Magazine article University Business

Best Practices for Video-Enabled Teaching and Learning: Using Video to Promote Collaboration and Enhance Teaching, Learning and Research

Magazine article University Business

Best Practices for Video-Enabled Teaching and Learning: Using Video to Promote Collaboration and Enhance Teaching, Learning and Research

Article excerpt

Elaine Shuck: I work in the K-20 space but I'm thinking today of a high school--relatively remote--where in some classes students use technology for 100 percent of their learning. They are important to me and to you because their geography dictated they become early adopters of collaborative technology. I will posit that these students are merely the first wave of collaboration-enabled students and that their expectations have been set. Going forward, they are ready to interact--they expect to interact, to collaborate--using a robust set of technologies. My question is, will those of us in higher ed be ready for them when they arrive?

For solutions that support the learning process, when I look at the classroom of the future I like to categorize it as "pre-class," "in-class," and "post-class." When we consider collaboration using videoconferencing, there are some questions we need to ask. How are you going to manage the content? How can you be at ease and routinely interact with students who may be connecting from their homes, another campus, a different state, or from another country?

For pre-class, we have a variety of learning spaces. We record the lecture or content for the students, and there's a schedule. Say you're at home and you're going to teach Economics 101. It's already scheduled in your Outlook, you launch that meeting, and everyone joins. The students view these pre-recorded materials and then later, via video-conferencing, engage in study groups, in dedicated learning spaces at the university, at the campus cafe, at home, or maybe at work while on break. Students can use content and annotation for improved collaboration.

A nice benefit of this model is that analytics enables teachers to track student progress. Assessment can be included in the lecture for engagement or accountability. And, indeed, the content need not be generated solely by the professor but may also include student-produced content to be shared with the whole class. When done well, both learning and student engagement rises.

In the post-class model, students may continue in their different learning spaces. So when they have difficulties, they can watch the video as many times as they wish. Distributing the recording of the lecture enables easy, on demand access, and analytics allows teachers to track students' progress. Teachers may also embed tests or other ways to assess the student throughout the recording. The student who missed a class can watch the recording, follow up on a teacher's assignments, and use recorded material for homework.

Teachers, of course, need to spend their time teaching, not fiddling with the technology. That's the big issue that I hear when introducing this approach to educators. They'll ask, "How do I make it easy for me? I don't want to do the technical stuff. I just want to be the professor." Well, the classroom is equipped with good bandwidth, cameras, monitors, microphones--so they have a teaching station with all of the tech tools that will allow them to engage and teach freely and naturally.

Sounds simple ... maybe a little too simple? Well, in a sense, it is. Much like a good college course involves more than collecting content, a good educational system is more than soldering various technologies together. That's where those remote high school students come in. What works in the real-world stress of a day-in, day-out educational setting? How can we enhance it? System design and integration is vital. When done well, students from all of the scattered classrooms can easily join and interact, see what is being annotated whether it's in PowerPoint or on a whiteboard or remote--and your system captures it all. Interactive. …

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