Using a Collaborative Lecture Annotation System for Teaching Education

TitleUsing a Collaborative Lecture Annotation System for Teaching Education
Duration2 Year
Project Summary

This project proposed enhancements to the existing Collaborative Lecture Annotation System (CLAS) and the expansion of CLAS functionality so that it could be used to evaluate student practicum experiences. Some objectives of the project included: improving authentication and managing access and improving the capacity to manage comments, uploading a video response, and uploading videos from smartphones. These improvements aimed at enabling students to submit videos of their field experiences when advisors are unable to observe them, thus allowing faculty and school advisors to assess a teacher candidate’s teaching performance. Students were also able to review and peer review their classroom teaching.

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2013/2014
Year 1: Project TypeLarge TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorWendy Carr
Year 1: Funded Amount47,240
Year 1: Team Members

Wendy Carr, Associate Dean, Teacher Education Office (TEO), Faculty of Education
Mark Edwards, Assistant Dean, Faculty of Education
Natasha Boskic, Director, Learning Design, Educational Technology Support (ETS), Faculty of Education
Keith McPherson, Program Coordinator, TEO, Faculty of Education
Sharon Hu, Instructional Designer, ETS, Faculty of Education
Rod Brown, Program Coordinator, TEO, Faculty of Education
John Yamamoto, Program Coordinator, TEO, Faculty of Education

Project ReportReport-2013-FL-Carr-WEB.pdf
Project Outcomes

Products & achievements: New functionality (four features) to the existing CLAS; tutorials and workshops on CLAS; professional development for student teachers.

Intended outcomes/themes:

  1. Ability to provide an alternate method for teacher candidates to be observed/evaluated during the practicum - Teacher candidates videotaping their lessons and uploading part or all of the videos to CLAS for evaluation.
  2. Greater ease of ‘3rd Party’ observations of teacher candidates - Use of CLAS to facilitate ‘observations’ by 3rd parties such as additional faculty advisors (cross-checks) and campus instructors (e.g. methodology instructors).
  3. Vehicle for teacher candidate self-evaluation and peer evaluation.

Evaluation approach: A survey was completed by the students enrolled in the courses impacted by this project. The survey instrument included Likert scales on student use of CLAS and the usefulness of the embedded tools and resources. The survey also included several open ended questions that explored the student experience with CLAS.

In addition, the Teacher Education Office collected feedback and anecdotal information from instructors, students and faculty advisors.

Findings: While it was valuable to learn about the CLAS interface and explore possibilities to augment the supervision of teacher candidates on their practicum, at this time there appear to be significant barriers to the successful integration of this technology to provide meaningful observation/feedback for teacher candidates.

  1. Difficulty uploading videos due to extremely long upload times - Typically, observed lessons on practicum are done in person for a minimum of 60 minutes; videos of similar length are simply not convenient to upload to the current platform. The use of CLAS as a vehicle for additional feedback to teacher candidates is something that might be better served if videos were taken on campus during course work (e.g., micro-teaching) and uploaded for annotation by students and instructors.  This assumes that the issue of slow upload times is addressed.
  2. Challenge of obtaining permission from schools to video our teacher candidates - Since most teacher candidate videos involve the capture of (identifiable) school student images, this has raised numerous concerns with school districts regarding policies surrounding confidentiality.
  3. The CLAS interface itself was less than optimal and user-friendly, albeit completely functional.


CLAS was discussed at the Western Canadian Association for Student Teaching (West CAST) Conference in two presentations delivered in 2014 and 2015 by John Yamamoto and Rod Brown.

WestCAST 2014 @ University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB - February 19-21, 2014

WestCAST 2015 @ University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK - February 18-20, 2015

Sustainability: Sustainment of this project will depend on three things: ease of use for teacher candidates (i.e., upload speeds, size of video, etc.), removal of barriers regarding confidentiality (issues to be addressed with associated school districts) and a potential expansion/shift of this project to campus courses.

The first two issues are largely not within the control of the university/faculty, but the third issue holds much promise moving forward. Utilization of CLAS for campus course work is something that potentially could extend quite easily across the entire teacher education program (~600 students annually) and also involve a significant number of instructors (on top of the currently involved faculty advisors). Furthermore, utilizing CLAS during course work as opposed to practicum allows for an increased level of comfort for teacher candidates to be observed/evaluated by peers, as in most cases the evaluators would have been in attendance during the initial lesson that was videotaped. The entire process has the potential to greatly impact and improve overall teacher candidate interaction and socialization.