Video Investigations as Assessment

Photo by Cheryl Colan

Sian (left) and Merry (right) at SCC Tech Talks 2017

On January 27, I attended TechTalks at SCC and watched Geology faculty Sian Proctor and Merry Wilson present their talk Video Investigations: Students Presenting Their Understanding of Our World. From their abstract (scroll down the linked page a bit to read it in full):

Video investigations are a unique way of having students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of complex topics and establish accountability in an online learning environment.

 I love this idea for assessment in an online class. Merry assigns 4 video investigations per semester, while Sian assigns them weekly. Their students:

  • receive specific guidelines for each assigned video investigation
  • see an example video made by the instructor
  • get a link to the free Screencast-O-Matic.com
  • do not need to be given instructions on how to make a screencast – they figure it out on their own
  • create 1- to 5-minute videos to show knowledge, demonstrate mastery or reflect on course topics
  • embed their videos into Canvas Discussions to share with the rest of their class

Photo of presentation slide on the Design of Video Investigations

Sian and Merry had some goals in mind when they designed the video investigation assignment. One goal was having a way to be sure the students were actually the ones submitting the work in an online environment. A video submission goes beyond plagiarism detection via Turnitin, because you are hearing the student’s own voice, and possibly even seeing the student via webcam. Another goal was to cut down on grading time. You can grade a 5-minute video in 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much feedback you write per student. Other goals included increasing student engagement and learning retention.

Being top-notch scientists, Sian and Merry gathered data about their students before and after introducing video investigations into the courses they teach. If my memory is accurate, they found students tend to report they enjoyed the topics where video investigations were assigned more than the topics that did not involve a video investigation. Students also felt more of a sense of community, because they saw and heard each others’ faces and voices as they shared their videos. The process of creating video also built up the students’ information literacy skills over the course of the semester.

Photo of presentation slide on Engagement and Literacy

I’ve used video in the classroom as a student and as an adjunct, and I can confirm that having students produce short videos is an excellent learning and engagement tool. If you would like to learn more, reach out to Sian and Merry, or contact me in the Center for Teaching, Learning and Engagement for more information.

Posted in Maricopa Community Colleges, teaching, technology, Write 6x6 | Leave a comment

Choosing Your Side – Everyday

Never give up. Never surrender.

Still behind on Write 6×6 posts, but not giving up.

People this past week have been writing about kindness, and the opportunity to be vulnerable, as it relates to their work in teaching and learning. Ann Riley wrote about noticing the connection between kindness and vulnerability and challenged us to be the first make eye contact and to say hello as we walk around campus. That’s a challenge I issued to myself at the start of the semester this year. 

Often when I smile and say hello to someone I don’t know, I am ignored. And that’s ok. It doesn’t feel great, but I know that I tried and will try again.

Just as often, I receive a silent smile back, or maybe a returned “hello” or “good morning.” That’s nice and makes me smile.

But I feel like the real opportunities are when I see something I can do. When I ask someone with a confused expression if I can help, and I end up spending five minutes walking them to the right building and finding out someone’s name or what they’re here to study. Or when I open a door for someone loaded down with books, and see that they look surprised and grateful.

A lot of students tend to open doors for me, and I always express my gratitude. But I am really enjoying when I find a true opportunity to be on a stranger’s side. I feel like I have to be very observant and alert in order to make it happen. 

So far this semester, instead of just helping students find the room they say they’re looking for, I’ve made sure several of them know how to search the GCC website to find their teachers’ office location and office hours. I taught one student how to read the campus map. I helped a Muslim woman locate a few private options for one of her daily prayers. I made time to get to know an older gentleman who I see regularly on campus. 

I’m feeling that so much of the time, it’s easy to focus on my own immediate goal, where I’m going, what I need to do next. But it’s so much more rewarding to observe the people in close proximity and look for opportunities to be on their side for a few minutes. And this is a daily choice. Whether I’ll be on my side only, or let go of what I need at a certain moment to make sure I’m on their side when they could use a hand. Focusing only on myself makes me feel like a drone. Being on their side makes me feel like a human being.

 

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What Inspires?

I’m participating in GCC‘s Write 6×6 event this semester. And no weaseling out of it by being too busy. I’m actually scheduling time during the week to write, and you should expect 6 posts over the next 5 weeks (it’s supposed to be 6 weeks, but I’m already late for my first post … late but NOT given up on!).

The suggested first week’s post is to write about what inspires us to do what we do at GCC. That’s what I’m doing.

I’m the Instructional Media Developer at GCC. I work in the Center for Teaching, Learning and Engagement. Our mission is to be a professional development resource for Faculty and Staff. And my job is to help Faculty and Staff professionally develop by helping them to create instructional multimedia. That can be anything from writing, handouts, spreadsheets, audio recordings, video, pretty graphics or flyers, infographics, interactive animations of one format or another, and the list goes on!

So what inspires me to do what I do is: Faculty or Staff with a message they want to deliver to our students in an engaging way.

Elsewhere, and this is just an example of uninspiring multimedia, I’ve seen people try flipping the classroom by recording hour-long lectures from the back of the classroom and posting them into Canvas. The shot is stationary, the sound is awful because it includes all the rustling generated by the students closest to the camera, and the instructor and whiteboard look tiny and can barely be seen. That’s not the kind of thing that inspires me.

Could you watch a scene like this, with barely intelligible audio, for an hour?


Photo: Broad run algebra class by James H Dunning

But here at GCC, I work with Faculty and Staff who are very motivated to help our students succeed. When someone like that comes in with a specific goal, it’s very inspiring to me, and I’ll dig deep to provide the know-how.

Academic advisor Isaac Torres notices students don’t understand the difference between Advisement and Counseling:

Adjunct ESL Faculty member Elizabeth Macdonald realizes her students need help getting their children off to a good start in Arizona’s public schools:

Psychology faculty Dr. Patricia Lavigne wants to encourage psychology students to join Psi Beta without personally making a pitch to every class during the first week of school:

There are so many inspirational faculty and staff at GCC who go an extra mile to help students and engage them in the learning process. You motivate me to do what I do, especially when you tell me your dreams, schemes, wild ideas and if-onlys, and then let me help you make them a reality. Bring in the thing you want to improve and let’s partner up to make it better.

Posted in higher education, Write 6x6 | 1 Comment

Mobile Minions, Valentine Edition!

Heart Attack of the Canvas Mobile Minions!

If you haven’t done this already, now is a great time to experience a Canvas course through the eyes of a mobile student. Learn what works and what doesn’t by enrolling in Mobile Series: Heart Attack of the Canvas Mobile Minions! (Valentine Edition). This one-week course given by Canvas facilitators Ryan Seilhamer and Biray Seitz will engage and delight you while giving you a thorough grounding in what it’s like to access course content using a mobile device. The course began February 7, but it’s not too late to catch up. I participated in this course last October and it was incredibly fun without being overly demanding of my time. I highly recommend you enroll now!

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Brilliant Prezi on Storytellers’ Secrets

So check out what was waiting for me in my email inbox this morning – this gorgeous presentation on The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo (or view at the source):

How could I not share this bag o’ gold with my #Western106 pardners? Next time you have 15 minutes to kick around, watch this instead of lookin’ at the tumbleweeds blowin’ around. It’s worth your time.

It speaks directly to the relevance of storytelling in this here digital age. But also in any age. We are all storytellers, every single human out there. And the more we flex our story muscles, the better we get at putting our ideas out there and contributing something unique and meaningful to our culture and the world.

Some brief, fun takeaways (in no particular order) – or teasers to get you to go watch:

  • embrace your history
  • simple, effective, irresistible
  • instill hope
  • 5 types of storyteller

Git along, little #ds106ers! Please blog your own reactions. Did you learn anything? Did the presentation help you remember something you already knew?

Posted in #ds106, blog, digital storytelling, media | Leave a comment