UCL News


Spotlight on... John Huang

14 September 2023

This week we meet John Huang, Media and Learning Technologist at UCL Educational Media. John talks to us about his recent project designing and launching a self-paced learning course for staff on Moodle – 'Getting Started with Lecturecast’.

A person standing outside on a sunny day with buildings and grass behind them

What is your role and what does it involve?

In my role as a Media and Learning Technologist at UCL Educational Media, I bring extensive expertise in digital technologies, with a specialised focus on distinct digital product areas such as virtual learning environments and digital media. My primary responsibilities revolve around delivering comprehensive training and support to UCL staff, ensuring their effective utilisation of digital tools. I provide expert guidance and data-driven advice to facilitate informed decision-making.

My duties extend to the implementation, maintenance, and testing of various educational systems, including Lecturecast (Echo360). Additionally, I actively collaborate with agile product teams to drive improvements and innovations in specific digital product domains. My professional journey is characterised by a commitment to cross-functional collaboration, fostering strong relationships with colleagues in the Information Services Division, UCL's educational support services, and the broader educational community across departments and faculties.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I am the newest member of my team, having only recently joined UCL. My experience here has been incredibly enjoyable, thanks to the warm welcome and support I have received from everyone. I'm truly appreciative of the inclusive and welcoming environment at UCL, which has made every minute of my work here a pleasure.

My previous position was as an Academic Systems Analyst at the University of Greenwich – a place where I pursued my studies and achieved a first class honours degree in Graphic and Digital Design. Interestingly, my previous role shares many similarities with my current one, as it involved post-implementation support and maintenance for various administrative and educational systems. The role played a pivotal part in shaping my career journey, fostering my passion for teaching and learning. It ultimately led me to my current role as a Media and Learning Technologist.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

Before UCL, I oversaw the migration of Moodle to the Cloud and successfully integrated Teams during the pandemic. This improved collaboration for staff and students within Moodle courses, facilitating access to grades, assignments, and timely notifications. It showcased exceptional teamwork.

During my time at UCL, I undertook a project to enhance our Lecturecast (Echo360) Resource Centre. In a relatively short timeframe, I revamped the Resource Centre by updating existing user documentation and creating engaging video tutorials. These resources were aimed at supporting our users in effectively utilising our lecture system to enhance the overall student learning experience. The feedback I received from these improvements was overwhelmingly positive. Additionally, I had the opportunity to contribute to the design of the Moodle landing page during the Moodle 4.2 upgrade – another accomplishment that I take great pride in.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list

I'm excited to share that I have recently launched a self-paced learning course on Moodle, titled 'Getting Started with Lecturecast.' This course is specifically designed for both new and existing staff members who require training on using Lecturecast to fulfil their teaching duties or assist others in doing so. My primary goal is to empower users to effectively leverage the various features within Lecturecast (Echo360) to enhance the overall learning experience for our students.

The course is packed with engaging activities and features speech AI for text-to-speech audio tracks, offering users an alternative way to access information beyond traditional text-based reading. Additionally, we've integrated immersive 360 camera technology for a virtual tour of Lecturecast-enabled teaching space, aiding users in becoming familiar with their teaching environment.

If Lecturecast plays a role in your responsibilities, I strongly encourage you to enrol and explore how it can enhance your teaching abilities.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

  • Album - Hybrid Theory (Linkin Park)
  • Film – The Lion King
  • Novel – The Harry Potter novel series

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

My son frequently shares this joke with me, and it never fails to amuse me:

"Why was the sand wet?"
"Because the sea weed!"

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

My dream dinner guest would have been Vaughan Oliver, a gifted graphic designer and inspiring tutor during my studies. He not only shared invaluable design knowledge, but also instilled the importance of being a righteous person. Sadly, this wish can only remain a dream, as he is now resting in peace. I would also invite my family and friends to join, as I prefer the comfort of familiar company during dinner.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I wouldn't give my younger self any advice that could change the present. I am content with my life now, as long as my children and my wife are by my side.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I'm not a fan of chocolate; I would still eat it if offered, but I generally prefer to avoid it.

What is your favourite place?

If you had asked me this question five years ago, I would have said Japan. However, now that I am a father to two beautiful children and have a wonderful wife, I would say that anywhere is my favourite place, as long as I am with them.