Specifically, is enough being done to ensure that students and educators feel at ease with video as a collaboration and communications medium?  

Our survey found that 72% of teachers are perceived to have either “good” or “very good” digital literacy levels, compared to 84% of students. While this difference between teachers and students is unsurprising, there is of course a need to focus on improvement across the board. To get as close to 100% as possible. My sense is that this will happen naturally as engagement and familiarity with video-based communications at university, and later in the world of work, continues to rise.

In conclusion, video is now considered as a core component of many UK universities’ technology deployments. Raised on a diet of YouTube and Snapchat, not only does it map to the way today’s video-savvy millennials communicate socially, but video can also help to improve student satisfaction levels and learning outcomes. As one of the survey respondents succinctly summed it up:  “Video will be integrated into every area of education. Mobile devices will be the overwhelming driving point.” Food for thought indeed.

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