UKZN Technology Enhanced Learning

UKZN Technology Enhanced Learning (UTEL) is a collaboration between the University’s Teaching and Learning Office (UTLO) and Information Communication Services (ICS). UTEL was established to provide a suite of technology rich teaching and learning solutions and innovative pedagogies, using eLearning, online learning, blended learning and the flipped classroom approach.

The revitalised recording studios on the Westville campus are equipped to professional standards and used to design e-learning solutions; undertake lecture capture, digitisation and dissemination; professionally design, direct and record studio interviews, debates, panel discussions and a host of other technology enhanced teaching and learning activities. The studios are versatile, using chroma key techniques, virtual sets and teleprompters.

UTEL plans to expand its operation to the Pietermaritzburg campus and will equip the former AV studio to be fully functional for academic staff to make use of these facilities. 

Comments from Users

“This is a really exciting initiative which will enable us to become a lot more creative and innovative in our teaching approaches” – Prof Managay Reddy, School of Law

“This is truly wonderful and should inspire others to make greater use of this amazing service offered by UTLO” Prof Betty Mubangizi, CLMS

“Thank you for doing such an excellent job!” Dr Caroline Goodier, Law

“The students received the video well, they said they would like to see more videos like that one. All in all, the video had a positive effect on both staff and students.  Thank you for a good quality video and I will most definitely see you again in the future” Dr Zama Msibi, LMMS

“Many thanks for your assistance this morning. As usual, your team were fantastic. The video looks perfect. Thank you” – Ailie Charteris, Finance

“Grateful thanks for your assistance, and for the professional and friendly service I received. It is greatly appreciated” Prof Shannon Hoctor, Law

“The video looks fantastic – so professional!” Prof Shannon Bosch, Law

“This type of session may well be one of the best learning experiences students will have in their entire degree. The students themselves said that this was one of the most valuable, and certainly memorable learning experiences of their entire degree. There is amazing scope to have others do similar things with senior students as an exciting way of using technology to support two key digital age pedagogies – conversation and correction” Prof Craig Blewett, SMIG

“Thank you so very much for this. it is perfect” Dr Faaiza Shaikh, Disability Office

“I have made contact with the group and they are very happy with the video. Have already uploaded to LinkedIn and apparently have over 90 ‘likes’. Thank you so much for your help” Dr Patricia Shewell, SMIG

“As always thanks – vids are really slick and I really like the colour scheme”Dr Justin Pringle, Engineering

“Thanks so much to you and your team for all your help. You really have a professional crew” Dr David Hulme, Constitutional Law

“Thank you so much Jasper. Much obliged to you and your team. You are all always very pleasant to work with” Shelley Donnelly, Accountancy, Economics & Finance

“The video is amazing, easy to follow and well-articulated”  Prof Kriben Pillay, GSBL

“Thank you for your email and the video link. The videos are AWESOME” – Dr Roshni Gokool, African Languages

“Thank you for the session today – it was great fun!” Dr Lee Swales, Law

“It is always a pleasure working with UTEL staff. Very appreciative of the support that you both provide on an ongoing basis” Prof Fayth Ruffin, SMIG

“Thanks so much for today. I really appreciate your assistance and professionalism” Dr Saul Cobbing, Physiotherapy

“This experience marks one of the most significant learning experiences for our students. Many of them tell us they have never experienced anything like this and greatly appreciate the opportunity to really lift their game and learning to new heights. I have had students come back after several years and say how this experience is one of the few they remember from their days open campus. You and your team’s professionalism adds significantly to the occasion making the students get a real sense of being in a live TV studio. Once again, thank you for all the effort and the amazing UTEL studio that we can use to engage students in innovative, active learning approaches” Prof Craig Blewett, SMIG

“it really is a landmark experience for our students. it is also one of the very special events in my academic teaching year” Dr Rosemary Quilling, SMIG

“Jasper & his team have been absolutely phenomenal with all of their assistance with the videos required. They have always been willing to assist on short notice and the numerous changes that were required. I cannot thank the team enough for all their efforts. The work you produce is truly of exceptional quality”. Vasu Chetty, Academic Computing, ICS

“I second that they are an absolute pleasure to work with. They are incredibly efficient and cordial” Shamla Naidoo, Academic Computing, ICS

Our Objectives

UTEL encourages lecture capture that integrates blended learning and flipped class approaches to teaching. In studio,  selected concepts and lectures are re-created and made available digitally to students. Students then review content in their own time and spaces with peers, and use these materials to reinforce their understanding and prepare them for assessments. Repeat lectures are re-used for subsequent classes; also useful when guest lectures cannot be brought back.

This assists students that are absent or not able to attend lectures due to overcrowded classrooms and/or when lectures are cancelled due to disruptions and time schedule constraints. It assists with revision, for students to re-visit materials when lectures are not easily understood due to language barriers, and meets the need for limited laboratory or practical teaching sessions when class numbers are too large or there are not enough specimens to go around.

UTEL will distribute materials through the UKZN digital portal (Kaltura MediaSpace). Teaching video materials are uploaded to Moodle for student access.

UTEL is in the process of creating an enterprise video library that will auto generate catalogues, using media asset management to centralise and organise materials, so users can perform “smart searches” across the library. Digital content will be available through Kaltura MediaSpace where staff and students can watch or download to any mobile device. No specialised software will be required and the portal uses active directory authentication and provides analytics.

UTEL supports the design and production of video materials  for the purposes of marketing academic departments, programmes and courses, to attract potential students and draw funders and promote the University. These are longer term projects that require conceptualisation, scripting, research, shooting and editing.

UTEL also creates video materials to enhance teaching and learning. Here ideas, concepts and academic content are researched, scripted and turned into effective educational videos for students to utilise for revision and clarification. This is different from capturing lectures “live” as this production process takes into account careful scripting and storyboarding so that content is rich with suitable visual materials.

Studio 3 is a small sound studio where multitrack recording and mastering is done, and final output may be published to CD or iTunes. Accompanying music videos can be created using green screen techniques and published alongside the audio materials. This studio is well suited for narration, voice overs, language translation, creation of music stings and themes, recording of small music ensembles, and radio interviews.

Formal Courses
UTEL provides a service to assist students who need to be trained by experts and obtain access to production and edit facilities. There is a demand for this service by Colleges, students and the industry. To employ our students, broadcast and external production companies usually require them to have practical work experience in addition to qualifications. In 2018 and 2019, UTEL conducted practical sessions for 3rd year Media Studies students to gain experience in a multi-camera environment and studios.

UTEL teaches a video production module to Media Studies Honours Students who spend a semester taking in lectures, completing practical assignments and exercises, finally creating and submitting 7 minute group videos as their final projects.

Informal Training
Offered as an NGO service to various community organisations, taking the form of free production training workshops as part of our community outreach strategy.

Short Courses and Certified Training
Short courses that take place over weekends or evenings, undertaken in subjects like sound engineering, multitrack recording, camera operation and video editing. This is useful for event and church operators. Certified training courses can be facilitated on behalf of industry players.

Student interns who are in the process of completing their studies in relevant fields often require practical experience and further skilling. An internship programme allows students to spend time at the studios and exit with work experience written into their CV. Outcomes-based criteria will be used for assessment of interns.

To address skills shortages, recognised as a national problem among previously disadvantaged individuals, and meet the skill needs in areas like production, technical and design, UTEL is able to provide attachments and in-house training on practical and theoretical components, exposing learners to various technologies.

Campus TV was created by Audio Visual in 2007, envisaged as a production facility and television station, run by students for students. Students who are interested in media production volunteered their time and in return, were provided experience and skilling in a variety of areas like sound/camera operation, mixing, directing, lighting, presenting, news gathering, etc. UTEL hopes to revive this as Studio 1 is ideally equipped for interviews, performances and news-type programmes. It is envisaged that UTEL will broadcast three hours of live content per day from the studio and can include debates on current topics using University experts. Students can be given the freedom to produce variety and daily news programmes.

The TV Studios are being developed and marketed as the production hub of the University since it has excellent custom designed infrastructure, well suited for the purpose. It will become a turnkey facility as a UKZN broadcast centre as well as the facility to host Teaching & Learning TV.  University leaders use the facility to engage in debates, panel discussions, seminars, interviews, to speak to staff and students and do presentations. Broadcasters will be able to interview experts directly “live” from Studio 1 on current subject matters. Programmes can be transmitted by satellite or fibre to major broadcasters, and ultimately the University hopes to have its own broadcast channel.

For UTEL to become self-sustaining, it plans to take on commercial work and earn revenue. Its properly equipped video facilities are available to external production companies and broadcasters to assist bring in 3rd stream income. External work is often done during “down time” or after hours and carefully managed so that University work is not compromised. This allows the unit to generate its own funds to keep facilities up to date with the latest technology. There is a need for professional facilities in the province, and partnerships will be established. There are current requests from various stakeholders.